Spring Time, Time To Ride!

It’s March!   Spring Training has begun for MLB ball players down in Florida and Arizona, and that has always been my general sign that it’s time to start riding/training again for the Summer’s upcoming riding events, and there are several on the Radar.

This weekend was a big weekend for riding in the KC area.   The weather clicked up a couple degrees and made it nice to be outside.  Several did get out, and hopefully they’ll post about it 😉 (Lynne, Karin…  I’m talking about you here!).  For me,  I was finally able to get out on Sunday after having to get out of town earlier during the weekend for family events.  I got back into town Late Saturday evening, and early the next morning I was pinging the Slack group to find out who wanted to get some miles in.   Bryn, Nancy, Brad, Andy, Keith Thurlo, and I were able to all meet up at Cinder Block Brewery in N. Kansas City to begin our day’s bike adventure.   As would be expected, we started with a nice beer at the Brewery.

The wind was putting up a pretty consistent effort from the South, so we decided to head that way in an attempt to be sure we had it at our backs on the way home.   So we decided that KC Bier Co would be a terrific destination that would give us close to 25 miles on the day, provide a great mid ride stop, and met the targeted direction we wanted to ride.   So off we road!

We cut over to the east and made our way South on the Paseo.   I usually love the Paseo because it’s a more consistent, grinding climb vs the harder climbs up Gilliam, Main, or Rainbow.   In hind sight, with the consistent wind, maybe the shorter but steeper climbs would have been a good choice.   Who knows?   What I do know is that it wasn’t my easiest trip South I’ve ever taken.  Linwood down to the Plaza area was nice though.   Nancy continued to show that all the training she’s done has made her the new Queen of hilll climbing, and Andy, of course, made us all look like out of shape noobs.   Ultimately we reached KC Bier Co, and found a great outdoor spot and a few nice beverages and pretzels to consume.

Our way back was a bit more direct.   Oak to Warwick, to Gilliam, where we shot down Hospital Hill as fast as we could and got back into the downtown area.

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So, I learned that I’m not fully recovered from my bought with the flu.  Breathing was not always the easiest on the ride, but… I’m glad I got out there.  It felt good, and today I’m feeling good.  Got to get back into the training rhythm, cause we’ve got RIDES COMING UP!

Upcoming Rides

March BBBR – Sat. March 14th

I know several our heading down to Oklahoma for the Mid South Ride that weekend, but the rest of us should plan on riding back here in KC.   Meeting at Spokes in Downtown.  Details can be found on the link above.

Cool Hand Luke Gravel Grinder – Sun. April 26h

Get your bike dirty on this gravel ride up in Leavenworth.   Many of us our taking aim at the 50 miler.  Let’s go!  Join us.

Tour De Bier – Sun. May 17th

If you were hoping to get earlier bird pricing,  well, you just missed out as registration just went up as of March 1st.   Don’t let that stop you from joining though!   Get Signed up for the 30 mile route and meet us at Their new Starting / Ending Location, Berkley Riverfront Park on Sunday the 17th!  This is always one of our favorite rides.  Don’t miss it!


Cheers from the Beer Ride Riders!

Lap the Lakes 2019

When you’re yearning to ride some sweet Kansas gravel, where else to go than Emporia, Kansas? Thanks to the Jones Brain Trust (mostly Karin), we made tentative plans a few months ago to ride in the Lap the Lakes Gravel Grinder race in mid-October. Somewhat uncharacteristically, I registered before the deadline, committing myself to the joy and, possibly, suffering that comes with riding 100km (appr. 62 miles) of gravel. Also registered? Karin, Treadwell, Derek, Neal and Jeff W. 

Jeff and I arrived early Friday evening to the Airbnb Karin had reserved for the weekend and the entire group enjoyed a lovely family dinner of Karin’s famous spaghetti gravy and meatballs, salad, garlic bread and…three bottles of wine. After some last minute bicycle futzing and layer strategizing, we went to bed early enough to get a solid 7 hours of sleep. Good Decisions: 1 | Bad Decisions: 0 

6 a.m. came very, very quickly. Fortunately for anyone who neglected to set an alarm, there was a train rolling through town just a few blocks away, blasting its horn exactly the way a train should when passing through town. Also good:  Jeff scheduled the coffee maker to start brewing at 6 so we had hot, fresh coffee waiting when everyone got up! After a delicious eggs/bacon/oatmeal/fresh fruit breakfast, everyone layered, loaded up their gear, and headed out to ride. It was a beautifully crisp 30 degrees out. 

It was a little chilly.

We rode the short distance to the start of the race on Commercial St. in front of Mulready’s and Gravel City Adventure, where most race participants were already gathered. After a brief safety and information announcement from the race organizer and a nip from the steel banana, we followed the Emporia PD escort a short distance out of town to the main event: gravel. It was still very cold. I kept removing my gloves to mess with a borrowed Garmin 830 only to later realize that my gloves are touchscreen compatible and I didn’t need to remove them at all. Good Decisions: 1 | Bad Decisions: 1

The first ten or so miles were glorious. The chilly, sunshine-y fall morning was refreshing af compared to the oppressive heat and humidity of summer. Everyone had the appropriate layers to be comfortable and not overly warm or sweaty while moving. Around mile 12 or 13, we stopped for a beer and some pulls of whiskey, which I’m told is a very normal 9 a.m. activity. While we were stopped, the race organizer, who is also a member of the Emporia PD, drove past us in the SAG vehicle. We may or may not have offered him beer and whiskey. Good Decisions: 1 | Bad Decisions: 2 

I was getting cold standing around so I rode ahead. The next segment of the ride was beautiful — plenty of Konza Prairie vistas and undulating terrain. As I approached Lake Kahola, I saw signs for the the KOM/QOM challenge and shortly thereafter a couple 200km riders blew past me like I was standing still. One of them was on a single speed. Jeff caught up to me at the top of the hill and we rode down to the checkpoint together. For those who did Lunar Kanza this year – the KOM/QOM challenge was the reverse of the one for Lunar…we came at the hill from the opposite direction. 

Checkpoint 1 was a great opportunity to drink some water (and beer) and have a snack. We probably overstayed our welcome, but the volunteer did tell us we were the most entertaining group she’d encountered, so. Good Decisions: 1 | Bad Decisions: 3 

We moved on after a refuel and some shenanigans. At this point, we were absolutely the very last 100km riders and 100% okay with it. The weather was ideal and only getting warmer. We shed layers as we rode, stopping periodically to remove arm warmers, jackets, buffs and gloves that had been essential in the morning but were becoming bothersome under the cloudless, radiant sky. At one de-layering/beer stop, Neal noticed that his rear tire was low and paused to deal with it while the rest of us admired the landscape and took pulls of whiskey. A few minutes later, Neal realized the temporary fix would not hold for the next 35 miles, so we took a little gravel sabbatical that included snacks, hydration and documenting the experience. There was Fireball and beef jerky. We came to the conclusion that the 5 Second Rule definitely applies to rural gravel/dirt roads in Kansas. Good Decisions: 1 | Bad Decisions: 4

Sorry, Neal!

A short while after our sabbatical, we arrived at checkpoint 2, where the lovely volunteers were similarly amused by our approach to what was supposed to be a race. Having finished far too much whiskey and far too many beers, we took our time at this point to eat a proper meal of sandwiches, dried mango and pretty much anything else we had with us. Refueling was good and necessary; we still had about 20 miles to ride. Added challenge: the next 20 miles were into a strong (19 mph) and gusting (up to 30 mph) head and cross wind.

Checkpoint 2: Clearly pre-headwind

I really hate strong winds. That’s not to say it wasn’t fun – it was just Type II fun. The kind of fun I can enjoy and relish now that it’s over and I conquered it and didn’t quit. Oh, there was also a small water crossing, which was an unexpected surprise. You can watch Karen’s version here (language very NSFW, but highly recommend watching with the sound on):

The last 20 miles were definitely the hardest mentally. We were fighting the wind the entire time and everyone was pretty tired. For four of the six of us, it was our longest gravel ride to date. All of my gratitude to Karin for repeatedly telling me I was fine and that we were actually going to make it back to Emporia. We did, eventually, and it felt great. Even going up the hill at the end (very slowly) that apparently every ride from Emporia includes felt great. When we crossed the finish line (there was a real finish line!!), the race organizer confirmed that we were the last of the 100km riders to finish. We didn’t win the race, but we certainly won the party. Good Decisions: 2 | Bad Decisions: 4

Post-ride, we headed to Gravel City Adventure (duh). The kind gentleman manning the shop offered us beer, which we graciously accepted. Much, much later, Neal’s bed broke and my back tire developed a flat.  Overall, a great weekend and 70 miles of gravel done and dusted.

Random Thoughts:

  • There was a lot of impromptu singing/rapping on this ride: Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer // Neal’s Tire Needs Some Air; The Clash/Grateful Dead classic I Fought the Law // I Fought the Wind. You get the idea.
  • We finished just ahead of the first 200km finishers. Full results here.
  • Everyone’s favorite: photos!

Final Score:
Good Decisions: 2
Bad Decisions: 4

Second Sunday Ride with Velo Garage

In addition to their weekly Thirsty Thursday ride, Velo Garage+Tap House has started a Sunday ride on the second Sunday morning of each month. Last Sunday (8/12), Jeff and I diligently set alarms and programmed the coffee maker so we could be out the door and on our bikes by 8ish. Turns out, neither of us has any idea how long it actually takes to bike to Velo Garage from the house, so we arrived with plenty of time to spare before the ride headed out shortly after 9. I’m still missing that extra half hour of sleep.

There were a few familiar faces in the group, but sadly no fellow bad decision makers. I was extra disappointed because a person whose name rhymes with shimmy may have expressed interest in this particular ride. ANYWAY.

I don’t remember the exact route, but I bet you can find it one someone else’s Strava! We avoided Cherry, which is apparently under construction, and looped around Argosy toward KCK. Our destination was the Quindaro Bluffs, where we learned about the history of the area from a fellow rider, Mitchell. Included in this post is the only photo I took on the ride. Apologies in advance for the lack of photos that include people or bikes in my ride reports.

The ride back to Velo was mostly uneventful except for a weird KCKPD encounter (no bueno) and a scruffy stray dog running alongside some of the group. At one point we were trapped between two trains. It was humid and sunny and Kaw Point smelled like fish left sitting in a hot car. The Coors Original that greeted me back at Velo has never tasted so good.

We rode about 30 miles (appr. 20 with the group and 10ish to/from the house). I expect to see all of you for the next one!

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Back in the Saddle!

It was a great weekend of cycling!  We also had one of the larger Breakfast Bike Beer Rides that we’ve ever had.   Jeff, Megan, Brandon, Craig, Timber, Bryn, John, James, Tara, Robert, and I all made it!  Man.. that’s a lot  of names… It was a fun group, and we had  great ride.  I’m glad you all came out and joined us.  It was a great way for me to get back out on my bike after 3 weeks of not riding.  Here’s what we road!

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We missed those of you that couldn’t join us.  Hope you can make it next time.

Pro Tip!  When changing a flat tube with Presta valves, be sure to tighten down the Presta Valve core on the new tube before attaching your CO2 pump.   I keep a pair of pliers in my bag just for this reason.  If you don’t, when you unscrew your pump, it’ll unscrew your valve core as well and you’ll lose all that wonderful air pressure you just put in your new tube.


This Saturday evening was also the KC Night ride, starting at Velo Garage.  What a cool event!  The ask was for everyone to light up their bikes somehow.  Pretty cools to see all the lights and all the cool ways to put lights on a bike.  Tara’s, of coarse, was decked out in all pink lights, and Robert and I both installed these sweet lights that can create images in the wheel as they spin.  I look forward to breaking those out again on another evening ride.  Maybe the next Critical Mass, Maybe Ragbrai?  Who knows?  Pics Below as Always!

The ride also took a swing by the World War One monument, which gave me a chance to take a small detour and visit the site of my accident back in May.  I now can see how it could have happened.  Still don’t remember it though.  Pic below!

As for upcoming rides, this upcoming Saturday is the Ride to Boulivardia.  It’s a 35 mile ride that’ll start and end in the west bottoms at Boulivardia.  You get free entry into Boulivardia with your bike ride registration, and a couple free beers, so what are you waiting for?  I won’t be able to be there as I’m out of town this weekend, but I do believe quite a few others are.  There’s still time to sign up!

Details about this and all other rides can be found here! http://breakfastbikebeer.com/rides/

Now for the pics!

Tour De Bier? More like Tour de Bruises

Yep!  Things didn’t exactly go as planned Sunday, but right up until that fateful point, things were going pretty well.  But let’s recap the week shall we!


Thursday, James, Tara, and I met up down at Velo Garage again for the Thursday night ride.   It was a decent ride along cliff drive, but there were some mechanical issues with other riders that slowed it down.  Still we had fun and got some miles in.

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It was national Ride to Work day on Friday.   Did you ride?  I know I did, and I learned a better route to get home from my office through Swope Park instead of going up 85th St. during a high traffic time.


Tour De Beir.  One of my favorite rides took a turn on us.   First it rained pretty good in the morning.  I started my ride to Knuckleheads for the official ride start dry, and it hadn’t started raining yet, but by the time I got to Knuckleheads, I was drenched.  They delayed the official start about 30 minutes, which was good as it gave us all a bit to compose and prepare.  Once you’ve resigned yourself to riding in the rain, it’s actually not that bad.  You never get overheated at least.  We took off, dealt with rain, chill, and a flat tire, but still we were all in good spirits and having fun.  (Some pics below).  FYI, if you’re going to have a flat, having it right outside a bike shop is the best place to have it happen.

As the ride went on, we decided to break from the coarse after stopping at the Green Room in West-port, and headed back North to go to Brewery Emperial.  This cut out the ride down to KC Bier Co, which we were all fine with.  We took Broadway North and were crossing East on Pershing (down by Union Station) to get back down into the crossroads.   This is where I encountered a seam in the road and had a really bad time.

Thankfully I don’t remember any of it.  Best description I have is that my front wheel slid out, or got caught in the rut, and I went down fast.  Luckily I protected my brain with my helmet and my least useful body part, MY FACE!  Not like I was a looker to begin with, so all is well.  Apparently I was unconscious for a bit, then I woke up and tried convince people that I was alright, despite the blood coming out of my eye and nose.  Obviously I wasn’t because I don’t remember any of it.  I don’t have any memory until we were on our way to the hospital.  End result, I got a nice ambulance ride; a non existent memory of the incident; a little bit of road rash on my face, knees, and hip; a mild to moderate concussion, and I got three broken bones in my face, including my orbital bone under the eye, the shelf that is essentially your cheek bone, and a ridge that supports it all from the side of the face.   I also got a strawberry milk shake out of it from Jeff, so… a plus there!   Strawberry milkshakes always make life better.

This incident pretty much ended the ride for most of the group.  Megan road in the ambulance while the rest of the group rushed back to Knuckleheads or their places to get their vehicles.  Thanks to Megan, Jeff, James, and Craig who waited on/for me at the hospital.  Also thanks to the Blasi’s for helping me get to the Doctors office yesterday.  I’m thankful to have been riding with a great group.   This could have easily happened while out on a solo ride, and I’m not sure what would have happened then.

Regardless!  Cycling season continues, and I urge you all to continue to ride.  Upcoming rides can be found here:  http://breakfastbikebeer.com/rides/

The next BBBR ride is Saturday June 8th.  We’re going to start at Browne’s Irish Market which will be hosting an Irish Breakfast that morning.  I hope to have my bike back in riding shape by then.  Whether or not the Doctors let me ride is another question, but I can at least SAG for the group and I will not miss out on this breakfast and the beer afterwards.

Hope to see you there!



Spring Time Riding In Missouri

Another successful biking weekend!

This past weekend 4 of us got together downtown for a nice 25 mile ride that took us past Sauer Castle, through Roanoke Park, and had a nice stop at Browne’s Irish Market for some tasting of  Irish Gin and an imported Cream Liqueur that’s way better than Baley’s.  We continued with a pleasant ride through Cliff drive, and finished off at the Spoke’s Cafe downtown.   We also were able to experience both riding in the rain in the beginning and in some hot sun at the end.   Somebody may have also learned that even though the Interior of their Jeep with its top off is pretty much rain resistant, Jeep failed to design drains for the cup holders.  James, Tara, and I were joined by Ryan, who is a friend we’ve been riding with on the Velo Garage rides and who actually was my next apartment neighbor when I lived in the Soho Lofts downtown.

Here’s the route we took.

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Then Sunday afternoon, James, Tara and I all converged on Big Rip Brewery for a Beer and a good ride up into the north-land, and a re-introduction to riding in the heat.  I think I consumed 4 water bottles worth of water during my 40 mile trip.

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Timber also seems to have gotten some good riding in, training for the DK200 in June.  Almost road 100 miles on Saturday, and got another 40 in on Sunday.   Nice work man! Hope the newly opened Rock Island trail treated you well.

Coming up this week, we can look forward to 3 separate events!

  1. Thursday – Velo Garage Evening Ride (starts at 6:30 – any skill level welcome – 10-15 miles.)
  2. Friday – Ride to Work day – Leave the car behind for a day!
  3. Sunday – Tour De Bier.

Information about these and all our upcoming rides can be found here! http://breakfastbikebeer.com/rides/.


Sauer Castle, Kansas City KS.
Post Ride Drinks at Spokes Cafe. May 12th 2018