Freakbike Militia’s Choppernite 30

Dec. 15,2010, was the West Palm Beach Freakbike Militia Choppernite 30 holiday ride. Riders were asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Salvation Army. (I noticed a pretty big pile after the event was over.)

This has been an early winter for South Florida. We’ve already had at least two hard freezes. The temperature for the night of the ride was going to be around 50 degrees at the start, and dipping lower as the evening went on.

The nap magnet had captured me late in the afternoon. I was all snuggled up under warm blankets enjoying the sleep of someone who has a clear conscience when a phone call woke me up. I looked at the time and realized that I had a decision to make: blow off the ride and stay all toasty or try to find my bike stuff that was still scattered all over from my trip to Missouri.

Decorated bikes

When I got to the start of the ride at Southern and Flagler, I was glad I opted to ride. The wind was calm and it wasn’t as cold as I had feared. Seeing all the familiar faces and decorated bikes warmed my spirit, too.

Problems cleared up

I missed the June ride because of my high school class reunion, and we were in Missouri for my mother’s Birthday Season in October. The last Choppernite ride I was on was last year at this time and I raised some serious safety concerns.

I’m pleased to say that Wednesday night’s ride was a vast improvement over last year.

  • Most of the bikes had lights fore and aft. Those that didn’t were generally tucked securely in the group.
  • Helmet usage was up and the organizers encouraged their use.
  • Riders were more disciplined: they stayed within the lane and generally rode responsibly.
  • The “corkies,” riders who would block the intersections so the ride could go through as a group, were dressed with reflective vests and did a great job of engaging with the motorists. I heard several of them explaining what the ride was all about and thanking drivers for their patience. I didn’t hear any of the impatient horn honking that happened at last year’s Choppernite.

I did another holiday ride the next night. Look for those photos and videos in the next day or so.

Video of Choppernite 30

Other Freaknite events

Here are some links to other Freakbike events I’ve covered:

Summer of Love ride

Halloween Choppernite XXV

Friday the 13th Ride

First Aid, Freakbike Militia-style

Kenny Prather has a manly kickstand

December 2010 Bike Rides

This month has flashed by too fast. There are several rides coming up in the next few days that I don’t have a lot of information on, but I’ll try to cover the basics.

Freakbike Militia Choppernite 30 Toy Drive Dec. 15

Meet at the Greek Church near the corner of Southern Blvd. and S. Flagler Dr. at 7 p.m. Dec. 15. Ride starts at 7:30 SHARP, rain or shine. Headlights and taillights required, helmets encouraged (mandatory for those 15 and under). The ride generally passes through City Place, stops for some silly games at the Fountain on Clematis where the old library used to be, then returns to the Greek Church.

You’ll see bikes of every size, shape and description. Despite the name, it’s a family-friendly event. Speeds are a leisurely 10-12 mph.

Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Salvation Army. (Don’t worry about carrying it. Some of the folks ride cargo bikes with spare capacity.)

Bad news: temperature is predicted to be 50 degrees at 7 p.m.. Good news: winds are going to be light and no rain is expected.

Velo’s Cyclery First Annual Christmas Cruise Dec. 16

This is a new one for me (and a first, so, it’ll be new for everyone.) Here’s all I know about it from the Freakbike website:

Join us in our first annual Christmas light bicycle ride thru Lake Clark Shores. This will be with whatever bike you have, unicycle, your Miami sun trike, your best cruiser bike or even your full blown racing bike. Bring the kids out for this one, have them enjoy a great time on the bike with spectacular views of West Palm Beach best Light show in the world.

You are encouraged to add your own lights to your bike to add more bling and flavor to the ride. You can even dress like an Elf or even Santa Clause.

Date: Thursday December 16, 2010
Meeting location: Phipps Park 4715 S. Dixie Hwy. West Palm Beach, South of Southern on Dixie Hwy.
Time: 6:30pm Bring Lights and helmets.
Distance: 5 miles
Speed: as fast as a snail

[Note: the truck won’t be in the ride. It’s one Bro Mark shot in St. Louis a couple years ago.]

Palm Beach Gardens Kids Triathlon

Valerie, 274, finished the Gardens Kids Tri on "Old Blue"

Valerie, 274, finished the Gardens Kids Tri on "Old Blue"

Valerie, 274, finished her first triathlon on a bicycle more than twice her age. She competed in the Super Seniors division with a time of 36:05. She placed fifth on the swim, second on the bike and fourth in the run.

“Old Blue” is Her Bicycle, Not Her Hunting Dog

Her bike caught my eye. It looked old. Well maintained, but old. Suntour stem shifters pretty much gave away its age. It looks like a bike my father used to have right down to the lugs. Valerie’s father saw me looking at the bike. I told him it looked like a Windsor my father used to own. He said it was a Windsor and that it was a late-1970s or early 1980s model.

Four Riders, Three Triathletes: Bike Still Going Strong

Old Blue: Two Generations, Four CyclistsDad used the bike mostly for transportation. After years of riding, he left it in his parents garage for many years. When Valerie’s Mom decided to do the Disney Triathlon two years ago, he cleaned it up, got new hoops and she rode it well. The following year, Mom upgraded to a new Trek bicycle so a friend rode Old Blue at the Disney Triathlon. Today, it was Valerie’s turn to pilot Old Blue.

If It Rolls, It Races; If It Finishes, It’s a Win

Children's Quintana Roo with Zipp 404 Carbon Fiber WheelsValerie’s vintage Windsor wasn’t the only antique bike on the road. There were a number of 1980s-era bikes on the course this morning. It just goes to show that well cared for bike will outlast your car or your gym membership.

That’s not to say there weren’t any ringers in the group. I saw a pair of Zipp 404 wheels on a child-sized Quintana Roo. That’s a pricey ride for a kid that’ll probably grow out of it in just a couple years. You think buying sneakers and jeans are expensive? Try keeping up with a growing triathlete.

Everyone Who Entered Took Home a Medal

Entrant 104 With Participation Medal

Fuzzy Pom-Poms on Handlebars

Fuzzy Pom-Poms on Pink Bicycle

Special Messages From Parents

Quinn U Rock

Emma, We Love You! Keep your feet moving!

Race Cheering Section

Reily + Sabrina We Are So Proud of You

Another Vintage Bike: French Motobecane from the 1980s

Motobecane France Head Tube Badge

Great Bikes, Great Fun, Great Kids and Great Fans

If you ever want to watch a great race, please check out one of your local kids triathlons. I’ve volunteered for the Palm Beach Gardens Kids Triathlon twice as well as the North Palm Beach Kids Triathlon. Both times I’ve had a lot of fun. I doubt I’ll ever actually do a triathlon, but I love to watch the kids give it their best.


South Florida Bike Expo

I was originally signed up to be an exhibitor at the South Florida Bike Expo, but when an email came from the promoter saying that they were juggling space to handle additional folks, I volunteered to give up my booth.

Wall to wall bicycles

After all, I don’t have anything to sell. I don’t lead tours, so what you read here is what you get. That decision worked out well, because it freed me up to wander around shooting the other booths and get a feel for the event.

South Florida Expo open Sunday, July 18

If you missed Saturday’s show, you’ll have another shot Sunday, July 18, between 9 A.M. and 6 P.M. Admission is free, but you will have to pay for parking at Ft. Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium. You can get directions and all the info at the South Florida Bike Expo website.

Charity Rides

There are lots of exhibitors who will sign you up for charity rides.

Bicycle Advocacy community represented

The South Florida Bike Coalition, League of American Cyclists, the Florida Bicycle Association and others who lobby for our right to be on the road were there.

Gallery of photos from the South Florida Bike Expo

Click on any image to make it larger.

Frank Stark Ride & South FLA Bike Expo

This is going to be a busy weekend. The annual Frank Stark Ride will be held in Boca Sunday, July 18, starting at 7 A.M.

Video of last year’s Frank Stark Ride

The Boca Raton Bicycle Club folks want me to emphasize that the rider who was involved in the crash at the end of the video was NOT part of the Frank Stark Ride.

My feeling is that he wasn’t part of the ride, but he was in the midst of riders who WERE and it was the luck of the draw that an elderly rider turned in front of him instead of someone else. Just because you are part of an organized ride doesn’t mean that bad things can’t happen. Y’all be careful out there.

You KNOW you’re in Boca when they offer iced towels

Here are more pictures from last year’s Frank Stark Ride.

South Florida Bike Expo in Ft. Lauderdale

The South Florida Bike Expo will be held in Ft. Lauderdale’s War Memorial Auditorium Saturday July 17 from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. and Sunday from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. Admission is free.

The event is billed as the largest expo and sale of bicycles and bike accessories in South Florida’s history. We’re going to be there, so stop by and put a face to the name.