On Saturday it was intergalactic surly day. As such, Mr. Ink and I decided to go to an organized ride out of our local surly shop, both of us on our custom painted pugsleys. We decided we’d ride to the ride as well, meeting up with our friend and best man at our wedding.
Now, I haven’t ridden nearly as often as I should lately. So, trying to ride to a ride, ride the ride, and ride home from the ride on a fat bike probably wasn’t the wisest and most logical choice. But I had to ride my surly! I was feeling pretty good for the ride to the ride and half of the ride itself. I mean, if you haven’t ridden regularly but are able to be a solid middle of the pack rider on 4 inch wide tires while the majority of the other riders are on skinny tires, that’s a pretty good deal!
I really knew almost no one on this ride as I’ve kind of been on the sidelines with the majority of our local community lately. I sometimes forget, when out on a ride with very few people I know, just how uncomfortable it can feel to be a female on a ride very predominately male. I tend to forget that when on a ride with a group of males I know well, but it feels pronounced somehow when I don’t know them.
Our ride could best be described as urban all-terrain. It was a combination of paved trails, paved roads, roads chewed up from road construction, gravel, muddy gravel, really big chunks of gravel, and a whole lot of brick. Quite frankly, this is the best type of ride to bring a fat bike on, there’s just nothing the bike won’t handle beautifully.
There were about 40 riders I’d say, so a nice big group. The shop owner brought along two coolers of beer and sparkling water. We rode all the way down to the river along a levee. We had planned to go closer to the river, but we are STILL under flood conditions (since March) so that wasn’t possible. We had a nice beer stop, attempting to empty those two coolers.
I grabbed a shot of some of the bikes. Mine is the hot pink one. Mr. Ink’s bike is the ochre one 2 bikes behind. This was taken up on the levee. After this, we headed back into town to hit up a taco truck. This was the point where I felt much less awesome. After 20 hilly miles on the fat bike, really trying to push myself, I was feeling pretty tapped out. I had hoped the can of beer I’d consumed would give me a little energy boost, but it just didn’t happen. I need to get back to adding something to consume in my bag, I am out of practice for longer rides.
Next stop was the taco truck where we realized that Mr. Ink and I had both not bothered to bring cash. This was unfortunate, as I’d REALLY been counting on those tacos. Mr. Ink found a drugstore nearby and went to grab cash while my tapped out bum sat on the pavement. The poor taco truck wasn’t dealing very well with the influx of 40 riders on top of their regular saturday night business.
It took a rather long while to get food. While we were waiting, Mr. Ink said “Look at those pretty clouds!” They were pretty, but knowing that we have been skirting the edges of storms, I decided to take a look at the radar. Bearing down on us was a pretty significant storm.
The tacos, once we got them, were fantastic. But we barely had an opportunity to enjoy them, we more consumed them so we could get back on our bikes as fast as possible. We rode with the group most of the way back, but then split to head home with Best Man who lives in our direction. This was the point at which I realized that the bike light which I charged did not actually work. I had a rear light, but no headlight. And it was dark. No matter, I figured I’d stick in between Mr. Ink and Best Man and it would be fine.
And then, Mr. Ink’s front light crapped out. I think it’s been so long since we have ridden regularly at night that our batteries just aren’t up to the task and we are going to have to consider new battery packs.
We had to split from Best Man about 20 minutes from home, so it was 20 minutes of really dark riding. Thankfully we had the lightning to help light our way. Mr. Ink said “It’s a pretty fantastic show, but we can’t hear thunder, so it’s not actually that close.” 5 minutes later we definitely heard thunder.
Now, we live off a bike trail but at the top of a significant hill. It’s the cyclist curse I think. When we lived separately, both our houses were at the top of a hill. When we were looking for our current home, every home we liked was at the top of a hill. I say it’s a curse, but actually, it might be a blessing, as no matter what, we end on a hill, and this really does help to keep us in shape all winter long. There is absolutely no option for riding out from our house that doesn’t involve a hill climb to get home, and as such, no matter how cold or miserable out, we are climbing that hill.
But my legs were pretty well shot and I knew that I was going to be slow. I also know that Mr. Ink tends to wait for me at certain spots. But, I was also worried that we’d get home too late for Little Rose to go outdoors. She’s terrified of storms and she’d been in her kennel all evening and if we couldn’t get her to go outside, it would mean that Mr. Ink would be stuck waiting up late at night for the storm to pass so he could take her out. I told Mr. Ink to ride ahead of me, to just book it on home and I’d get home when I got home. Time was of the essence and there was no moment to spare. He could get home, drop his bike, and get the dogs out before it was too late.
I rode in while he was getting the dogs out. This terrified Rose, because she hates bikes and strangers. She was convinced I was an intruder and she was going to die. I dropped my bike and walked over, thankfully once she realized it was me, she calmed down.
Mr. Ink took care of the bikes while I fed the dogs and tried to take them out once more. Rose wasn’t having it by that point, so it’s a good thing I told Mr. Ink to ride on ahead. We got rained on a little but nothing significant, which was really nice. After dinner, Rose headed back to her kennel to hide, but Lizzie was not perturbed by the storm whatsoever. She was just really happy her people were home.
I’ve probably said it many times before, but I really am going to try to get back on the bike more often. In fact, I’ve got a ride planned on Tuesday evening. Step one, charge a different bike light to see if it works. Step two, take a look at my gravel bike and see what needs to be done to get it up and running. I know I saw at least one flat tire, so I need to add air and see if the flat was just from sitting too long or if I need to actually change out a tube or get a patch on there. Thankfully I’ve got enough time to do both, so it can get done. I definitely want to ride my gravel bike on the upcoming ride, as I know that group and I KNOW that I can’t even remotely keep up if I take a bike with fat tires, despite the fact that I ride my pugsley more than any other bike I own.