Another Group ride with Ciclistas Urbanos

I have been falling behind on my November 225 mile challenge so I figured the ride that Cyclistas Urbanos was doing was a good way to pack in some miles in one day. I contemplated on riding my bike to Edinburg as a way to pretty much double my miles but I decided against it. Perhaps another day.

Today’s ride takes us to the Farmer’s Market at the Alhambra in downtown McAllen followed by a trip to Marco’s Burgers and Fries in Mission (Sharyland). Afterwards, a stop a Bike Masters for eye candy before heading back to Edinburg. Usually, we ride on out from El Patio Cafe at 8 am but this time we pushed it back an hour and took off at 9 am.

Ciclistas Urbanos had a good turn out for this ride as the suspected reason was to try Marco’s Burgers. Today’s gathering turned out to be thirteen cyclists of all skill levels. Despite the wind gusts, the ride to McAllen was fun as you can hear the chatter of people talking and good spirits over coming the strong wind. As with all good group rides, you go as fast as the slowest cyclist. The pace was at about 8 mph with a stiff wind in our face. There was some seperation between the front and the back of the group so we waited for them at one of the corners. I took this opportunity to snap a pic of them riding.

The first stop was a quick breather at the community garden in McAllen. I had no idea this had existed until now. Next to a fire substation, the garden is thriving with a variety of plants and vegetables. The garden is well maintained and is completely hidden from the street. Very nice. As far as I know, there are no community gardens in the Mission area where I live.

Working our way through downtown McAllen’s busy streets, we arrive at the Farmer’s market at Alhambra. This was also my first visit to the market. Walking in you are greeted with many local farmers and distributors promoting their wares. Anything from organic vegetables to grass feed lamb chops. I bought some delicious Orange Blossom Honey and some Walnuts. That honey is going be great with my Peanut Butter sandwiches! Lots of open space with a large enclosed room for beverages. A juicer was on hand to create fruit juices of your choosing. I tried out a Watermelon and Cantaloupe drink. Very delicious and refreshing!

After mingling and purchasing a few items we mounted the bikes and headed out for lunch in the Sharyland at Marco’s Burgers. It was only a four mile ride to the burger joint and more chatter was present during the ride. I believe it was due to the wind being on our backs giving us a good push. Nothing like a free ride.

Marco’s Burgers was a great stop for some good burgers, converse and an opportunity to replenish expended calories. After a while we got on the bikes for the short hop over to Bike Masters bicycle shop.

Bike Masters  was only one block away from Marco’s Burgers. After parking the bikes we went in to look around. Wow! they had a lot of bikes and tons of accessories to look at! The owner of the shop came out to greet us and show us around. He gave us a quick demo of carbon bikes that Trek are making and how they are made. Very interesting on how the bikes are made. The parts of the frame are extremely lightweight and strong!

Refreshments as well as patch kits were passed out to us as we mingled and looked around. One of us even found a bike they are interested at purchasing and will come back for a second look. Many road and mountain bikes and a few urban bikes to look at as well as a large selection of accessories and parts. The staff was nice, friendly and helpful. This was certainly a good stop and appreciate their hospitality.

After the stop we headed on back to Edinburg using a new route. Actually there were two different routes back that we could have chosen from. A few took one route while the majority took the route that went around McAllen. The wind was on our backs and there was only one mechanical problem that was quickly fixed.

We rolled back to the El Patio at about 4 pm on what was a good long ride. For some it was the longest ride that have cycled but they made it. Memories to file in our memory banks for later retrieval. Overall the pace was at 8 mph, slower than I would like to have ridden, but we did have someone who had their personal best for distance. That’s awesome!

Now I need to ride on Sunday to catch up for the week, but after the Cowboy game.

How far do you ride in a week?

I like to cycle and in this Fall weather, in the Rio Grande Valley, it is super nice. While out cycling one day, I got curious as to how far other cyclists ride in one week on average. I usually try to put in 50+ miles per week and 5 hours of saddle time. I want to do more, but time does not always permit it. To some that’s peanuts and other that’s a whistle blow. It’s all relative. Check out the Poll Question at the right sidebar and plug-in your answer. I’m curious …

More Valley cyclists killed on the road

Our local news station reported that three cyclist were hit by a car trying to pass another vehicle. Two of the three were killed while the third clings to life at the hospital. You can read the news of it here.

This goes to show that the Valley is not immune to these types of events. Everyone that rides a bike needs to be aware of their surroundings at ALL times and not let your guard down. If you ride at night then being seen is essential, use your lights in front and in the back. They are a cheap, inexpensive way to make yourself visible to others.

I always ride with a mirror attached to my glasses and I feel uncomfortable if I start to ride without one. Sometimes when I ride at night I put on some reflector straps to my ankles in addition to the use of front and rear lights. While approaching an intersection I place my hands on the brakes and look at the drivers at the intersection. These are some of the things I do to mitigate the chances of getting into an accident, while I’m out riding my bike. Do I have lapses and forget to slowdown at intersections or forget to check the mirror, yes I do. But it is at those times that I remember that increased vigilance on my practices is called for. I wear my Road ID, but I hope I’m never get in a situation were it needs to be used.

Stay vigilant, stay safe, have fun riding.