Monday, August 10, 2015

Vintage Bikes and Bison Burgers

The second weekend in August Velo Junkie and I do an 84 mile round trip to get a Shewman at Scotty’s Brewpub in Muncie, IN. What is a Shewman you ask? A Shewman is the best bison burger on this planet. It is well worth riding 42 miles one way by bicycle to enjoy with your favorite craft beer, brought to you by Three Wise Men brewing.

The burger. ½ lb. bison burger topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapeno slices, and - wait for it – Peanut Butter. The peanut butter melts into a smooth sauce. Nothing satisfies a hungry cyclist better than a Shewman.

This year the rest of the tour left us laughing and scratching our helmets a little.

We decided to ride our vintage Mercian bikes. Mine is the Red Stada Speciale. Velo Junkie’s is the Purple Vincitore Special with the barber pole. Both were built in Derbyshire in the 80s. Therein lies one of the peculiarities of the tour and the root of some memorable matters. The old gentlemen are a pleasure to travel with but can be somewhat ornery. 
Our adventure was almost entirely on the Cardinal Greenway Trail, a successful, 60 mile rails-to-trails endeavor that stretches from Richmond to Marion, IN. We stopped in Muncie for lunch, which is about 42 miles from Richmond. After lunch we headed back for the 84 mile round trip. 

Did I mention the trail is surrounded by corn? As a matter of fact, people in Indiana really like their corn. There is the occasional bean farm for as far as the eyes can see, and one pig farm, but, by and large, it is corn. I wore my jersey from RAGBRAI 2014 to see if I could blend in. Can you see me?

We made it past the corporation line of Muncie only to pick up an ambulance on our tail. No matter how far we got to the right it would not pass us. Even when we turned corners, it stuck with us. We were getting a little worried that maybe we looked so haggard the driver thought he had to pick us up. Thank goodness Scotty’s was close.

After our fantastic lunch, did I mention the Shewman? OK, just checking. With our appetites satiated we headed back towards Richmond. The roads in Muncie were quite like a mine field and poor Velo took a crater a little too hard. His seat fell to the frame and he resembled the County Bear Jamboree (his words). 

Remember those gentlemanly vintage bikes. Their age proved to be significant when we couldn’t find a wrench to fit the nut to tighten the seat clamp. Velo was able to pull the seat up to where the frame was tight around it and it stayed put for a while. At that point his goal was to get to the Dollar General about 20 miles from Muncie, hoping they might have the British sized Allen wrenches. He took off without looking back, leaving me to keep up.

Now, my idea of a fun tour is to stop every ten to twelve miles for a drink and a stretch. After fifteen miles of pedaling full throttle I finally insisted we stop to take a break. Remember this is almost sixty miles into the day. I told Velo that I needed to stop to stretch the tight parts and put the loose parts back together. Neck and shoulders were stiffening while the lower extremities felt like noodle-knees.

And, alas, no wrenches at Dollar General. He twisted the seat into place again and off we went, luckily, to have no more issues with the seat. Your thinking we were in the clear now, right? Nope. About a mile from the finish line I, the Reluctant Cyclist, got a flat tire.

There was new blacktop on one of the roads we crossed and there must have been some debris from the equipment. I picked up a shard and my tire just whistled. I tried to let Velo know, but he was headed for the car and oblivious to my cries for help. Actually, I was rather relieved to get out of the saddle, but my noodle-knees made the going rather slow. When Velo finally came back to see what happened and offer to change the tire I refused. I could walk out one mile just fine.

And so it is, the fourth annual Richmond to Muncie tour via the Cardinal Greenway is behind us. Mark your calendars to join us next year on the second Sunday in August.

#cardinalgreenway #mercian #thereluctantcyclist #velojunkie #scotysbrewhouse

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