Normally, I photograph a ride according to the scenery which strikes my fancy and may include fellow riders in the shots to complete the story. Normally those rides are out in the country, and somewhat by default around here, in the hills.
Last week’s group ride with the Ozark Roadies was different than our normal ride on a number of different levels.
The initial difference was the number of riders, 22 as I recall. We had many of our “regulars”, but we welcomed a number of cyclists who had not ridden with us before.
Here we are at the start of the ride near a restaurant in Rogers, AR, home of the Daisy Red Rider Carbine, if you remember a previous post. Our start/finish location was something different for this ride as well. Typically, we start/finish in an empty parking lot. Today, we would return, stow the bikes, walk over to the restaurant, and pig out!
But some things about our rides never change. That’s ArkansasGal, orange helmet to match Orange Crush, second from the right laying down the law to the riders before we leave. Methinks there is a drill instructor lurking somewhere in her family tree. Though slight of stature, she does have a command presence about her.
Holding ArkansasGal’s bike is BiggerAl, who has posted here. Typically, BiggerAl is at or near the head of the peloton, but today he would take the day off and serve as our SAG/Bike Butler. What a deal! That was also something different about this ride, our first-ever bike butler! I could get accustomed to this, easily.
To the left of ArkansasGal in the red helmet and maillot jaune is Hell Bent, a/k/a Tom, rider of a Catrike and the evil black recumbent (Corsa) on which I have reported, here. To add to the different theme of the ride, Tom showed up on a regular bike, his Litespeed. We didn’t recognize him at first. I wouldn’t be surprised if, someday, Tom arrives for a ride on a Low Racer.
To the left of Tom, is Cheri, better half of BiggerAl. She would be our ride leader/navigator for the day, and by the way, she did a heckuva job in that role.
To Tom’s left is Steph, who is a recent addition to the Roadies crew.
To the left of Steph is Connie, Craig's better half. Craig and Connie are regulars in the Krewe of Roadies.
Having received the usual instructions, admonitions, and threats from ArkansasGal, we ventured out. Our route took us through Rogers, Lowell, Tontitown, Cave Springs, and out in the country side to the west.
Part of the eclectic nature of this ride was the range of ages of the riders. We had twenty somethings, Andy and his friend, who were training for the Big Dam Bridge ride later this year, to seventy somethings.
Here we are taking a little break in the shade. In the right hand side of the picture (to the right of the mail boxes) is Loretta, 77, a member and regular rider with the Bella Vista Bike Club. Her only problem for the day was a front derailleur that didn’t want to shift to the little ring on the hills. Bike butler up! BiggerAl adjusted the low limit screw, and all was well. According to Loretta, if I stay active, there may be hope for me, yet.
On down the road a piece, we regrouped at an intersection
The tall, and dashingly handsome, dude in the bright orange jersey on the right hand side of the pic is yours truly. To my right, and in an orange jersey, is Steph, and to her right is our ride leader/navigator, Cheri.
An additional aspect of the “eclecticity” of this outing was the range of physical abilities of the riders. Competent cyclists all, we ranged from easy rider to iron man triathelete, Steph, to spin instructor to pace liners to a serious long-distance cyclist, Phil, who just returned from a solo ride from Fayetteville, AR to Fayetteville, GA.
After 46 miles of conversation, cruising, climbing, and clamoring to stay on the occasional pace line, we made it back to the parking lot and began seriously lusting for food and drink.
Seated just in front of our server is Steph, who, along with our server is describing the size of a really tall beer. BiggerAl is licking his chops in anticipation of said beer, as is Cheri, who is relieved that she successfully shepherded 22 cyclists though a brand new route for all of us.
That’s ArkansasGal in the foreground. Down at the end of the table in the blue jersey is Phil, the resident loooooong-distance cyclist. The feeding frenzy had yet to begin.
This surly looking dude is my buddy Jeff, a fellow tenor who sings next to me in the choir. If I recall correctly, he started cycling again about a year ago, got a case of N+1, and is now a strong rider. He is comfortable anywhere in the peloton, up hills, on the flats, descending, leading, or riding sweep. He may have been a bit tired here after having pulled me for a number of our 46 miles.
So, I suppose the real scenery on this ride was the people. We were greatly diverse in our physical abilities, our ages, our occupations, and I believe our cycling goals, but we rode together and made an outstanding day of it. One amongst us commented thusly, “I continue to be amazed at the diversity of the people who ride with us and their engagement with life in general, and this is why I love this bike group.” That sorta nails it.