Monday, October 20, 2008

reality that you can feel... in your quadriceps

So, a couple of weeks ago, Brian suggested that I ride with him and the rest of the Bicycle Outfitters crew, from the shop to the Bike Bash event at Vinoy Park, in downtown St. Pete. I was sorta on the fence about riding there; not because I didn't want to try a longer ride than I'm used to (in fact, that's exactly what I was ready for), but because I was worried about being the slowest/least skilled person going.

Not to mention it would require getting up at 5 am on a Sunday.

But don't worry- I decided to go anyways, and I am SO glad that I did. Getting up while it was still dark was actually fun, it made the day feel more exciting than a normal day (or was that my nervousness, maybe?). The stars and the moon were just gorgeous Sunday morning, and the weather was brisk enough that I got to don a cozy hooded sweater as we headed out for a quick cup of coffee and over to the bike shop.

Some parts of the ride were really intense for me. There are several overpasses with pretty steep climbs which required some concentration on my part. I love pushing myself past my boundaries, though. It's exhilarating, and the adrenaline-high is impeccable once your end point is visible.

Seriously, there was a moment on the way there (somewhere in the municipality of Gulfport) that I started to doubt my ability to make it all the way there. And then, like magic, a few minutes later the pain went away, and a few minutes after that, we could suddenly see the Trop' and, to me, that means downtown. Riding past it, and down towards the water, my utter joy and satisfaction probably made me look like a fool, but I didn't care.

The bay, so blue and choppy. The wind, so crisp. Palm trees. Puppies. Perfection.

Then, to my surprise, Brian whipped up a hot and nutritious campstove breakfast, to top off the killer moment.

And, can you believe this: Not only were we the first to arrive, Bicycle Outfitters was the only bike shop that set up for this event without the aid of motorized vehicles- total bike power. The caravan of riders not only got there, but got there with bike trailers and panniers loaded with tents, merchandise, tools, and gear!

Here's the Bicycle Outfitters set up, early in the day

A mellow cyclist enjoying the weather, complete with a beer and flip flops, though they didn't make it into the picture

The Skirts, a cool bicycling group for girls!

A little boy on his dad's Xtracycle... I'm so ready to ditch the car circle for good. All I need is an Xtracycle!

Brian, showing off his Surly Longhaul Trucker, while someone from the co op explains bike touring

And here's a video of the event, courtesy of Jack, from

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