Kansas City Meet Up, Day 3: Fountain Tour by Bicycle

Kansas City Travel Blog

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Me and my rental bike

When I decided to go to the KC Meet Up, I contacted James and Mark to see if they were aware of any biking activities in the area that might be available to us.  I love to bike and have found that it is a great way to really see a place.  You get a feel for the neighborhoods, the people and really see a lot more of the area.  Not being biking types, James and Mark had no ideas for me.  I turned to trusty old Google, and found an organized ride complete with sag and sweep support (that is, someone in a vehicle that follows along at the end of the riders group to be sure no one is left behind, helps to fix flats, gives a ride to those who are worn out or injured, etc.) and food.  It was to occur on Sunday and was perfect as there were no TB activities set up for that day.

Biking Group at the Eagle Scout Fountain
  I also found a place in Kansas City that would rent bikes to those who needed one, so it seemed to be falling together nicely.  Next, I posted the information on the ride possibilities on the TB message thread about the KC Meet Up hoping I could entice others to join me.

My posting for other riders got me a lot of humorous responses, particularly since the ride out Sunday morning was at 7:30 am!  I did get two intrepid souls that signed up to ride with me -- Shawn (geerbox) and Eric (yekoh).  Shawn was pretty funny about it -- he said that he had not ridden a bike in several years, and had never gone farther than 7 miles.  The ride I found was a 20 miler.

Tim & Shawn at JC Nichols Fountain
  In the end it was just Shawn and me on the ride -- Eric decided to forego this one so he could party a little longer on Saturday night and be rested enough for his drive to Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

Shawn and I met up at 7am for a quick light breakfast at our hotel, and then rode our bikes over to Third and Grand where we had to register and start the ride.  The ride over to the starting point was about a mile from our hotel and was a nice warm up for us.  I pulled my camera out to get some pictures of us at the start up, and then remembered I had left my battery in the charger back at the hotel!  So, all the pictures here are courtesy of Shawn and his camera.  Thanks Shawn!

The ride was billed as the Great Kansas City Fountain Tour, and was led by the former KC Bike Club President, Cheryl.

Where you going Shawn?
  We had about 30 people on the Ride.  Another KC Bike Club member, Larry, rode sweep position to try and keep us all together.  The ride started out fairly slow with lots of stops along the way to see fountains or other historical places.  Cheryl had a little schpiel about each of our stops, so it was pretty informative.  We covered a ton of fountains, including the Muse of the Missouri, the Eagle Scout Fountain, the Volker Fountain, the Bacchus Fountain, Neptune Fountain, JC Nichols Fountain and more.  We also got to see some places again like the Liberty Memorial and the Country Club Plaza area -- and some new areas like the Vietnam War Memorial, some Civil War battle sites and a huge Rose Garden.  They only had a few rules -- obey traffic rules, stay together and don't embarrass the KC Bike Club by frolicking in the fountains partially or fully nude.
Fixing the flat tire
  Thank goodness that Eric and Erin stayed behind, or that last rule might have been broken.  It had rained a bit on the middle section of our ride, so when we got down there the streets were fairly wet.  We did get some good mud spots up our back -- but not too bad.  The weather was actually quite nice for the ride -- not too warm, not too humid.  Just right!

Shawn did very well for not being a regular cyclist.   I can say that we must have passed the test of being true TravBuddies, as Shawn did not have a water bottle and we had to share mine for the ride.  Given some of the hills we had and the heat, there was no way one could last without water on a 20 mile ride!  The only real trouble we had was when we were getting ready to leave the area of the JC Nichols Fountain near the Plaza.

Bikers at the JC Nichols Fountain
  I had a flat on the rear tire of my bike.  There was no spare tube, no patch kit and no tire pump on the rental bike.  I thought I was up the creek here, but the Bike Club folks came to my rescue.  Larry had a spare tube and a pump, and he helped me fix the tire so that we did not get too far behind the rest of the crew.  I offered to get him a replacement tube when I returned the bike -- but he told me that he knew the owner of the shop pretty well and he would give him a hard time about giving me a bike with a bad tire and would get a tube out of him.  He sounded like he was relishing the opportunity to razz his friend at the bike shop!

I rode some with Cheryl -- she was elated to find out that she had out of towners on the trip, and referred to me as "Texas" for the rest of our ride.

Riding with Cheryl Old School Style!
  She even offered to return our bikes back to the shop to save us some time today, as she lived near the shop.  I love mid-western hospitality.  At the end of our ride, she had cold beers for us also and took us back to our hotel.  She even invited us to join her team for the Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) coming up at the end of July!

I would highly recommend this ride to anyone who is interested in seeing KC from a different perspective.  It's not a strenuous ride, although there are a couple of long steady climbs on the route.  I loved it and was really glad that Shawn came along and enjoyed it too.

We got dropped back at our hotel a little after noon, and I rushed to shower and pack up so I could check out by the 1pm deadline.

Shawn being the ultimate TravBuddy and sharing his Inca Kola
  Shawn got his Lincoln Continental out of the garage, and we were off to the Westin for a last good bye to the remaining TBer's.  The Lincoln is a classic -- 80's version, huge hood, FBI black, burgundy velvet interior.  It was like riding down the street on a waterbed!  What a ride!!

We met up with Sal, Eric and Yadi at the Westin.  Shawn had on his Inca Kola shirt from Peru, and Yadi put hers on as well and pulled out a huge bottle of Inca Kola she had brought Shawn from Lima.   I thought Shawn was going to take it back to Nebraska with him -- but he surprised us and cracked it open for us all to try.  Eric ran to the bar to get 5 glasses of ice, and we were in business.  Eric described the taste the best to me -- kind of like cream soda with starfruit!  I think it would be great with vodka.

Shawn's classic Lincoln was my ride to the airport. Notice the royal wave from Shawn's passenger (me).
  :P

We did our last farewells to the group, and then Shawn kindly took me to the KC Airport.  It was a fine ride out in the Lincoln -- oh, and I forgot, I had a special request from Sal to do the royal wave from the Lincoln as we departed as a special salute to one of our TBer's who had left earlier.  Hope he sees the photo!

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Me and my rental bike
Me and my rental bike
Biking Group at the Eagle Scout Fo…
Biking Group at the Eagle Scout F…
Tim & Shawn at JC Nichols Fountain
Tim & Shawn at JC Nichols Fountain
Where you going Shawn?
Where you going Shawn?
Fixing the flat tire
Fixing the flat tire
Bikers at the JC Nichols Fountain
Bikers at the JC Nichols Fountain
Riding with Cheryl Old School Styl…
Riding with Cheryl Old School Sty…
Shawn being the ultimate TravBuddy…
Shawn being the ultimate TravBudd…
Shawns classic Lincoln was my rid…
Shawn's classic Lincoln was my ri…
Start Up Point for the Great Fount…
Start Up Point for the Great Foun…
Riders taking off in the first wave
Riders taking off in the first wave
My KC Bicycle Club Wristband
My KC Bicycle Club Wristband
The Inca Kola Twins, Shawn and Yadi
The Inca Kola Twins, Shawn and Yadi
Thats good Kola!
That's good Kola!
Look at this beauty!  The hood str…
Look at this beauty! The hood st…
Shawn and Tim getting ready to hea…
Shawn and Tim getting ready to he…
Shawn and Yadi
Shawn and Yadi