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Tweed Ride/ Pub Crawl   Leave a comment

And Now For Something Completely Different…

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As the year draws to a close, it’s common for friends to come together to toast the holidays, and look forward to the new year.  With this in mind, and while thinking about putting together an end-of-year get together, Eric came up with a novel idea that turned into one of the best “group rides” of the year.

In most holiday get-togethers among riding buddies, the conversation will eventually drift to future riding plans.  Lubricated and emboldened by liquid refreshments, the plans that are presented are often overly-ambitious and highly improbable.  Eric’s idea was to include a ride into our annual outing, so that we’d at least accomplish SOME riding as part of our get together.  There were, however, a few rules.

First, we were going to behave and dress like gentlemen.  Lycra and performance fabrics were to be replaced with wool sport coats, scarves, and proper evening attire.  Second, we were to abstain from using carbon fiber and instead ride kinder, gentler bikes from days gone by.  Steel was the preferred material, and proper flat bars were preferable to new-fangled drop bars.  Full coverage fenders might bring bonus points.  Third, the ride would be taking place at night, requiring that everyone bring and use lights.  With this, the “get lit” ride was born, a course was laid out, and a group assembled.  Along for the ride were Eric, Ben, Benny, Mike, Jason, and myself.

We met at the train station in Port Chester, New York.  Its beer garden was to be our final stop of our two-wheeled pub crawl.  We assembled in the parking lot, looking more like a 1930’s era book club gathering than a group of cyclists, and set off for our first destination, the Rye Roadhouse.  The 6 mile jaunt to Rye took us through the neighborhoods of Port Chester, through the mansions surrounding Westchester Country Club, and back down into Rye.  The route had been planned to avoid traffic, and whenever possible provide as much visibility as possible.  The weather was brisk (45 degrees) but dry and clear.

We arrived at the Roadhouse and immediately got weird looks from most of the people in the bar because we a.) were somewhat overdressed, and b.) arrived on bikes.  Nevertheless, we finally got a table, and sat down to dinner and liquid refreshments.  As happens often, I’m sure, our 70 year old waitress took a shine to Jason.  Bourbon and spicy food eliminated any remaining chill in our bones.

After dinner, the next stop was to be another 6 miles away in Greenwich, Connecticut.  After a hearty meal, and “hydration”, a 6 mile ride to Greenwich seemed like an absolutely stupid idea.  We began to debate calling cabs to return us home, when Jason suddenly suggested an alternate plan:  Kelly’s, a local Rye dive bar less than a mile away.  This stroke of genius was all we needed to remount our trusty machines and continue on our quest.  A five minute mostly downhill coast got us to our next destination where we were again welcomed as only a group of inappropriately-attired and vehicled could be:  with a mix of shock, awe, and confusion.

As we “hydrated” again, the conversations that we’d had in previous years about plans for next season had transformed into a more immediate “where should we go next?”  We were onto something with this whole dressing funny, riding old bikes, and visiting bars thing.  Rather than making bold claims about future endeavors, we were actually riding, albeit in tiny increments.

With a goal of eventually completing the loop and returning to the Port Chester train station, we headed to Sam’s bar in Port Chester, a daunting 2 miles away.  Nevertheless, we rode into Port Chester with the purpose and swagger of men on a mission; true outlaws of the open roads.  Sam’s featured a shuffleboard table, and we cheered on as mighty shuffleboard athletes competed in epic battles of sliding little steel pucks across a table.  It was also at this point that we figured out that Benny had his tie on backwards, which was immediately rectified.

We decided that one more stop was in order, so we pedaled a brisk 0.8 miles (partially uphill!) to Davy Byrnes, a neighborhood joint in Port Chester sporting an Irish theme, where you’re just as likely to run into a group of youngsters with questionable IDs as you would a 80 year old grandmother who’s dancing to Run DMC playing on the jukebox.  Eric and Mike found the dartboard, and again we were making an impression as people around us didn’t seem to know what to make of us.

It was getting late, and we decided that it was time to finish the loop, so we formed a paceline to finish up the final 0.75 mile segment to get us back to the train station and Heartland Black + Gold for a final toast.  As we arrived, they were closing, which was probably a good thing for all parties involved.

Ride Analysis:

Total Distance:  10.5 miles.

Time:  5 hours.

Average speed:  2.1 mph.

Total liquid volume consumed:  Just enough.

 

As I pedaled the one mile “cool down” back home, looking somewhere between “ridiculous” and “dapper,” I was reminded that riding a bike, even in a ridiculous manner, could be a lot of fun, and that I need to find other impractical and silly reasons to ride.  The ancient Roman lyric poet Horace summed it up nicely when he said the following:

 

“Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans.  It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.” 

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Posted January 27, 2016 by bicycleworldny in Uncategorized

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