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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Big Grin II: The Second Annual Joel Dyke Memorial Ride

Joel Dyke was a great guy and a great friend. And he loved-loved-loved riding in the elements.

I remember a day when I think I actually called in to work and told my boss it wasn't worth it to try and come to work, it was snowing so damn hard and my xB gets shitty traction and last time I'd attempted a commute in a snow storm it had taken me until noon to get to work. And I get on Facebook and Joel had ridden his Pugsley to work. At the bike shop. Which didn't open because, dude, it wasn't worth it, just like I told my boss.

Joel posted to Facebook something to the effect that he knew the store wouldn't open but riding in the snow is 'super awesome fun.'

Lemmy Killmeister died the same day a year later. Internationally, Motörhead is a bigger deal I guess, but in the cycling world...

How big a deal was Joel Dyke to those of us who knew him? Oddity Cycles has named a bike model after him.

But what's more, the second annual memorial ride to Joel's memory drew at least three dozen riders. That's not a big deal by itself, last year on the heels of his untimely passing, it was two or three hundred easily (many traveling in from out of town). But this year, it was 5ºF when the party started. There's not much more than three dozen cyclists in the Kansas City metro who have the gear and the balls to ride in single digit cold.

I was proud to be one of them. I was frustrated actually, trying to find my gear, it'd been so mild lately I hadn't needed a lot of cold weather gear. But I got it. Balaclava, Carhart long underwear and mittens, a face mask, Oakley ATV goggles (ski goggles without the tint, which is nice when you're riding in the dark which is mostly what winter commuting entails around here), heavy turtleneck, cycling jacket (mainly a windbreaker), and of course a Hawaiian shirt to prove I don't think it's too cold to wear a Hawaiian shirt. Chemical warmers in my Redwings, wool socks, I'm riding a bicycle in the 5ºF and true story, I'm perfectly comfortable.

The late start, I actually missed the rollout from the Trek Store but I knew the general route they'd follow and I connected with that and rode upstream until I met up with a bunch of guys wearing ski goggles and Carharts and such to ride bikes.

Stops were made, I accepted a slug of Jameson and realized in my rushing around I hadn't eaten yet that day. So Ragbrai was my first ever morning bloody mary, but this was my first whiskey for breakfast I think.

We rode the levy a bit, some gravel grinding in memory of the cofounder of the Dirty Kanza 200. Joel loved him some gravel, and one of the few times I remember him saying anything even remotely testy to me it was when I made a comment about gravel roads being made out of the shit they're supposed to sweep off a proper road. It wasn't super testy, but it was something to the effect of, 'no whining.'

And Joel would be pleased that it was five degrees when we were rolling and that no whining occurred. A few observations were made, along the lines of 'fuck it's cold' and 'anyone need a shot of Jameson to warm up?'

I ribbed Jones and Doc about carrying their fat bikes over railroad tracks on the levy (they're about eight inches tall in fairness, so you'd have to be pretty athletic to ride across them even on a fat bike), and Jones just said, 'I don't need to take your shit.' And that was fair enough, though I think I gave him more of it when he was trying to start a fire in the backyard fire pit once we got to the late Joel's abode.

And there were even more people at the after party. Some who couldn't ride for one reason or another, others who just don't ride single digits. Possibly a person or two Joel knew who just didn't ride bikes—it's hard to conceive of who that would be, but I have to allow that it's possible. He did do more than ride, and he was the kind of person who touched people by default.

And just so you know, riding bikes with good friends, hoist a few beers (and kids), when it's five degrees out is super awesome fun.

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