Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Second Kidical Mass Ride: Saturday 5/4 at 9:00AM. Do-Over!

Hey everybody!

Our second Kidical Mass ride is upon us this Saturday, 5/4. And it's a do-over of our last one in terms of time, location, destination etc.

So that's easy.

I can't guarantee anything about weather, but my guess is it probably won't be 23 degrees with a 20 mph headwind!

Second monthly BTV Kidical Mass Ride

Saturday, 5/4, 9:00 AM, arrival at the playground by 10:00. Back to the starting point around noon, maybe grab a coffee at Maglianero if anybody is interested.

By the railroad shelter behind One Main on the bike path.

You, of course! Austen and I will be there with my bike, our trailer, and his balance bike for riding when we get where we are going.

Let's go for a ride!

For those of you coming from South Burlington of the South End, I'll be "riding to the ride" leaving from SBHS around 8:00 and taking the Dorset Street path across to Spear Street and then the to the  path north of 189 to hook up with the Burlington Bike Path at Oakledge and from there on in. Feel free to catch up with us anywhere along that route if you want to "ride to the ride" too! Hit me up in the comments, on twitter or Facebook if you want to join us!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kidical Mass First-Ever Ride Report. Next ride is Saturday, 5/4

April 6th has come and gone. The day dawned clear, cold and windy. I had been nervous all night. Would anybody show up? Was a ride on a day like this even the sort of ride I wanted to go on myself?

As I got up and got breakfast going, I thought about the core principles that brought me here- to organizing indoor group rides with Vermont Indoor Cycling, to taking on Kidical Mass, to starting Vermont Bicycles United.

1. Decide what to do.
2. Do it. 

That's it. Done is better than perfect. Decide to go for a bike ride. Tell people about it. Go for a bike ride.

We cyclists tend to over-complicate things. We buy all kinds of gear.We obsess over just the right sort of infrastructure we ought to be advocating for, or what our tire pressure ought to be, or just the right chain cleaning and maintenance regime. We debate about the best way to get drivers to like us better. Those things have their place and can be important. But they aren't why we got into this. We got into this because bikes are awesome.

April 6. 8:00AM. 23 degrees. 20mph winds out of the north.  Ready to go.
Bikes are freedom machines that shrink sprawl. Lots of sprawl isn't walkable to stores, services, and community gathering places. Lots of sprawl isn't on bus lines. But almost all of the sprawl in Chittenden County is easily bike-able to parks, playgrounds, libraries, schools and coffee shops. Sometimes there are paths and bike lanes. usually there aren't. Lanes, signs, racks and what-have-you will all make that biking better and easier in the future, but you know what makes that biking better, easier, and more fun right now, with no taxpayer expense? DOING IT. The more you ride your bike, the better it gets. You get stronger. You get more familiar with the places you ride. People in cars see you riding more often, and they pay more attention. People see you riding and think that they might be able to ride too.

I put my two-year-old son into his boots, snow pants, neckwarmer, jacket and helmet. We decided to ride from the railroad shelter on the Burlington Bike Path, initially because I thought April might mean a rainy day. It felt more like mid February.   Any doubts I had were quelled when my son saw the bike and trailer out. He knew- we were going on a bike ride together. He got even more excited when he saw his balance bike lashed to the back of the trailer. We were going somewhere where he could ride, too!

I'm not going to sugar-coat it. it was cold, and it was really windy. We wound our way from our South Burlignton home down to the waterfront.  Thankfully, Chapin at Local Motion had offered to come by and open up his Steele Street office as a warm-up spot. We had a nice chat about coordinating with them on future rides, which should only help us make them bigger and better in the future.

Then, the best thing of all happened. Other people showed up! A couple from South Burlington and their daughter were there, every bit as bundled up as we were! We made some introductions, and we were off. Given the hard wind, we weren't really sure if we were going to make it to North Beach or not, but the next wonderful thing happened just as we passed the boathouse. We found ourselves in a place of relative calm as the hill blocked the wind. A very easy and short cruise later, the six of us were at the playground at North Beach.
Beautiful Sun. 

We had it all to ourselves. The sun sparkled and warmed our faces, the Adirondacks gleamed in the distance, and the air was mercifully still. The kids played. When we were done, we rode off on our separate ways. I had an ear-to-ear grin.

1. I said I was going to do a bike ride.
2. I showed up to do the bike ride.    
3. Somebody else thought it was a good idea, and they showed up, too.
4. Best of all, we rode bikes. Together.

I can't wait to see where this goes on May 4. With any luck we'll be bigger and better, and the weather will be even more cooperative.

Friday, April 5, 2013

First-Ever Burlington, Vermont Kidical Mass Ride- Saturday, April 6 at 9:00 AM on the Burlington Bike Path Behind One main

Kidical Mass looms large in my brain.

Tomorrow, in the early morning, I'll pack my 2.5 year old son and his balance bike in our Burley, hitch it to one of my bikes, and we'll ride on over from Burlington the South to Burlington proper, to the railroad shelter behind One Main on the bike path.

We'll be there by nine in the morning. Local Motion will probably show up to help us do a little helmet decorating.

By 9:30 or so, we'll start riding along the path to the playground at North Beach, where we will play and hang out for a while, then ride back to Maglianero, where we will have a cup of coffee.

Those are the only things I am sure will happen. What I don't know is if anybody else will show up to ride with us. It's that lump-in-the-throat, top-of-the-roller coaster feeling. It's the same familiar feeling I got when I showed up for the first VTIndoor ride, and the same feeling I had when started trying to get roller racing going again, and the same feeling I had when I hit the "Go" button on our indiegogo fundrasing campaign

It's like this when you start to pursue something you're passionate about. You bought the ticket, you strapped in for the ride, and you set things in motion- then there's the moment before that first drop on the roller coaster when you're not quite sure how it's all going to work out. In roller coasters as in bicycle riding, it usually works out pretty well in the end. At the worst, I'll have gone for a bike ride in Burlington with my son. Anything else is just gravy.

See you there.