Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bike the Bridge ride report

Last month, after I wasn't able to finish the Tour de Troit due to flat tires, I really wanted to find another group bike ride. I loved the Tour de Troit until I got the flat tires. I saw that the Tour de Troit was actually hosting another ride called Bike the Bridge, where you get to ride over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, then back across to the States, and then go for a 20-mile bike ride in Detroit. Jerry and I signed up for it, and then I taught myself how to change out bike tire tubes so I would be prepared in case I got a flat.

A few days ago, Jerry found out that he had to work today--mandatory overtime, unless someone would pick up his shift. He asked everyone, and nobody wanted to pick it up. Yesterday, I wasn't even sure that I was going to go to the ride today--I really didn't want to go alone. I would have had to drive all the way up to Detroit at 6:30 a.m. by myself, and then ride the 25-ish miles alone, and that just didn't sound fun to me.

Last night, in the eleventh hour, Jerry's friend Steve told him he'd pick up Jerry's shift. I was so glad! I really wanted to do this ride, and I just kept debating whether I should go alone or not. The email we got from the ride organizers said to be there at 7:00 a.m. sharp for packet pick-up, so we left at 6:20 just to be safe. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house, and then made it to packet pick-up at 7:00 sharp.

Packet pick-up was in the parking lot of a restaurant in Mexicantown, and even at 7:00 in the morning, the air smelled like delicious Mexican food. We picked up our packets (a t-shirt and bib), and then we had TWO HOURS to kill before the ride would start. I have no idea why they said to be there at "7:00 sharp". We went back to the car to hang out for a while, because it was cold outside. The t-shirts we got are really simple, but I love them!


At around 7:45, we walked to a little coffee shop to sit and wait. They are normally closed on Sundays, but they were open today because of the ride, and there were a lot of cyclists in there. At 8:30, we unloaded the bikes from the back of the Jeep, and then made our way to the starting line. The ride started at 9:00, and a police car escorted the pack of cyclists to the bridge, which wasn't very far away (maybe a mile).


I climbed the bridge on foot in 2012 when I ran the Detroit Marathon, but I was actually pretty nervous to do it on a bike. I've never practiced hills on a bike before, because we just don't have any around here. Thankfully, it wasn't that hard!


I was huffing and puffing a little by the time we got to the top, but I didn't have to stop, or walk my bike, or anything like that. We stopped for a quick picture on the bridge (we picked a bad spot to stop, because there was a big pole in the way of the view):




Once we got onto the Canadian side, we had to stop and wait for everyone to cross the bridge. We stood there for about 15 minutes, waiting for everyone to get across, and then the police escorted us back across the bridge to the United States side. Riding the bridge ended up being my favorite part of the ride. It was an awesome view from the top and coasting on the way down was nice! I didn't even pedal at all on the downhill, and my bike hit 24 mph on the way back into the U.S.

After we were back into the U.S., we had to stop and wait again for everyone to catch up. This is where things got a little odd. During the Tour de Troit, everyone could go at whatever pace they wanted; for Bike the Bridge, though, the police escort was driving really slowly to try to keep the entire group together (all 750 cyclists). That caused a LOT of stop and go movement on the bikes, which was irritating.

There were a few times along the ride where we had to stop completely for 10 minutes or so and let the entire group get packed together like sardines again. Because of all the stop-and-go movement on the bikes, the ride was taking much longer than anticipated, so they decided to shorten the route. It was supposed to be 20 miles (in addition to the bridge loop, which added a little over 5 miles); in the end, the entire ride, including the bridge, only ended up being 16.2 miles. A lot of people were disappointed.

When we got back to the starting area, Jerry and I went and put our bikes in the Jeep, and then went to pick up our lunch. The registration fee we paid included a catered boxed lunch. Mine had a chicken caesar salad sandwich, a bag of chips, and a cookie. I ate the sandwich, which was delicious, but I skipped the chips and cookie, because I'd been smelling something delicious from the Mexicantown Bakery all morning. My plan was to get churros, but once we went inside, I saw slices of carrot cake, and it was all over. I bought a piece of carrot cake and it was heavenly!


I ate about 3/4 of it before I realized that I just didn't want any more, because it was so rich. That NEVER happens! I wish I could say that I'd burned all those calories on the ride, but I only burned 405 calories during the entire ride. I estimate the cake to be 600. Oh, well, good enough! ;) And the cake was worth it.

Overall, we're glad we did the ride, but we both agreed we wouldn't do it again. Riding over the bridge was awesome, but the constant stop-and-go of the bikes took away a lot of the enjoyment of the experience. It was nice to do something different together, though!


Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! Please send me your submissions tonight, so that I can get the post together tomorrow morning.

5 comments:

  1. What a weird way to host a biking event! I too would have been irritated if all we did was stop and go, stop and go. On the bright side, that carrot cake looks amazing!

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  2. I rose the Tour De Bronx ride last year in NY and it was like that. We had to keep stopping for crowd control. I am not doing it this year! The NYC Five Boro Bike Tour in May is amazing. Riding through the streets of Manhattan closed to traffic and on the bridges and highways is just awesome. I did it last year and am getting a bunch of people to do it next year

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  3. I rose the Tour De Bronx ride last year in NY and it was like that. We had to keep stopping for crowd control. I am not doing it this year! The NYC Five Boro Bike Tour in May is amazing. Riding through the streets of Manhattan closed to traffic and on the bridges and highways is just awesome. I did it last year and am getting a bunch of people to do it next year

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  4. Interesting how close they kept the cyclists. That would drive me nuts. I have only done a few organized rides and only one stopped to keep the group together. The others were fend for yourself LOL!

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  5. Way to go on the ride and that cake looks amazing, it's my fave.

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