Sep 5, 2010

Early Fall Rides

The weather has taken a decided turn this week; after what seemed like weeks of hazy/hot/humid, we were treated to a distinct chill in the air, and I saw my first flocks of geese flying south in "V" formation on Wednesday.

These bright, crisp and clear days of early Fall seem the best for riding. I have taken advantage of this with two recreational rides in the past two days. The first was the "noob" ride. Our original plan was to ride the north half of the Grand Rounds, but we changed up our route plans on the fly to accommodate a few people that wanted to hit the gravel ride, which was leaving our from M'haha Falls at 5:00. The northern route would have put the gravel ride out of reach given our 3:00 start time.

Instead, we rode along the river, through the U of M campus and down through Hidden Falls, missing a turn sort of on purpose to look at Crosby pond, then heading back across the river on 55 through Fort Snelling before parting ways.

This was a fun, easy ride - I had not been to Hidden Falls yet this season. It was great to meet some new people, as well - other than Kyle, who parks next to me at the bike rack in the IDS Center, I had not met any of these people previously. That was my primary motivation for convening another noob ride; they were all fun to hang out with and enthusiastic about the ride and the day.

Today was our third MPLS Bike Love 3-speed ride. This ride was also cross-posted on Gentleman Cyclist, so we got a few new people to come out today, which was great. Today's route was a convoluted meander through the scenic neighborhoods of Cathedral Hill and Crocus Hill, some of the more historic neighborhoods of St. Paul. We rolled by a house that Sinclair Lewis rented and very near another that housed F. Scott Fitzgerald, so the glamor of days gone by touched us briefly during our outing. Those neighborhoods are still beautiful today. It helped that Gary narrated as we went, being a local and all.

One of today's unexpected treats was a participant that showed up on a 1915 Raleigh cross-frame bike. This was a true artifact, and tricked out with period-correct accoutrements including an old light and map case. Here's a link to a video of this very bike made at the 2009 ABCE ride that's worth looking at.

The 3-speeders are a scene unto themselves. Every bit as fanatical and into the gear as hard core roadies, it turns out. I blundered into my 1974 Raleigh Sport because it was ridiculously cheap and a nice project for the summer. I was kind of drawn in by the quirk-factor, but this bike has turned out to be kind of fun to ride as well. I don't know that I'll ever be as driven as some of these folks when it comes to old English bikes, but I have registered for next year's Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour already, and I am contemplating participating in the ABCE event in New Brighton in a few weeks as well.

I have done damn little recreational riding but one hell of a lot of commuting this season. I clearly need to re-prioritize my life or something.

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