Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

Bringing a Knife to a New Years Day Gunfight.

“That fool brought a knife to this gunfight, whereas I brought a gun. To this battle between guns primarily. If I were to rephrase this using the present participle, I would say “He is bringing a knife to a gunfight. What a dumbass.””

One could still call us a group, albeit a loosely organized and somewhat scattered one, far less coordinated than the flocks of geese overhead. Unsure of where we are going or who we are following, we present as an unpredictable flock to the motorists in the adjacent four lanes of one-way traffic. One 4 x 4 driver lays on the horn as he passes….can’t say that I blame him. Some riders skirt the left side of the traffic island with what appears to be mere inches between them and the box vans and pickup trucks, while some of us take the right side and rejoin them after crossing Broadway. Somewhere ahead of us (maybe? we don’t really know) is the main group which left about five minutes earlier and we form a paceline in order to concentrate and mitigate our individual efforts to catch them. In a few miles, with the group still not in sight, I sit up and am immediately left on my own.

I had been considering taking part in the annual New Years Day ride for the past few days and the weather was almost perfect so I decided I would have a go. In other years the ride has been very civilized with an easy to follow tempo and a reasonable 20 mile or so route. I reckoned there would be some people I haven’t seen in years and that it might be good for me to emerge from the hermit’s cave. But I was not at all prepared for or interested in a hammer fest.

Before the reader might think I’m whining, let me say that it’s my own damn fault. First of all, I should have been on time, and even though I have a good amount of miles in my legs this year, few of them have been ridden at any intensity. And I will turn 58 this year, too old to have anything to prove, and too weak if I wanted to. Let me say too, that Mike Cooley and Tom Platt, the owners of George’s Cycles and Fitness in Boise deserve most of the credit for the vibrant cycling community in Boise, not to mention building a successful business.

I normally avoid group rides in Boise because they often turn into competitions. Even the so called “no drop” rides will stop after a few miles and riders will be asked to seed themselves based on how far and fast they want to go. Then riders show the other members of the subsequently formed groups what bad-asses they are (or think they are). Not that there is anything wrong with that, in fact I used to be that guy. Every ride was a training ride. Sometimes I was the dropper but most of the time I was the dropee. Being able to ride with a fast group and stay with them on a ride or in a race was a rush and, to me, the point of riding and training. Now, not so much. I would still like to ride with a group at a lively, workmanlike pace, but suffering no longer has any appeal to me.

So, how was my ride? you ask. Very nice. Thanks for asking. I stopped here and ate my sandwich.
New Years Day ride rest stop
Then I stopped at this little pocket park somebody built in the industrial wasteland off Gowen Road. There is a mini storage and a construction office adjacent but no signage of any kind, and no apparent public access to the park. Somebody made this just to try to improve the built environment and I think that’s pretty awesome. I’m relatively certain the riders in the grupettos were too busy watching the wheel in front to see this.

small park with old farm implements

I stopped at this park, which appears to be private property. An old hay stacking crane and old farm implements.

I rode about 28 miles in just under two hours. I was tired enough when I got home. I guess that is the point for me these days.

2 comments… add one
  • Pondero January 2, 2012, 7:33 am

    With age and experience comes wisdom, and the ability to savor the finer things in life.

    You mentioned, in a comment on my blog, that I should have been with you on this ride. By the way you described it, I would have been delighted.

    • Bike Hermit January 2, 2012, 9:22 am

      It’s true. I get a different sort of satisfaction nowadays from riding a bike. And I see a lot more. I know there are more people around here like us and I am toying with the idea of a regularly scheduled ride similar to your Ramble.


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