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19 Jul 2011

Group ride at night

Last Friday I travelled down to IJsselstein. After work I rode to Meppel, took the train to Utrecht, and cycled the remaining 12km on my Pioneer. My Garmin Dakota knew how to get there. It turned out my destination is marked quite well. It's close to a 300 metre high radio tower. Speaking of radio towers, on of the first things I heard when I arrived at Maarten's place, was that 'my' radio tower had lost 200 metres.

The tower of Hoogersmilde. I ride past it so often. It's still there, but the top has collapsed. A fire caused the metal antenna to melt, snap and collapse down in to a field. That tower has been my source for FM signals all my live. Now, it's future is uncertain. The 100 metre concrete part is still there. With a little luck, that part is good enough to mount a new antenna on. We now miss a land mark and an icon. Listening to radio 1 and 2 can be problematic. And those are about the only stations I listen to. I dedicate this song to the tower of Hoogersmilde: Radio Gaga.

Back to the ride. Plan was to ride near the Lek river. Not before the sun had set, and we had something the eat. Maarten and Maaike had prepared ingredients to mix your own pasta salad, jummy. We left around 22:20h.

Since the invention of the high power LED, riding at night has become a relaxing experience. Navigation was easy, just follow the Gaucho. To my surprise, the headlights gave enough light for my camera to film some of the ride. We enjoyed the scenery and chatted a bit. There was a full moon, and every now and then, the clouds would move aside to show it. The temperature was right, the wind hardly there. Only downside was the length of the ride, just under 50km. Not really a problem of course, I just felt good enough to do more.

Afterwards there where waffles and hot chocolate. Both with whipped cream :-) And tea too, so plenty of fluids after a day total of 108km. The result of all this hospitality was a bedtime of 3 o'clock in the night. I slept 'till 9.

Breakfast was followed by a bit of music. Songs about tea and silver machines, subjects well known to many 'bentriders. I also did a little work on a Fuego and a Pioneer. By now it was almost noon. And I still had quite a ride to go. So I loaded my stuff in to my Radical Backbone, and said goodbye.

There was a 180km ride ahead of me. But the short night and my right ankle limited me in my performance. On Sunday I did some measuring and concluded that a reason for my ankle problems is that my feet are a bit to far away from each other on the Pioneer. You have time to think when you ride 185km in 2 days time, and I used some of that time to think about my right ankle. Now, if you paid attention, you now found out that I only rode 77km on Saturday. That's because I took the train from Putten to Assen. It had started to rain and I didn't feel like draining myself empty on 180km. That did cost me some money for a train ticket, but I arrived home feeling fit. The last 3km from the station in Assen to home where fun again.

A bike like the Pioneer is excellent for riding through town, on not so good roads, with quite some speed. The fat tires and rear suspensions soak up the bumps. And even though it rained, those 3km where fun.

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