2012 Root Beer Ride Series
This is a ride for both the strong- and weak-bodied (I am the latter), but not for those of feeble spirit.
A hoard of roadies, fixed-and single-speed riders, and mountain bikers strapped on helmets for the inaugural ride that offers two loops: a 10-miler and a 22-miler. The ride’s Facebook event page mentions a 17-mile ride that is available upon request.
I hopped on my fixie for the trek — a 1970s Schwinn repainted blue with pink polka dots, and built by my older brother with parts from Scene3 Boardshop. Regardless of how legit my bike looked (or outlandish, depending on your eye), my physical readiness for such an undertaking was at an all-time low. I opted for the 10-mile loop.
After a mile, I was winded and lagging behind, but pushing onward with the others still in sight. A few miles after that, I was pushing my bicycle uphill. And in between hoping another rider wouldn’t spot me walking and wishing for an American Spirit, I conducted a debate with myself on whether taking another draught from my faintly-moldy Camelback would cause me to puke.
It didn’t, and at the peak of the hill I was back on my blue San Marco saddle and listening to Devendra Banhart through my earbuds.
There was a time after the 10-milers and 22-milers met up at Sonic for root beer floats that a few of us rode in a pack and looked out over an expansive field to see the sun dipping down into the horizon, casting everything in a burnt orange. I thought of reaching for my phone to take a shot for Instagram, but knew that if I tried I’d be tangled on the road in a heap of steel, rubber and peeled skin.
At that moment, Jeff Gray, owner of Scene3, said it best with one drawn-out word: “Beautiful.”
We pedaled on. Some things are best left to the experience itself.
Had my 10-speed been roadworthy, I probably still would have taken my fixie, and the ride still would have peaked with me hoping to the sky that my body and three mounded plates of Jade Palace lunch buffet would not find their way onto the pavement — miles behind the other riders.
For obvious reasons, I skipped the root beer float at Sonic.
Let not my lack of physical fitness and my predilection for riding fixed (despite the former fact) dissuade you. The 10-mile loop is attainable for nearly any rider, and will more than entice you to shoot for the 22. Get a group of your friends and an equal number of bicycles together from wherever you can and meet up for this ride. In addition to the camaraderie that tends to come from people engaging in strenuous activity en masse, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some of Lynchburg’s more photogenic areas and to make some new friends.
For more information, “like” Blackwater Bike Shop on Facebook or call (434) 385-7047.