Another day in the sun means another Trailnet bike ride. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Leaving the environs of the Lou, we loaded the bikes onto the back of the car and trundled across the Mississippi to the Land of Lincoln; also know as the land of chip and seal, think rough chatter-bump pavement. Our objective for the day was the little burg of St. Jacob, which was holding its annual strawberry festival. Trailnet with its Berry Bicycle Ride brings hundreds of hungry cyclists into this tiny town boosting its festival’s attendance numbers and fundraising dollars.
Lately, Anne and I have been doing more of Trailnet’s Community rides, like yesterday’s The Art of Riding. These community rides are newer, smaller, shorter and free. They also generally occur close enough to home that we don’t have to transport ourselves and our bikes by car. The Berry ride is a little different. It is one of Trailnet’s Bicycle Fun Club events. It is a venerable ride and like most Fun Club rides attracts a large crowd. Trailnet is celebrating its 25th anniversary and the strawberry ride has been around since the beginning.
The Bicycle Fun Club was the creation of Tom Yarbrough, who helped found this style of group rides in Saint Louis during the late 1970s, when he was the manager of the Richmond Heights Touring Cyclist store. Later, Tom created the Fun Club under the Trailnet umbrella and continued some of his more offbeat rides, as an offshoot to the more conventional bike rides that Trailnet was already operating. I rode Tom’s last RAGBRAI and Tour of Herman. Tom passed away from lung cancer shortly afterwards. Trailnet continues to popularize the Bicycle Fun Club. It makes for a fond fun remembrance.
That’s enough rolling down memory lane; let’s get back to today’s ride. We got there early enough to see some Kaldi team members already riding out. We got registered ourselves and set off. Things were going well until Anne decided to stop and take off her Dancing Crane cap that she was wearing under her bicycle helmet. She neglected to unclip and ended up doing the captain and went down with the ship. The bike landed derailleur side up, so it was OK. Anne got a few scrapes, so she was mostly OK. No really, she’s OK and no she didn’t crash just to supply me blog fodder, bloody blog fodder I might say.
We decided then to cut our losses and elected to take the short route back, instead of any of the other longer ones. We were rewarded for this decision at the finish with strawberry shortcake à la mode, no long lines to wait for same and the company of many venerable Kaldi friends, not necessarily in that order. While we were enjoying our repast, a country-western band performed many much-loved standards. At one point they took a break and delivered some tragic news, “We regret to announce the passing of the youth, from the body of our dear friend […] on his fiftieth birthday.” Ah yes fifty, I remember it well.