Please Stop Perpetuating a non-existent Tacoma Inferiority Complex – An open letter to the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club

I woke up this morning to messages from cyclist friends of mine asking what in the hell is wrong with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club (TWBC) and what their beef with the Cascade bicycle club is.

It didn’t take long to find a news article about the president of the TWBC, Darrell Eslinger, with all the civility and grace of a GOP presidential candidate on the debate platform throwing a tantrum because Cascade Bicycle Club is holding a ride on the new 520 bridge and he feels that he and everyone else should be able to ride it for free (which they can at any other time once the bridge is opened to the public for cycling)

As the alleged leader of an organization that hosts paid rides such as the Daffodil Classic which are also held on public roads, he of all people should understand the cost of liability insurance, port a potties, security and staffing for such an event. I don’t think he, or the Daffodil committee would appreciate someone from another bicycle club in another town demanding to be able to ride it for free.

Seriously? Are we in middle school?

This pathological need for the TWBC to perpetuate an inferiority complex in the name of Tacoma is embarrassing and insulting.

I’ve looked the other way for years as TWBC has hosted “anti Chilly Hilly” and “anti STP” events. Offering less expensive alternatives closer to home is a great idea, but does it have to come with such immature snark and intentionally creating animosity?

My membership is up for renewal, but I am not renewing it this year because I do not want to be associated with a group who promotes this sort of antagonistic agenda.

It’s time for the TWBC to grow up and focus on making positive contributions here in Tacoma, instead of worrying about what someone else is doing in another city and creating adolescent drama for no good reason.

Tacoma deserves better.

Tacoma is better than this.




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How to be a Cascade Bicycle Club Ride Ref


Rule number #1 for ride reffing for Cascade Bicycle Club events

You ARE the “dancing bear”

people respond to humor.

We “encourage” safe and courteous riding by EXAMPLE. Don’t get “into it” with anyone, it’s not worth it; call the police, rat them out to CBC, but don’t be an asshole

TAKE the horn offered to you in training (take two if you can get away with it).

HONK the horn

HONK the horn as often as possible.

Coordinate obnoxious horn honking with a ride partner.

Tell bad jokes (best if at the expense of a CBC volunteer you’re riding with.)

Sing bad songs.

Military cadence….

“LEFT…. LEFT… Passing on your LEFT….”

“When you Ride the STP….”

Filk showtunes

“Stopping and going and going and stopping…”

When someone displays safe and courteous and safe riding. HONK YOUR HORN!!! Celebrate it! Call them out and THANK them!

Tell bad jokes

Harass your CBC volunteer ride partners…

overheard on the 2008 STP while leaving the REI rest stop..

[Leo – wearing a ride ref jersey] Hey, see that star of life on her jersey? That means she’s a professional proctologist in real life.

[Lisa, wearing medical jersey] Better than being an amateur procotologist like you are Leo…

[Rim Shot]

[Lisa, totally gloating over the perfectly timed BURN] Thank you folks, we’ll be here all weekend.

Stop for every flat tire, blown chain, blister, splinter, road rash, person sitting on the corner staring at map completely clueless as the where they are.

Be one of the last riders into Portland because you have stopped for every person who needed it (and some who didn’t), either in pouring rain or scorching heat, have no time for beer, haul butt to get your bike on the last truck and hop on the last bus without showering.

Love every minute of it.

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Mood: Amused


Sister Clubs Bike Ride

Today I went on a bike ride with several groups from the Bicycle Alliance (comprised of the Tacoma Wheelmen, Cyclists of Greater Seattle, BIKES of Snohomish County, West Sound Bike Club and the Capital City Bike Club)

Carla from the Wheelmen organized one of the rides as a social tour of Tacoma and Gene took a faster group out to do the Steilacoom Spin.

We started and ended our ride at the HUB.

It was raining lightly (and it was wind and butt cold) when I left my apartment (apparently it poured last night, but we were all to busy yakking, laughing and drinking wine to notice) I figured that I might as well get used to riding in crappy weather.

I had breakfast and a latte at home, but went ahead and had a biscuit and a cup of decaf so that I could sit with the breakfast crowd and socialize a bit.

We headed out through the streets of Tacoma and hit the Scott Pierson Trail

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We of course, took a ride across the Narrows Bridge.

I warned the riders from other areas to be careful of the cross winds on the bridge. It’s common to fly down the ramp to the bridge and get hit by a sudden, unexpected nasty cross wind which can cause and accident.

I mean come on, wind (and bad engineering) is what took down the 1st Narrows bridge, our own ill fated, infamous Galloping Gertie.

Here’s an old newsreel complete with fabulous narration. (although the Tacoma Narrows is not a “river”; it is an extremely treacherous passage in the Puget Sound)

We got onto the bridge in the cold wind without incident, but one of our visitors was blown down about mid span on the bridge. Luckily, he was slowing down to stop, so it was more like an unable to unclip at a stoplight fall than a high speed crash.

He was fine. Here’s the view from mid span on the bridge.

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We headed back to Tacoma for more touring and a view of our waterfront.

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After a flat tire…

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We headed back to the HUB for appropriate food and beverages

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I came home, fixed my toilet (some handyman service on twitter offered me a $25 coupon to fix my toilet… Uh, scuse me… I can fix my own darn toilet, it’s not rocket science. I tweeted that I was going to go to Home Depot not that I was some wussy girl that couldn’t fix her own toilet. Dorks)

I ran a couple of errands and came home to finish cleaning up after last night’s party.

Tomorrow, I’m getting up early to meet Janet for coffee before boarding the Vashon Island Ferry for a ride that’s probably hillier than I should be attempting as out of shape and off training as I am right now.

I don’t care, it’s going to be a beautiful day tomorrow (albeit a bit cold) and I want to go out there with my friend.

I’ll post pictures of our adventure tomorrow.



Bikes, Salmon and Bonking… Oh My!

I was pretty bummed about missing RAPSody this weekend. (not even going to rehash the rest of it) and my dear friend Janet told me about a Tacoma Wheelmen on Sunday ride that would be relatively flat (I forgot about the hills at the arboretum and Seward Park) and only 40-50 miles.

So we headed out to Tukwila on Sunday morning (which is not the same thing as “Going to Tukwila”) to meet the group at the Sounder station.

I was told that the station was totally ghetto (I get off the train in Kent, the stop just before there and joke that I’ll never sleep on the train because I might wake up in Tukwila) and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a crappy wooden platform built on stilts on the side of a berm. I should have taken a picture.

We rode up the Inter Urban Trail through South Park over the 1st Ave Bridge to the waterfront, down Alaskan Way and through Myrtle Edwards Park to Ballard.

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This is my dear friend Janet riding through Ballard

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The stopped for lunch at tthe Ballard Locks

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Of course, we visited the fish ladder.

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Check out the size of that Chinook (King) Salmon (lower left in the picture)

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and this guy looks like he wanted us for lunch instead of the other way around…

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We rode on the Burke-Gilman Trail (OMG, that final link needs to be completed, you take your life in your hands riding on the streets of Ballard) out to the University, over the arboretum and down Lake Washington back down South.

Here’s our route (all except the place where I forgot to turn my Garmin back on after stopping at the restroom so it went line of sight and makes it look like we rode through the water)


This was a good ride for me mentally (not so much physically as I almost bonked coming back up off the lake)

I realized when riding over the arboretum and along the lake, that I’ve never driven a vehicle either of those places. I’ve always been on a marathon course running or a bike course riding.

The rest of the ride pictures are here:

or in a sideshow here:

We arrived back to the ghetto train station for a total of 44 miles. As crappy as I was feeling, I think it was the longest 44 miles I’ve ever ridden.

But it was worth it. I felt alive, I felt the wind in my face and I felt the companionship of friends.


Mood: Tired