photos by Ira Ryan
An early morning ride on a Sunday is a great way to start the day, or end the weekend depending on how you look at it. This past weekend, with the help of Joel and Donna from Carytown Bicycle Company, we got to do just that. The twenty-ish mile looping route took us through the back streets of Richmond, Virginia, down next to the James River and then popped us out to the top of the cobbled climb that was near the finish of the U.S. Open Cycling Championships a couple of years ago. Remember the one that Svein Tuft won? Reports of the number of people on this ride ranged from 50-80, depending on who you ask.
Despite the early start time a large number of people showed up to partake in a viewing of Richmond atop the bicycle. The brisk weather made for a jaunty pace from the onset, but not so fast that people were not able to chat with one another. Or for Chris Distefano to point out a few stones lining the road know as Memory Lane This is one of the only moments all weekend when it was possible to relax, if even for a few moments. I got to catch up with Jon from Moots about our upcoming collaboration for the most recent addition to our Rapha Continental family. And I did not realize it at the time, but Jon was also the one who took the win at Cross Vegas in the Industry Cup, beating some of the best racers from within the cycling industry in the world. He was also riding a Moots Cross bike with filetread tires on Sunday, so you know that guy is serious.
Also, this was the only time that Mike Spriggs (Gage&Desoto and I were able to catch up and catch up we did. He was riding his vintage De Rosa. And we got to talking about the show, publications and even riding in Belgium this time of year. I was saddened earlier in the weekend when I realized that Mike’s counterpart on (Cassette, Kaiko, did not make it to Richmond. I was hoping to show off the new Women’s line to her. She has done nothing but hound me for Women’s specific clothing over the course of the past year or so and we had the entire line of Women’s clothing on hand to show off. Alas, next time.
Chris Igleheart is one of the framebuilders that I know is always going to turn up at these events. Whenever there is a ride happening, he will be there. Mr. Igleheart is also one of the the builders that we have associated with for our Continental project, he made two bikes actually —one for Dan Action and one for Sam Richardson — and if there is one thing that I know will bring Chris out of the garage it is a good bicycle ride. Earlier this year he visited Portland to participate in the Oregon Manifest show and of course the Constructors Challenge. It is great to see a guy like Chris getting out to everything that he can. After more than 25 years in the business (building for Fat City Cycles, Rhygin, and now Igleheart Custom Cycles) I love, love, love the fact that he is one of these builders.
The ride ended just in time for the exhibitors like Pete Smith from Mad Alchemy Embrocations and Slate and Carey to head back into the show, but there was one more thing that we needed to check off our list before we put down the bike for the day. I do not know if it was Whit Yost (Pavé) who put this last little section together, but in the weeks leading up to the ride I kept on harassing him to find us some actual pavé to ride on throughout our route. What I did not realize until I was actually on top of the stones was that this spot has some significance in American Cycling, even if it was fairly recent.
Jon Woodroof (TwoTone from Atlanta was there as well and had great things to say about the head to toe Rapha that he was rocking (looking good my friend) but also about his Kanzane road bike that was making its maiden voyage on this ride. Jon spent the majority of the ride on the front until he and Tony Pereira floated up and away on the cobbles to sprint it out for the “win” at the top of the climb. No word yet on who actually won.
There were no incidents on the ride either, which is something that one always worries about when riding in a new city. The people that showed up were amazing and the town more than accommodating to cyclists. Which, was maybe because we did not actually see any vehicular traffic at all. But on the other hand the warm reception that seems to follow the NAHBS wherever it goes continues again this year with Richmond.