Across The River And Into Some Trees
It's my blog, and I can put a cool action shot of me and my new bike slicing through an icy mountain stream on it if I want to. OK, I admit it. I did it twice. The second time was for the cameras.
Sunday (May 13) was a day of firsts.
It was my first 50-kilometer ride of the year so far (52k, to be exact).
It was also the first time that I've been on a ride with five people. If you're keeping score, they were Stewart Moore, Mark Baker, Nino Tasca, and a new guy, Luke Allnutt, another work colleague.
Riding in such a large group was interesting. Definitely a different dynamic. It was great to pair off and talk about different stuff with different people. It was, in a word, different.
I would have predicted a much slower average speed, since there's a bit more talking and socializing, but it was actually 15 kilometers per hour, which isn't that much slower than my usual.
Gang of Four (from left): Mark, Nino, Stewart, and Luke, at the end of it all. I'm always amazed at how Mark can cycle for a whole day with that weird thing sticking out of his helmet. I know I couldn't do it. The aerodynamics alone!
We had to be careful on the roads, though, with so many cyclists in one group. You're not supposed to ride side by side on the roads, but when there's no traffic, we do, of course. When a car comes, we quickly go back to single file. But sometimes it's not as fast as it should be and I feel a little guilty, being such a stickler in this blog about obeying the rules.
But even when you're following the rules of the road, it can be crazy out there.
On Sunday, Stewart and I were riding single file on a country road near Tuchoměřice when some guy basically sideswiped us and then cut sharply and swiftly in front of us. It was a definite intimidation tactic.
I shouldn't say intimidation. That's not the right word. It was a definite move on his part to be a complete bastard for no reason whatsoever. He could have killed us if he'd misjudged his distance by a few centimeters. As it was, I would have liked to have killed him.
When you ride in the Czech Republic, though, you get used to crap like that.
I still can't comprehend what's going through these peoples' heads, though.
We had a great ride. We went from Letna on the classic run to Roztoky, Unetice, Statenice, Tuchoměřice, and then to Okoř. We took a more circuitous route back via Velké Přílepy.
We ran into lots of walkers, lots of cyclists, and lots of horseback riders out in the countryside, including two youngsters on the most beautiful ponies I think I've ever seen. They looked like miniature Lipizzaners.
Hey, we got to splash through a stream, drink a few beers, and share a few laughs. Not a bad way to spend a sunny Sunday.
A special tip of the helmet to Luke, who was out on his first real cycling excursion. Doing 50+k on your first time out is impressive. I was hurting after doing just 17k back in February. And even though he was hurting at the end (actually, he was hurting in his end), he never quit.
It gets easier, Luke. Trust me.
Length of ride: 52 kilometers
Average speed: 15 kph
Maximum speed: 43.2 kph
Number of flat tires in 2007: 3
Time on the bike: 3.25.58
Distance for 2007: 601 kilometers
I love this portrait I took of Stewart at the Family Hotel Okoř and Restaurant (a great place, btw). I think it captures his warm, voluble personality perfectly.