Sure, everybody in bike blog land is going on & on about Bike To Work Day. There are basically three ways that a dedicated bike blogger can treat Bike To Work Day.
1. Complain about in the most smug manner possible because “for me, every day is Bike To Work Day.”
2. Jump in with both feet and embrace all of the people who use BTWD as an opportunity to try it out.
3. Scarf some free food and call it a day.
I opt for a fourth option, which is to cover it in a half-vast way. Here are my 3 pics from the BTWD celebration in Providence.
There were vendors with stuff for people to try out:
There was an adorable toddler riding stoker on a Surly Big Dummy while his dad talked with a lady who designs rain capes for cyclists.
And there was a guy who clearly believed in the power of “wake & bake” wandering around the WW I memorial saying “Tupac is comin’ back! Get ready for the return of Mackavelli!”
But enough of this talk of biking to work and generally using the bicycle as a practical method of transportation for commuting and all of life’s short journey needs. I feel like transportation cycling is emphasized too much in this country. What about the poor sport cyclist who just wants to ride his roadbike in a big circle for several hours while wearing a skin-tight shirt, very special shoes that can not be used for walking, and padded shorts that make him feel like he’s wearing a diaper? What about that guy, huh? Everybody just makes fun of him, calling him a Lycra-wearing weight weenie, or a MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man In Lycra). Even NPR used Bike To Work Day to talk to the foremost anti-MAMIL activist in the cycling world, Grant Petersen.
“[the bicycle] is not a workout tool. It should be a pickup truck on two wheels.”
Such anti-MAMIL bigotry, it is truly astonishing. We need some sort of Bike to Fun Day to help counter balance all of this Bike to Work Day, practical transportation cycling that seems to be so big now.
To help in the effort, I went on a ride with the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen on Sunday. I wore my bike clothing, and I went on my road bike.
This was only my second ride with the Wheelmen – it seems like most of their rides start a little too far away for me, or I seem to be doing something on the Sunday when there is a nearby ride. This last Sunday’s ride was just right: the start was about 3 miles from my house, and the ride started at 8AM, as opposed to their usual 10AM. I woke up early, pumped up my tires, and headed out. Here’s the start: evidently, everyone drives their car to the start of the bike ride. Well, almost everyone, I did happen to pass a dentist on his Serotta on my way to the ride.
Officially, this was the “Plymouth Century” Ride, but as with all NBW rides, there are multiple ride lengths to choose from. Along with the full 100 miles (to Plymouth, MA and back), one could choose 21 miles or 54 miles. I have not yet done a century, and I didn’t really have the time for it, and I was afraid I might run out of steam somewhere along the way, so I opted for the 54 mile route. I won’t bore you with all of the details. It was a flat route with no significant hills, through pleasant southeastern Massachusetts countryside. I largely rode at the back of whatever pack I happened to be in at the time. I was amazed when I ended the ride and looked at my cyclometer to find I had been riding at an average of over 17 MPH. I think when I did 50 miles by myself, my average was more like 13 MPH (there were more hills). It certainly helps to draft behind other cyclists. Anyhow, it was fun, and I hope to go on another ride soon. Here’s the map:
It was a fun, Lycra filled day. Just to bring myself back to Earth, I did a little bit of transportation cycling later that day and picked up a few things with my commuter bike:
I think my average for this ride was about 8 MPH over 5 miles.