Today I did the annual 154 mile or 253K
ride from Tom Schuler's house in Wauwatosa WI. To Madison WI called
the Bone Ride.
The Bone Ride
I simply could not believe the turn
out! My estimation is that there were at least 300 participants
leaving Tom's house in Wauwatosa and with a stop in Pewaukee
Wisconsin on the way to Madison WI we picked up at least another 100
Tom Schuler had a little talk about
what the “Bone” ride was about before the ride and some basic
ground rules for the ride. What Tom intended to happen was to have
the large group broke up into small groups of no more than 40 riding
two abreast doing at most a 5 minute pull at a “talking pace” so
that no one would be working all that hard with the purpose (in Tom's
words) was to do “stupid” miles or Bone head miles. Long steady
distance miles is a part of all racers training in early spring and
this was just a way to do it.
Ah! But the reality of the ride was a
couple of very large groups of riders going at very high speed at
times on very narrow and low shoulder or no shoulder roads for much
of the ride through one of the fastest growing parts of Wisconsin
with high volumes of traffic on the roads!
Combine that with at times some poor
cycling behavior including many cyclists urinating right on the side
of the road. No big deal if this was on a rural Wisconsin byway
instead of a “New urban” area.
With the huge group the road was
blocking cars from passing which brought out the Police to enforce
two abreast and yielding the road to Autos. They were not happy. Just
what we don't need. One guy was peeing at the side of the road right
in front of the cops! Not to smart. Fortunately for him it was just a
lecture and be on your way!!!
The other issue were the number of
crashes that I personally witnessed. One was particularly nasty with
a lot of road rash.
Now with all that negativity this could
be a fantastic early spring ride with some changes to the venue given
the new nature of the roads. One suggestion would be using the
internet and have folks register and at that time get assigned to a
small group with some kind of system. I am sure this could be easily
done! And then stagger the groups when they leave with a rule that
you are not to over take and make a group of 40 a group of 80!
These suggestions would help or
eliminate what went on today with this large group of riders.
With 40 miles to go I baled on the ride
and took the really nice bike trail and some much lower traffic roads
back to Wauwatosa and I added about 20 miles to get about 180 miles
in for the day.
Would I do this ride again? Not without
some major changes....