9.19.2004

BIKE DC was a success!
wet, but a success

WABA (Washington Area Bicycle Association) held BIKE DC rain or shine this Saturday past....to the displeasure of many it was held with rain. Roughly 1,500 to 2,000 people braved the rain and took part in urban bike tour; many of the pre-registered riders stayed at home hugging the pillow while anyone and everyone who was a "maybe" turned out to be a "no" and hid under the sheets in their warm dry beds at home. There were 12 miles of blocked off car free road of family section plus an additional 22 miles of open road riding through various parts of the city. On the unrestricted parts of the tour the cars did their normal thing....which could have very easily been dangerous in some situaitons, but I did not hear of any injuries. Very little of this course was new or different for me. It seemed as if the whole course circled my house, never going more than a five mile radius from my warm bed. At times when I pedaled closer to home I lost focus for the BIKE DC path markers and felt my internal GPS take control of my body and point the bike towards a warm bed and dry clothes. Lucky for me I was riding along side fellow City Bike Mountain Bike Team member DT. On this day DT had no desire to cut the ride short. Having arrived on the scene at 5am that same morning to aid in the registration of the riders one would think that DT would have been ready to pack it up and head for home. But no! DT wanted to do the whole ride on his Bianchi PISTA track bike, for him there were parts of the city that he had never seen before. I was on my Surley Karate Monkey Single Speed geared a little easier than DT's track bike, but he was good enough to drop the pace to keep it social.

After a little while the rain was not an issue, it rained intermidently through the morning and got a tad chilly with some strong gusts of wind, but all in all it was a good time and I ran into very few people who were complaining. It was a gathering that united a small tribe of people, a tribe that calls themselves cyclists. There were all sorts of people out there ranging from CAT 1 roadies to families pulling toddlers and infants on trail-a-bikes and in trailers. The pace was mellow for all...a pace vehicle lead the pack in the front while a sag wagon picked up the stragglers in the back. DT and I were just two among many volunteers that day. Cyclists were standing like lycra clad soldiers standing guard at various corners to aid in directing the participants in the correct direction as well as cheering on to improve the moral of the troops. The rain did not break the spirits of any of the volunteers. There were familiar faces and familiar bicycles. I ran into old friends and made new ones.

The City Bikes Mountain Bike Team seemed to have a good representation at the event. I ran into and passed a good percentage of squad, even ran into old faithful, City Bikes shop owner Phil Kooperman, at a repair station at the START/FINISHLINE. It always amazes me...I see Phil volunteering his own time at all of these community events (some of which he and his shop host others he and his shop sponsor) yet, seldom see him at the shop. I must say, I do like his priorities. Phil was there with his bike and his heavily loaded down Burley Trailer where he was going to go from aid station to aid station leading the mechanic is speedy repairs to get troubled cyclists back on the road. Phil was not the only faithful contributer to the bicycle culture....there was also MORE President Scott Scudmore. Scott was also there early, he too was pulling a trailer offering aid to any and all cyclists in need of a quick adjustment or a flat repair. The bicycle culture would not be as tightly knit if it were not for leaders like Phil and Scott to pull us all together and to inspire us to give a little back outselves. We all may not be able to do as much as Phil or Scott, but even if we all do a little, it all adds up. Phil and Scott were just two of the many volunteers....there was the whole WABA staff along with their regular cast of volunteers....the POTOMAC PEDALERS....and various other clubs were represented (NCVC, CITY BIKES, MORE, etc) There were couriers and ex-couriers, there were racers, roadies, and freaks and yes....even geeks...the bike culture has it fair share of geeks. Everyone out there braving the wind and the rain in an effort to have a good time and to make our place in society stronger.

(foolish of me not to stress the employees of WABA. it is people like the employees of WABA that work to insure that cycling has a future in Washington DC and the surrounding area. with that said...my friend mike k.' s wife works for WABA and was at the STARTLINE setting up and tearing down from 4am til 4 pm and she is eight and a half months pregnant....that is the type of commitment that gets things done...thanks to mike's wife and others like her)

SOLIDARITY!

That is what this whole BIKE DC thing is about; Solidarity.
Getting out there and getting together.

Having the cyclist all stand together. On this day it is not a race on the dirt, a race on the track, or a race on the Capitol Crescent Trail....it is a chance to ride together. Old and Young.....Doctors along side of Computer Technicians....couriers along side of policemen....the Titanium Road bike along side of the steel clunker purchased at Walmart. On this day we are all the same.....CYCLISTS.

Once it was all over and the cold wet miles were behind me I gathered with a slew of cyclist at the WABA table which was convienently next to the DOMINOS table where I ate some slices while sharing the final minutes of the day with some fellow cyclists. There was very little talk about wet feet or soaked gloves....some did joke that a climb or two were missed and that they should be added for next year, but over all the course was more than pleasant. It was a feel good day even inspite of the rain. Very glad that this event exists and just as glad that I participated and offered my assistance.....even if the only bike I had to do a repair on was that of an unregistered homeless man with a flat tire. I figured although he was not registered for BIKE DC today....it looks like he rides BIKE DC everyday.

next year I plan to be out there again
hopefully the weather will be more welcoming
and that there will be a greater turn out

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