“All Weather is Good Weather”
If you have ever been on a group ride or some charity ride in Southeastern Wisconsin, you’ve probably seen one of these jerseys:
The Spokesmen are a loosely organized group of riders from (wait for it…) Wauwatosa who get together just about every day, 365 days a year, to ride their bikes. They are professionals: engineers, doctors, sales guys, etc. who have families and lives and just cherish getting away for an hour or two on the bike with a handful of friends.
I was invited to join them for a ride exactly a year ago today, so I thought it was fitting to show them a little love. In our small world of avid cyclists, word of rides and riders somehow gets around. Brien Christopherson joined me last year on the Networking ride that I organize and in turn invited me to join him and the Spokesmen for a ride some Fall morning.
I showed up at 5:45am with no lights, in my 20-year-old Bellweather winter gear, ready to rock. I think we did a hilly “Tour of Tosa” my first ride, and I was instantly hooked. I could show up just about any day of the week, in any weather, and be guaranteed anywhere from 1 to 20 riding partners for a spin before work. And just like that, I was in.
Next came the “Puker“, a weekly event that combines climbing a 3 block long hill with climbing a 3 block long hill again, and then climbing a 3 block long hill… My first attempt was less than stellar. But the beauty of the Spokesmen is that every ability level on the scale is represented. There’s always someone slower than you, but there’s always someone faster too. Over time, the Puker has become my favorite ride – hands down. It has made me a much stronger climber, and I look forward to hot laps every Thursday morning now.
For the past 3 years since getting back into cycling, (and really for the past 40 years) I had been hanging up my cleats shortly after Halloween. I honestly couldn’t remember when I had ridden in Winter last, but it might have involved a BMX bike with Tuff Wheels… The Spokesmen don’t all ride every day, or in any weather, but at least one of them does – which is the sheer beauty of this group of friends. All cyclists are warmly accepted, as long as you like to ride and maybe enjoy a beer or two (and not necessarily in that order). Some guys ride daily, year round. Others just hop on for the occasional weekend ride. But they all ride. Some mornings we talk about bikes, some mornings we talk about work and some mornings we don’t talk at all – everyone just gets lost in the ride.
So in addition to some new Winter gear, there’s a Spokesmen jersey on my Santa list this year.