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Christmas Lights Ride - Loop 1

Written by Michael Heyes
 
I haven't ridden the Christmas Lights Ride in a while, and didn't have any plans to do so this year, until Mona Will started talking up the ride on our Facebook page. So I made a last minute executive decision to ride.
 
First I had to get the mountain bike down and pump up the absolutely flat tires. Then I added some lights front and rear. The front light was more decoration than effective lighting, held in place with black electrical tape. The rear light ended up pointed more towards the International Space Station than I would have liked, but it was mounted and visible to those behind me. The brakes barely work, and the shifting... Well, shifting involves getting the chain on the big ring somehow and shifting the rear derailleur from one of two working selections. I ride this bike maybe twice a year so who cares. Obviously I don't. And it's fine for this ride.
luis and phil
 
Then I laid out all the clothing I'd need on the bed. Everything was fine with that until at 5:15 when I tried to pull my shoe covers over my MTB shoes. Nope. No chance. The covers fit my Sidi's just fine, but those knobby treaded MTB shoes, no way. Uh-uh. So I went for the baggies ( old-school ). Nope, no baggies either. But there was some Glad Cling-Wrap, so that's what I used. Hey, it worked. Sorta.
 
ride pre-start
 
I put the bike in the car and headed down to Lawton Park. There was a pretty good turnout of about 30 or so riders, including the usual suspects Mona, Luis, ex-Kmart Dave, Up-Right Jeff, who isn't upright anymore and just rolled over 10,000 miles on his bike, Robin Mitchell,  long time member Tim Ellsworth, and our master of ceremonies Phil Snider. I didn't know the others but I suspect they were part of Phil usual urban riding crew. I expected that my toes would be good for just the first loop and not the trip to Franke, and Phil said he would make sure that we all ended up close to the park before heading up to Franke Park, the light show up there, and the warm up at Summit City that was part of Loop 2.
 
riding toward the lights
 
Loop 1 had a lot lights and displays to see, including the wall of lights on the Perfection Bakery plant ( the bakery smelled SOOO good ), the Santa and reindeer display, the west wall of the Embassy theater with the moving displays, and of course the ride up the parking garage. I haven't ridden that much lately, so I was really glad to see the top of the garage. From there you have a great view of the cityscape and even more lights, including the wreath on the I & M building. 
 
ugly sweater runners
 
And we got to see the staging area for J.K. O'Donnell's “elves wearing ugly sweaters” running race. There were probably about 30 of them as well. We headed back down the parking garage and waited for a few minutes at the corner of Washington and Calhoun, but they weren't in any hurry to start, so we pushed on. We did see them again on the way back to Lawton, near the viaduct though. Much screaming and hollering from both groups ensued. Good stuff.
 
After around about an hour or so we got to the split for Loop 2 so I headed back to Lawton Park with five or six others. My toes were pretty cold by then so the timing was good. And, by the time I got home supper was just being served. 

santa

Thanks to Phil Snider for organizing and directing another fine Christmas Lights Ride! Who knows, I may be there next year. Just look for me on the 20+ year old shock-less mountain bike with a front light mounted with electrical tape and a rear light pointed toward Polaris.  No, the bike is perfect as is. I won't change a thing. Did I mention that I still have the original 20+ year old tires on it?