I pedaled up the street toward the HyVee grocery store located up on the North end of the city where I was to meet with anyone wanting some breakfast. I got there at about 7:00am, and I didn't notice anyone with bikes or a bike rack in the parking lot, so I sat myself down on a bundle of wood that they sell there for fireplaces, and waited. I waited quite a few minutes, and wondered if anyone was going to show up at all. I was hoping so, since I was hungry! Well, it wasn't too much longer that I saw a back lit figure with what looked like cycling gear on come walking up toward me. It was Ray from Wolcott, and we walked together inside where I saw that two others were just digging in to their meals! It was Keith and Ron from Cresco. I ordered up and then saw Tony parking his rig outside. Then Gene from Michigan walked in, and finally Jeremy showed up as well. Okay, so we would have a decent little group, at least.
|The Geezers: L-R: Tom, Ron, Eric, Jeremy, Tony, Keith, Ray, and Gene. I took the image and Jacob came too late to get in!|
First gravel was okay. Nothing at all like it was when I rode out this way about ten days ago. There was deeper, loose gravel for sure, but at least you could find easier lines through it all. I was riding my Pofahl single speed and it was working out for me pretty well so far. The first stop would be the "big rock" at the corner of Big Rock Road and Sage Road.
|The group at Big Rock Road and Sage Road|
|That "BR" on the rock must stand for "Big Rock", eh? That's Tony on his Atlantis there as well.|
So, I got busy and a few guys lent their hands and we got it swapped out. Turns out the old tube split along a molding line. They don't make 'em like they used to. Hopefully the Michelin tube I installed holds up better, I thought to myself, and we carried onward. Well, we didn't get very far and we saw that we had lost someone or two. We had made it to the Bennington School, and were waiting on the stragglers to arrive, but I eventually went back to find them. There they were! Two up coming down the road at me. I turned around and returned to the school ahead of them. Turns out Jacob had a flat!
|Relaxing in the shade cast by Bennington School #4|
|Information plaque in front of the school detailing its history. Click to embiggen.|
|Stopped for another flat tire. Jacob again!|
|Gene peering inside the front door of the Maxfield School, est 1888|
Well, we lounged around there for a bit and finally I made the call to head up the road. It was announced then that we'd be stopping at Tom's place, which was right on the route, for an "oasis stop". That was sounding really good about now as we were getting pretty cooked at this point by the Sun which was riding up into the sky by this time late into the morning.
Tom's place was another seven miles up the road. Hopefully we'd not have anymore flats or mechanicals. I wasn't so sure we wouldn't, as poor ol' Jacob's bike was exhibiting a really loose Shimano front hub. I clamped the skewer as tight as I dared and that would have to do, as no one had any cone wrenches on them, of course. On we went and to Ivanhoe Road.
|The oasis at Tom and Sarah's place was one of the highlights of the Geezer Ride for sure.|
|Yup. That was a good one.|
|A cat on Tom and Sarah's farm.|
We saw a few of the exotic animals they keep there- peacocks, shaggy Scottish cattle, and we heard the roosters over in the chicken campus. A cute little grey cat then showed up and entertained us with its attempt to climb a crab apple tree. Oh yeah.......the crab apples. They were ripe and quite tart. Very tasty. I had a couple while we were taking our leisure.
I could have sat right down and stayed there a while, but again, I motioned that we should get going, and that the next stop should be in Janesville, another seven miles away, and we'd have lunch there. So, we strung out on the rollers of Hilton Avenue, went past the old Boy Scout camp, and then I stopped at the next "T" intersection to gather everyone back up. Then we made the push the rest of the way into Janesville, arriving there at around 1:00pm. That was later than I'd have liked to have gotten there by, but after three flat tires and as many stops as we had, it was okay. Plus, we were now past the halfway mark to getting back to the start. The rest should go by easy, right? Well, one would think so, at any rate!
|Mega-ten bike lean at the Janesville Kwik Star.|
We left then on a long slog up Bennington Road. We passed the drag strip, which has been there for 50+ years, and heard the roar of mighty V8 engines. Then it was up and down several rollers until I found myself up at the front with the riders all strung out behind me. I looked back, and there were about five guys within about a 100 yards of me. I was easily seen, and I waved my arm vigorously to point out the right turn on Moline Road. I went around and hammered up the road, looking for a good place to stop and get a bit of shade before I got everyone gathered up again.
I did stop finally at the corner of Moline Road and Mount Vernon Road, but when I looked, only two guys, Gene and Ray, were with me. Where did the other three guys go? Well, we waited and waited, and then Tony and eventually two others showed up. Tony relayed that Keith and a couple of the others went straight at the turn and Jeremy raced up there to get them turned around. Eventually, we all were back on track and we finished up the ride with no further incident. Gene, during all of this ballyhoo, took his leave of us and raced ahead so he could get started on his trip home to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. That left us as a posse of nine.
|Headed up Bennington Road|
|Tony meeting us at the corner of Moline Road and Mt. Vernon Road|
|Post ride refreshments and grub at Jameson's Public House.|
I finally walked into my front door at home at about 4:00pm, hot, tired, and ready to sit a spell! Not a bad day on the bike, for sure, and we all seemed to have a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone that came out to ride this 3rd Geezer ride. A Special Thanks to Tom and Sarah for letting us stop at their place and for the refreshments! Much appreciated by all!
Well, so will there be another Geezer Ride? I don't really know right now. If there were to be a good amount of requests for another, I'd consider doing another. Maybe not another this year, but we'll see......