This was a terrific event. The weather was perfect: overcast skies, very little wind, no precipitation, and the mercury hovering around 30-degrees. I met a lot of folks I’d never seen before. Everyone showed up with a helmet, despite there being no indication that participants were expected to do so. There were five riders under the age of thirteen (plus two more in a trailer). As for bikes, we had everything from Dave’s 1960 Schwinn Spitfire to Travis’ week-old Trek District, including a trike and 20-inch kids’ bikes. I was especially impressed with how generous and kind the traffic was toward us. The route, pace, and conversation were all delightful. The success of our first Yuletide Ride definitely bodes well for the future. More than one rider mentioned making this a regular tradition.
The three that didn’t make it were unfortunate casualties of poor design, limited life experience, coincidence, and a persistent lack of mechanical intuition and inclination. Let me explain.
The seat in pull-behind child carriers has virtually no structure; it’s rather like a sling or a hammock (poor design). Well, about two-thirds of the way through an otherwise marvelous and contended trip, my youngest, unbeknownst to me, slid down, was unable to right herself (limited life experience), and responded in the only manner she knows at this age: meltdown. The eldest, in a show of sisterly solidarity, quickly followed suit. In that very moment (coincidence), I happened to be pulling the three of us up a hill. Alas, the effort I’d made earlier to fix the recurring problem I’ve been having with my rear wheel and derailleur on the Fuji Special Tourer fell short (persistent lack of mechanical intuition and inclination — time to suck it up and take the bike into the shop). The wheel twisted; the chain locked up; and the bike and our ride came to an abrupt end. Ms. McCaskill and the girls made for home, while I took the Gary Fisher and set out in search of the group.
I caught up with them just a few blocks from the end of the ride. I was really glad to be finishing the ride with the group. Most called it a night, but a few of us went for coffee and talked about rides to come. Good times.
A special word of thanks to all those who helped spread the word about our ride: the Adrian Daily Telegram, the Lenawee County Conference and Visitors Bureau (from which I shamelessly stole the image for this post), Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce, and Adrian Locksmith and Cyclery. There you have it: Local. Community. Bicycles.