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So, after work, I did my usual thing of heading down to Westport to meet up with the folks I go riding with on Wednesday nights. Since the weather’s been so crazy hot, the last few times, the group has been small–in some cases, just the ride leader and me.

So I show up, and there’s a guy I didn’t know, and nobody else. We introduce ourselves and determine that we’re both there for the same purpose. It’s coming close on the time the ride usually takes off, and nobody else shows up. Not the ride leader, not any of the other usual riders…nobody, nothing. I’ve been riding with this group since the end of May, and the one time the leader had to cancel, he called me in the afternoon to let me know, and after another night, when I got separated from the group, he called me the next day to be sure I got home okay. So basically, this guy’s generally a good communicator.

So, the guy, whom I’ll refer to as Pete for sake of simplicity and I confer. “Well, I’m here to ride,” I said. He said he was, too, so we decided what the hell, we’d go riding. For whatever reason, I decided to take the initiative and set the course, such as it was. I asked him if he’d been on the Cliff Drive course since they’ve re-paved it, and he hadn’t so we made our way downtown to check it out. I got into my instinctual commuter mode, and took him on my old route downtown via Gillham Rd. He’d never been that far on Gillham, and found it scenic. I also showed him one of the inner-city re-hydrating spots, the drinking fountains in Ilus Davis Park. Then, we headed out on 12th St., caught Paseo, and made our way into Kessler Park. Turns out there’s going to be a race around the Cliff Drive course this weekend, so Pete said he reckoned it would be a good training ride.

I may check out the race. $15 entry fee, open to all comers. It’s practically right in the neighborhood, so why the heck not? Pete said he thought I’d do pretty well in the beginner’s class, and I’ve been thinking about dabbling in racing. There’s nothing to lose other than $15 and the race. *shrug*

After we cruised Cliff Drive, we ended up out on Gladstone, as one does, so we took Gladstone Blvd. east until we hit Indian Mound, then worked our way westward again, kind of just toodling around, looking at all the crazy old Victorian mansions and stuff. I asked him if he’d ever gone on Benton Blvd to look at the old houses there, and he said he hadn’t, so we looped back eastward again, caught Benton a block south of Independence, and took Benton on down to where it hits Swope Parkway. At Swope, I left him to work his way home (apparently, we were pretty close to where he stays by that point) and I took Benton and Walrond back to Truman, stopped at the Phillips 66 on Truman for more water and a granola bar, then took my sweaty ass home for a big, fat burrito.

I think if this happens again next week, I’m going to ask Pete to show me his favorite cycling haunts, since I have showed him some of my fave routes. In fact, if I make it to that race on Saturday, I may see about exchanging contact information with this dude, because I had a hella fun time riding with him. We have similar riding styles (moderatly fast pace, hills okay, not opposed to reasonably mellow cruising and chatting, but still fond of the occasional sprint or spate of haul-ass) and were riding damn near the same bike. Seriously, he rides a Burley Fox Hollow” and I ride a Burley McKenzie. Basically, my bike is the girls’ version of his, but with slightly less fancy-pantsy components. Crazy I should meet up with another Burley rider–they are not really that common of bikes.

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