When I was 81

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008 @ %I:%M %p | Cycling

Did my second TNUA ride last night. The weather was fantastic, I mean 60 degrees in November!? And the turn-out was in sync with that: 81 riders. How do I know there were 81? Well, I was number 81. These rides use a rollcall mechanism: everybody gets a number and once in a while the ride leader stops and we could down the numbers to check everybody is still there. It was a mad dash getting there in time. The ride takes off at 6:15pm from Adams Center. I left in time – that is until I got on my bike, switched on the front light and discovered the battery was dead. So first stumbled into Ride-Aid with bicycle and all (no locks), got new AAA batteries, out them in and then started on a time trial to cover the three miles or so to the starting point. I arrived there just after the group left and saw them crossing the road ahead of me. I joined at the back and then at the first roll call waited for the last number (“80”) and then shouted out “81!”

I first heard about these rides, every Tuesday evening from October 1 thru April 1, via BruceW’s blog last year. Then I couldn’t ride due to meetings until 6pm on Tuesdays. This season I came to the realization that hey, I’m the Director, I can move those meetings. So, some rescheduling and now I can make it to Adams Center in time (batteries not withstanding).
These rides are a lot of fun – even my first two weeks ago in pouring rain and 36 degrees weather. The ride leader, Scott Page of Full Moon Vista bike store, basically decides where we go and what we do. It’s a zigzag ride through Rochester, the parks, along the Genesee river or the Erie canal. The rides are not about speed or distance but about technique, agility and just having fun. Yesterday we also zigzagged through Mount Hope Cemetery (which cities allow/encourage cemeteries for recreational use, or have ones big and interesting enough to incorporate into a bike ride?). Entering the cemetery was easy but getting out a little trickier. The exit onto Mt Hope road was closed and so 81 riders ended up circling the inside perimeter eventually finding a small pedestrian gate on Elmwood Road to get out.

Before the ride I put new brake pads on the mountain bike. Quite necessary, during the previous TNUA ride they wore out completely leaving me with almost no braking facility for the last couple of miles – an entertaining experience in wet weather, in the dark. I also put the new wheelset with smooth tires instead of the big nobbly ones. While there’s a little offroading, much of the rides are on hard surface and until there’s snow it is nice to have a bit faster tires on the bike and I am very pleased how they corner. And as I am lazy, I rather quickly switch wheels than swap the tires on the wheels. The front suspension is still locked up from my ride a few weeks ago so still need to have Park Ave bike store have a look.

I got back a little before 9pm, showered and then watched the election on CNN-HD (I am quite impressed how CNN is using the wide screen on their hd channel to stream all kinds of simultaneous data and information at you). It was extremely exciting to see Barack Obama run away with the election. The passion, the hope, the excitement he has enticed during the long, long campaign is thrilling. While I am just too young to have experienced John F Kennedy (born when he was elected) it seems to me that there’s a lot of similarity. There are unpopular wars going on, there are cultural and scoial challenges and there is a new generation coming to the front. To see the immense crowd of 225000 people in Chicago awaiting his appearance, his speech, the scenes with his family on the stage – this was indeed for me a moment I am most happy to have experienced and indeed a moment that has the absolute “I remember where I was when…”; just like Nelson Mandela’s speech in Amsterdam, the falling of the Berlin Wall, when I decided I would propose to Rachel, and when van Basten scored the winning goal in the semi-final in 1988 (yeah, that one too, best Wednesday night ever!). Obama’s speech and the view of him standing there with his wife and two daughters made me wonder, hope that the days of Camelot are coming back to the While House.

 

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