07 October 2008

Grizzly Century, North Fork, Ca - October 07, 2008

I have sort of a running joke with my wife in that she'll let me go in a 12 hour bicycle ride on a Saturday, but my motorcycle ride time on Saturdays is limited to about 20 minutes. Of course it's not really true, but I think she'd rather have me on the bicycle. When I'm on a bicycle, I'm getting exercise and helping the environment. A motorcycle just burns fuel and tires. The latter is justifiable for commuting, not so much for weekend free time.

I've learned that if I use the motorcycle for a bicycle purpose, I can get out the door rather easily. Saturday the 4th was one of those days. The North Fork Chamber of Commerce had its 16th annual Grizzly Century bicycle ride. One hundred miles of some of the most beautiful Sierra Nevada scenery there is. It is an unbelievable bicycle ride that I've done a couple of times. I really think that the ride is one of the best in the State, due to the route, scenery and support. I was able to help them out with rider support (aka SAG) as I have in past years. Carry some water, spare tubes, a first-aid kit and strap a floor pump to the bike, then ride the course and help any riders who may need it.

Most of the SAG drivers drive a truck or car. I ride my motorcycle. In professional cycling events, particularly road racing like the Tour de France, motorcycles are everywhere. In recreational events, they're a rarity. A motorcycle has some serious advantages over a larger vehicle on this type of event. A motorcycle can cover more ground quicker, it can pull off the road in less space, and it needs less space to pass the cyclists, and it can get closer to the cyclists safer (if you need to talk to them) than a car. One big advantage a car has is the ability to carry a rider down the mountain if there is a mechanical failure or injury. For the most part though, most SAG drivers only help with flats, hand out water, and head back down at the end of the day without carrying a cyclist. Theoretically, this is the goal of EVERY organized bicycle ride; to get every cyclist home on their own power.