Sunday, December 15, 2013

2013 Holiday Toy Ride

It had been a week of ups and downs. Al and I had some excellent rides during the week. Those were the ups. Then on Friday we had a down. We were doing loops on the Rickenbacker. We were headed into Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the end of Key Biscayne, our favorite spot for a snack break. I went to shift from my big chainring into my middle chainring....and absolutely nothing happened. We pedaled around while I kept trying...and trying...and trying. Colorful language was practiced as we had the growing realization that the shifter or the cable had died. We ate our snack, then pedaled back to one of the local bike shops. The guys at the bike shop did their best, but it was the shifter. It had given up the ghost. They got on the phone and started hunting for a new left shifter for a triple. In a short while one was located in Colorado and ordered. The mechanic put the chain on the middle chainring (so I could get across William Powell Bridge to the mainland), but he warned me that if I shifted it up, it wouldn't go back. Which meant I'd have to ride the bike in the middle chainring until next week when the new shifter got to Miami. Bummer.

We headed out on Saturday to the Everglades Bicycle Club group rides. We decided to give it a try with our regular group. We did about 33 miles with the 18+ mph group. About that time we were on a long straight patch of road, and I was in the highest gear I could put the bike into...and I was spinning like an Animaniacs cartoon character. It was inevitable: I red lined. Al and I dropped back and decided to pull the plug and head back on our own. A lesson learned. (Know your limits and your bike's limits.)

Sunday was another up. A special ride, the 2013 Holiday Toy Ride. It's a ride sponsored by EBC that collects toys and money for the St. Stephens Ministry, a local charitable group. As we rolled our bikes through the lobby of our building, the lobby staff smiled and enjoyed the sight of us wearing antlers on our bike helmets. We rode down the M-Path to Ponce de Leon Middle School. As we were crossing the highway to the school, a cheerful elf on her bike pulled up to us. A fellow EBC rider that definitely had the holiday spirit going. Ahead there were more elves, riders in red or green jerseys, decorated bikes, decorated helmets...a colorful mass of bikes, riders, and holiday cheer. We had coffee and pastries, socialized, then after a word from the ride coordinator, Mary Beth Garcia, and a blessing from delightful minister, we headed out for rides. There were leader led rides for everyone, a leisurely family ride, and rides for the 14-16 mph, 16-18 mph, and 18+ mph groups. (We'd learned our lesson on Saturday. We rode our mountain bikes and joined the 16-18 mph group.) There were almost a hundred riders. In addition to Everglades Bicycle Club, there were riders from Team Sindacto, Team Jama, Stormriders, 550, Hammerheads, and Miami Cycling Club. Our group rode to Miami Beach, swung through South Beach, saw Santa and the Grinch riding high on a firetruck in a parade going down Ocean Drive, took a spin to South Pointe Park to take in one of the best views of water and city that Miami offers. Then back to Ponce Middle School for more socializing, beer, and mimosas. Definitely a great holiday event.

We were headed back through the lobby of our building to the elevators. Everyone commented on the antlers adorning our bicycle helmets. While riding up in the elevator, we said we'd been at a Holiday Toy Ride. "Who puts it on?" a 20-something woman asked. "Everglades Bicycle Club," we told her. "I think I'll look them up. That sounds like a group worth joining." We agreed.