Saturday, August 30, 2014

In Which I Have A Most Excellent Birthday Ride

End of the ride, the happy bikers. The older one on the right just turned 56 today.

I turned 56 today, and my wife said I could do pretty much what I wanted.

So I completely ignored the backlog of work for a whole day. The morning started with a gym workout, followed by a drive downtown to Kathy’s Pies to buy a birthday desert—apple pie. And then it was off to breakfast at Perkins. When we got home, we skyped with a daughter who lives in the UK.

The plan then was to ride our bikes and take a nap, but both of us decided that naps could come first. So it was a bit later that I got out Francis and my wife’s bike. I thought of riding The Beast so we would be on similar bikes, but we wanted to carry snacks and that’s just a lot easier with Francis. I pumped up tires and lubed chains and then we were on our way.

I had planned to take the trail south, but forgot my turn on F Avenue and we ended up down by Mount Mercy before we finally took J Avenue to the trail.

Art outside the museum.
We haven’t been on a lot of joint rides this year, but this was a very nice day—just a little warm, but with a nice breeze, and just enough clouds to keep the sun from feeling hot. We rode down to Cedar Lake and decided to keep going. We paused for selfies at the Museum of Art, and when we got to Sokol Park, we enjoyed nuts, raisins and animal crackers—a pretty good biking snack. We decided we weren’t done in yet, so we continued on the trail until we got to about 11 miles or so from the start—right at the bridge that crosses railroad tracks. There we took more pictures and headed back.

On the way back, we paused at Parlor City for some ice cream. I had not tried a Boston Shake before, but it (a sundae on top of a shake) seems like an excellent idea. I had hot fudge on chocolate. Maybe I will try caramel on strawberry next time.

We all scream. Well, not really. But we eat ice cream.

Before that, we had paused at the park at Cedar Lake to use the restrooms, where I rescued a damsel in distress. Her chain had slipped off, and she and her daughter were unable to get it back on. She was struggling with her bike chain with one hand and talking with some guy on her cell phone with the other.

I walked up. I’m no bike mechanic, but I’ve put chains back on enough times to be of some aid. It helps if you at least know how to make the chain slack by holding the rear derailleur.

So I sort of just dived in there.

“Some guy is helping me,” the woman exclaimed on the cell phone. I hadn't verbally communicated with her before that point, because she was yakking on her cell phone.

“Is he weird?” a male voice from the phone queried.

“You’re on speaker phone,” she said.

Then I added: “Yes. He’s very weird.”

Maybe it’s a good thing it didn't take me long to get the chain on again. I never met the man who belonged to that voice.

North shore of Cedar Lake, the wife pedals along. It was a very nice day.

Anyway, we decided chivalry deserves a reward, so we stopped for the ice cream later. Don’t worry blog pals—if I had not rescued Miss My-Chain-Came-Off, I’m sure my wife and I would have decided that not running over caterpillars on the trail would have also qualified as chivalry, so ice cream would have been in order anyway. Or if we had hit a caterpillar, and my wife thinks I hit at least one, we would have been drowning our sorrows. In any event, there was ice cream.

“This sort of negates the ride,” she said as she enjoyed her turtle sundae.

No, I don’t think it did. I think it completed a very nice birthday ride. We went home, I did some yard work as she prepared a spaghetti feast for me, then we watched “Tea With Mussolini” and enjoyed our Kathy’s pie.

It was definitely a nice biker’s birthday.

On the bridge before turning back. 

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