I am a big fan of food-based bicycle rides. Maybe it’s because I have fond childhood memories of biking to Lakeside Farms for apple cider donuts or along the Lake George bike trail for ice cream. Or maybe it’s because they combine two of my favorite things. Either way, the Tour de Cookie, which features 7 to 11 different cookie stands, depending on the route, is close to my ideal ride. Plus, it benefits a local group that connects abused and neglected children with needed services. Yummy desserts, biking and benefiting a good cause? A few months ago, I said, “Count me in yet again for this year!” Plus, I wasn’t the ride alone – my parents traveled down from upstate New York and I would be dragging Sprout in the bike trailer.
While I had done the Tour de Cookie previously, I was slightly nervous about my readiness level. While I was seven months pregnant the last time I did it, I wasn’t dragging a trailer with a nearly 30 pound kid. Even though I ride every day now, it’s only a mile each way to the Metro without kid-towing duties. In contrast, the Tour de Cookie is 12 miles, plus another four miles from my house to the starting line and back, for a total of 20. In addition to my own capacity, I was also a little paranoid about whether or not Sprout would be okay being in the trailer for that long. Sure, he loved the ride a few weeks back, but that was only 3 miles with a break in the middle. At least I wasn’t signed up for the 40 mile long route!
One executive decision that helped both of us was the choice for Chris to drive Sprout to the start and then home again after the ride. I still needed to drag the trailer those 8 miles, but it was around 30 pounds lighter. In addition, the section we rode back and forth on is bumpy and a glorified sidewalk at best, so I was very glad he wasn’t present.
Being a bike advocate for the Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee, I couldn’t resist (or maybe get out of) volunteering in some way. Thankfully, I got the simplest job we had – the person pointing the way and cheering for people starting the ride.
From my viewpoint, I had a great perspective on the diversity of participating riders. The Washington Area Bicyclists’ Association’s Women and Bicycles group had a great turnout, with a bunch of women clad in their distinctive teal jerseys. I nearly yelped when I saw three people riding a triple tandem bicycle, something I didn’t even think existed. The family biking contingent was in full force, with tons of parents with trailers and kids on their own bikes for the short route. I wish I had Rockville Kidical Mass business cards to hand out.
My location also made a perfect meeting space. Earlier that morning, fellow blogger John (also known as Rootchopper) at a Few Spokes Shy of a Wheel tweeted that he was at the registration desk and – knowing I was going to be riding – was looking for me. A few tweets later, he walked up and introduced himself in person! Right off, he said, “I love your blog.” As I don’t have very many readers, it warmed my heart to know at least one fan (who isn’t my mom) truly enjoys it. (Plus, he said my kid is cute, so super bonus points there.) Because we’re bloggers, we obviously took a selfie. I was rocking the sweet neon ride marshall vest.
Once I made sure everyone knew where they were going and had been thoroughly cheered, it was time for our merry band to take off. Sprout tried to climb in the trailer without prompting and didn’t even fuss with his “bike hat.” My parents followed me like the world’s slowest peloton as we rode to the first stop at Thomas Farm Community Center. Even though it was first, it was probably my favorite cookie stop across the entire seven-stop ride. The Girl Scout troop running it made homemade versions of beloved Girl Scout cookies, including Tagalongs and Thin Mints. I tried to share a peanut butter one with Sprout, who wasn’t the most cooperative. At first, he only wanted the big piece. Then, once he accepted the smaller one, he just walked around holding it without even trying to eat it. The thought patterns of an almost two-year old continue to elude me.
The rest of the ride was a pleasant ramble around Rockville’s Millennium Trail, a bicycle beltway around the city. We got stuck behind a very large group of adults and kids who were far less familiar with the best practices of group riding (like passing on the left or riding in a line) than we would have preferred. That’s rather inevitable with a short, family-friendly ride like this though. My mom – who is used to a much quicker pace – said it was the most relaxed ride she had ever been on. Of course, she’s never been on one of our Kidical Mass rides! Sprout only whined twice, both times because his helmet fell in front of his eyes. Understandable, and a quick fix. He seemed to enjoy the whole thing, especially our second major stop, where he gobbled down a chocolate-heavy granola bar he shared with my mom. Multi-generational family cycling at its best. I enjoyed that stop too, as it was at the top of the biggest hill on the ride. Eventually, the movement of the trailer lulled him to sleep and he was snoozing by the finish line.
From cheering others on to the delicious cookies throughout the route, the Tour de Cookie was a great celebration of and for our local cycling community.