Sunday, July 12, 2009

Midnight Cave Ride recap

A.k.a. Slippery When Wet

CC Attribution: Bikes Are Slippery When Wet by Jim Carson

I was looking over my bike last night in preparation for the ride and saw that my bike computer read 11:08 already. I had been dealing with a problem at work (I'm the primary on call for my security group) and I must have lost track of time. So much for arriving at 11:15, or 11:30 for that matter, without hammering it.

This was the first time I've really had my Blackburn Flea out on truly dark stretches of road before. I must say that for a relatively wimpy 40 lumens, the strobe mode is certainly eye-catching and illuminated reflective signs very far away.

When I got to Merriam Marketplace, it was only 11:03. Then I realized that I was looking at my odometer earlier, which I intend to reset monthly, but often forget.

A few minutes later, "Wildcat" Al showed up.

And then Badger and his wife... This is one of the color schemes offered on the 2009 Trek 2.3 WSD. I like it. A LOT. And it comes close to matching Badger's Sea-foam-green Rivendell Atlantis.

Drew and his friends showed up via Turkey Creek Trail.

Lots of mingling was going on by 11:40 or so.

Mark Rainey's Trucker. This is how his kick-stand works.

And you also have to love the headset bottle opener.

Warren, (who's been podcasting Bicycle Commuting In The News at was adamant that I called this the Un-Lenexa Midnight Ride yet still wore his Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride shirt? Iiiiiiiinteresting :)

Eric is a relatively new bike commuter who's heeding my advice to stick to a mountain bike on this ride. He recently scored a nice Technium on Craigslist. Like Jason and I, Eric does InfoSec work. I know of one other infosec bicycle commuter in town, too, but he doesn't have a website.

At Midnight, I gave a little talk. The typical "Two abreast. We stay together and re-group. Try not to break too many traffic laws. I hope you got lights and helmets." Schtick. Then we rolled out. By my count, we had a total of 25 riders. It was at least that many, but I could have missed a few. Some joined us part-way through the route.

Our first re-group was at the new gas station near Roe and Southwest Blvd. The traffic light split our group.

Sorry for the blur. This was taken at the entrance to the cave. Seeing the faint shimmer of moisture on the slope, I gave a warning for people to be mindful of their speed and to try to stay away from using their front brake if possible. (Braking with the front on slick surfaces can lock the wheel up easier and cause a problem)

There were two decent wipe-outs coming down the hill to the cave. It's been slicker than it was last night, but it was still a bit challenging. One group bit it at the bottom of the hill while a few others wiped out half way down. Everyone was okay, save for a few scrapes. We all got our selves together and continued the route through the cave.

Most of us walked our bikes out of the cave. Good Call.

Return Trip: We got split up at Southwest Boulevard and Rainbow. Only a few of us made it through the light. This was the rest of the group:

C'Dude, Warren and his son Peter

Riding through Rosedale:

Back at the Marketplace, cDude shows his battle scars (he got taken out by a wipeout in front of him)

Reed is huge on Twitter.

After we got back, some of us went to Denny's for some post-ride carbs. Mark and Nancy locking up.

When you go to Denny's (or pretty much anywhere open 24 Hours) at 2:00 in the morning, you never know who you'll run into. This couple wanted me to take their picture, too. I gladly obliged and handed him one of my cards. The Cigarette was just for show -- he whipped it out for the photo. I thought it was funny. Nice to meet you!

With that, there was much pigging out and discussion.

And looky what we have here! We got a ride report from this family about the official Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride. The official word: Lenexa PD says Midnight is too dangerous. The '07 and '08 rides both had something interesting happen with things NOT related to the ride that could have put the riders in jeopardy. One year, a search party was looking for an escapee in the area. The next year, a high-speed chase on Renner bisected the ride when police were forced to shut down the intersection for a few minutes. The word is that Lenexa is looking at moving this to an early morning ride -- say 6:00 AM or so (that's early?!) and returning to the cave route. That might be acceptable.

Again, big thanks for all who came out, spread the word, and had a good time!


Warren T said...

Noah, thanks again for putting this together. You did an awesome job as the leader.

I wore the shirt as a protest against the Lenexa ride (and because the K-State bike jersey I wanted to wear was black and purple ... not a great idea when it's dark out).

Peter and I had a blast and hope you decided to do something similar next year. Regardless, I gonna have to make one of the dark rides.

Thanks again, and well done.

Chris said...

It was an AWESOME ride and Sandy's first ever dark side ride. I think you may have her hooked! The caves were creepy smelly like some rotting corpse out of a Scooby Doo cartoon; the crashes more like the keystone cops...FUN!

Anonymous said...

Hey Noah,

Love the blog. Was in KC kinda randomly this weekend and wanted to come out to your ride. I thought I remember you recommending a mountain bike, so I backed out since I'm not fond of riding my sloshly MTB on roads.

So... next year, road bike (700x25) ok, or not so much? Do whatever at your own risk? Could I swing this ride on a singlespeed if I'm pretty fit?

Props for what you're doing for the cycling community. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Between the cancellation of the Lenexa/Shawnee fireworks, the neutering of the Tour de Shawnee, and the now crappy Midnight Bike Ride, that part of JoCo is starting to suck like Missouri now.

Anonymous said...

Good job. I need something similar in the north Jersey area. Nice pictures too!

TG said...

Thanks for the ride, it was fun and had a different feel than the last couple Lenexa ones.

Robert said...

This looks awesome, being from Wichita and fairly new to the scene I haven't seen much of anything like this going on.I must say I am jealous since I prefer riding at night. How far do you guys ride and is it come one come all, I might actually make the drive to KC to be a part of the fun.

Apertome said...

Looks like it was a fun, unique ride. Good job organizing it.

Nancy said...

Thanks for the ride Noah! We had a super-swell time. We'll definitely be on-board for any future night rides. We had a blast going home down Antioch from Denny's with zero cars. An easy cut through Antioch park, on to 67th, up Roe (again, zero traffic) and we were home. I must admit it was a bit tough tho being full of French Slam and my awesome fruit juice explosion drink.

Note: I rode a road bike with nearly slick tires and did fine in the caves. You just have to be super duper careful.

Ed Stockwell said...

Noah, thanks for organizing the ride. My coworker Ryan and I came out and had a great time.

Reed Porter said...

Hey Noah
Thanks for the wonderful ride! If you thought I was slow up the hills, be glad I was nearly a stone lighter Saturday than I was a month ago! Posted the video on YouTube under my account: ReedRacer. Can't post the URL as the 'Tube be blocked here at 10th and Oak.

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