One man's attempt at opting out of the total car culture by walking, busing, and cycling in Omaha, Nebraska.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Omaha's 2008 Corporate Cycling Challenge
This summer I, my wife, and daughter got new bicycles, and the 2008 Corporate Cycling Challenge was the perfect opportunity for us to participate in our first group ride. Riding with more than 4,000 other cyclists was a very unique experience, and was one I hope to repeat again.
The ride was on a perfect, late summer Sunday morning that seemed to have been designed for a day outdoors. Roxanne and I had already put a few hundred miles on our bikes, so I am certain we could have easily done the 24 mile route. However, our daughter is still new to cycling, and we didn't want to make her hate the ride, so we did the 10 mile route around Carter Lake. In her defense, though, she did ride with us from our home to the Heartland of America Park, a five mile ride each way. Between the commute to and from the ride, and the ride itself, we did end up riding 20 miles.
The group ride experience was fun. It was weird to be off to such a slow start, being passed by faster riders while passing slower riders. It's amazing that people don't bump into each other.
A confusing moment for me happened when I noticed that the music that I presumed to be from the Q98 Five radio DJ seemed to follow us as we rode on toward Carter Lake. After a couple of minutes of confusion looking for speakers or a van or something, I realized that a rider up ahead in a Ragbrai jersey had a specially designed bike trailer that served as a solar-powered boombox. I think he had an iPod on his top tube that was connected to an amplifier powered by some sealed lead acid batteries and was playing classic rock and roll tunes for the entire trip.
At the end of the ride we sat on the grassy hill and ate PB&J sandwiches that we had packed for the event. While downtown, we stopped by Patrick's Market and loaded a grocery pannier with provisions for the next couple of days. You've really got to plan ahead and combine trips when committed to making as many trips by bike as you can.
We'll see you there next year.
Oh, by the way... It appears that the UP team won with 7,898 employee miles plus family points. See the results here.