Exploring our City on Two Wheels Last Weekend

November 16, 2014 By Tom

boss man Nathan giving pre-ride instructions before we started

Last weekend I was finally in town for the annual Cranksgiving bike ride put on by my friend and professional counterpart, Nathan Smurden, from Active Indy Tours.

It was somewhat of a last second thing because it snuck up on me with the crazy schedule I’ve been working. Nathan asked if I was riding and if I could wear the GoPro camera for the event. I talked to my Nine13 teammate and she was doing it with a few other folks from one of the local breweries and she invited me to tag along.

The whole concept of Cranksgiving is to support a local food pantry, Second Helpings in this case, and do it by riding your bike to a variety of different grocery stores/community sites across the city. We were told it would be 10-15 miles of riding and would take a couple of hours with the always appropriate post ride beer taking place at City Market that afternoon.

So, we set off. If I had foresight (I don’t) I would have mapped out the route before we showed up. If I had been thinking (I wasn’t) I would have made sure my phone had a full charge before using its GPS for a whole day. I had a cup of coffee and a tailgate beer in me before 9AM and that was about the extent of the ride preparation I had for this adventure.

using my freakishly long arms for a 4 person selfie

We figured out the best route from the first grocery store to the urban farm and onto the next store. We stocked our bags and backpacks with the supplies we were asked to buy, I had a gigantic piece of kale riding shotgun in my bike bag (and was mocked for having “my kale showing” throughout the next 10 miles). We explored the city on two wheels and used routes I’ve ridden many times before and new routes I’ve never experienced.

It was the routes I’ve never seen before that made the ride so memorable. I’m occasionally arrogant and think I know everything there is to know about Indy. I act like an old hen who has seen everything there is to see and knows where I love to spend my time. I’ve got my favorite trails to run, best places to eat, unforgettable roads to ride and places to sit and think.

the very north end of the trail, my phone was quickly dying at this point which was a bummer as the trail got even cooler the further south we went

I was wrong and was humbled by it. I found myself riding along the White River on a trail I’ve never been on before, from IUPUI all the way down to Raymond Street. In some ways I was truly annoyed as I pedaled and thought “how the hell is all this awesomeness down here and I’ve never run it? ridden on it? brought a date out for a walk after a night on the town?”

The day was full of lots of laughter, an incredibly long route we wound up taking, 18 miles on the beer bike (the most I’ve ridden that bike in one ride) and general shenanigans on a Saturday morning…but mostly, learning about things in this city I never knew existed before. There’s always hidden beauty in this city and I had gotten comfortable with what I knew about this city and the things within it without pushing boundaries to learn what else is here. It challenged me to get out and explore things, young and old, that I’ve missed, never learned about, or simply was oblivious to.

Sometimes even I forget what a powerful tool the bicycle can be to learn more about not only yourself, but your surroundings.