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Monday, May 19, 2014

Tour de Bier

I kind of can't believe this is my first Tour de Bier. It's totally my scene, go ride bikes all over, then drink great beer and eat, all with tons of people I love.

I guess as I got into bike commuting I got to be a little bit of a curmudgeon about group rides that charge a fee.

The Three O'Clock Ride (RIP, that was a great institution) didn't charge a fee. Critical Mass doesn't charge a fee. I carry spare tubes and a frame pump, a few tools, so I don't really need a SAG wagon in town, there's not much that's going to come up that I can't address and in the unlikely event that it did, I know people I can call for a rescue and if all that failed there's the bus and the 10/10 cab. I'll make it home one way or the other.

So I kind of adopted a policy that I don't pay people to let me ride my bike in town. I've poached some rides, just showed up and rolled with the crowd—and the one time I ended up taking advantage of the SAG nutrition, I paid the ride fee after the fact because I'm not trying to mooch.

Anyway, something broke through this time, and when the postcard came asking me to sign up, Corinna suggested I could take it out of my tithe fund. We both put 10% of our income into accounts designated for that. Twenty bucks to that homeless guy who hit you up for spare change? Tithe account. The tip to a waitress that actually exceeded the total of your check because she seemed to be having a terrible day? That's a tithe item. A friend launches a crowd-funding thing to keep kids from getting raped and mutilated in some third world country where raping and mutilating children is standard operating procedure, and you're skeptical of the mechanics of the aid but know and trust the person doing the ask? Tithe again. It can even go into an offering box at church.

I admit that a ticket to ride bikes and drink beer might not really pass a sniff test. It's really probably more of an entertainment budget line item. But BikeWalkKC, who organizes this drinking group with a riding problem, they do a lot of good work getting Kansas City to be a little less backward on the transportation front. Thus, they are a worthy cause, thus I guess it came out of the tithe account.

They have multiple routes, depending on what you want to bite off. I was going to do the 65, and with riding from home that'd be about an 80 mile day. My longest post-op day has been more like 30 miles, so I wasn't sure that was really what I wanted to do, but I love an epic.

The Waldo stops were decision time: the long route went down to Martin City and there was only one stop added to the trek if you took that leg. I could turn back and do the 35 miler, a respectable distance, and I'd get back while there was still food, beer and people to party with. At the pace I was on, by the time I got to Martin City and back to Kunckleheads, Maggie and Rachel would be loading up the trailer with the last of the gear, and as far as food and drink it'd probably be one cold hot dog and a bunch of dead soldiers if I was lucky.

I made the right decision. I still had 54 miles on the day, epic enough for me at this point, and I got an excellent lunch from Local Pig (one of the many excellent food trucks our lunch ticket was good for), and had a few fantastic Boulevard beers.

And got to hang with some of my favorite people. There was an interesting mingling of bike cultures, not just the roadies and the urban cyclists, but Knuckleheads is mainly known as a biker bar in the Harley Davidson sense. Both sorts of bikers drink gallons of beer, and both have their uniforms and acquisitive/covetous tendencies. One group tends to look askance at the other's spandex shorts, the other wouldn't be caught dead with a wallet on a chain. One group seems determined to have the largest, loudest internal combustion engine possible between their legs, the other takes pride in being the motor.

Anyway, we all seemed to get along, there was a good blues band playing, the weather was perfect.

And I managed to navigate the way back home despite all that Boulevard sloshing around in me. I've had people preach to me about how you can get a DUI on a bicycle, and I know that legally it's something that exists.

I don't know anyone who has actually gotten a DUI on a bike, and I know some people who have tried a lot harder than me.

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