Sunday, May 19, 2013

Joining When You're Not a Joiner

Never been much of a "joiner." Joined the Army in 1965 rather than be Drafted. Not sure whether being Drafted would have been better. Survived and I guess that's the among the better things for which you could hope. Decided, recently, to join the National Bike Challenge as part of the feeling that I need to advocate bicycle riding. Don't like admitting that I have gotten into the competition part of it.

I've always been competitive, but mostly against myself. When I lived in Atlanta and ran alot back in the late 70s and early 80, when running was very much a part of my life experience, I knew I could not keep up with whippet slender real runners. I was a plodder, a sub 10 minute miler most of the time, but I could run for hours. I ran because it felt good. Thirty years later my knees reject the idea running while readily accepting the limited stress associated with sliding onto a B-17.

That competitive sense has been stirred by joining the National Bike Challenge. I joined to add my mileage to the team (Go Team!), the Gainesville Bicycle Society (Gainesville Cycling Club to use its proper name) to which membership gives me a 15% discount on parts and accessories at my FNBS. Now, I am drawn to the local and national rankings and like seeing that of the 22K plus people registered, I rank in the top 1500 or so. I tend to ignore the hundreds whose names appear but have logged no mileage.

It's a good deal for someone like me since every time I slide onto my Brooks or FrankenBrooks B-17 I garner 20 points plus 1 point per mile ridden. A single trip to Publix totals 20 + 3 and I make that trip three and four times a week. This is about the promotion of bicycles as a way to make the Earth a healthier place or, as the website suggests, "the power of the bicycle to build healthy people, healthy communities, and a healthy planet" (National Bike Challenge), so those of us who live the bicycle lifestyle might represent the "ground roots" of the Challenge.

Today I did a 20 something mile circuit that included the Archer Braid Tral and found that all but about one-quarter mile remains to be paved of the six or so miles. The support elements are in place at the Archer Trail Head; parking space, kiosk, sidewalk, and trail. All that remains is to pave over the tarred sand. About a dozen other riders were abroad on the Trail today and I expect it'll become a favorite of many G'ville riders.

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