Here I am, with sun hat and borrowed helmet, eager to ride off and join with others for the 35th Annual Chico Velo Wildflower bicycle rides.
Used to riding my “Townie” as transportation, but seldom farther than 10 miles around town and certainly not on a Wildflower ride, I chose the easiest ride offered: the Flatflower 12, still a big enough adventure for me!
Chico Velo had thoughtfully labeled the streets with different colored arrows corresponding to the length of each bike ride, i.e., Wildflower 65, Wildflower 100, Flatflower 60, Flatflower 30 and Flatflower 12. I was told to follow the pink arrows with the dotted lines for my mellow ride of 12 miles down to Durham and back. I didn’t see any dotted lines on “my” pink arrows but they were pink so I took off from the fairgrounds dutifully following pink arrows along with hundreds of other riders.
I was having such a good time on my first ever Wildflower ride, breathing in the rain-cleared air, checking out the scenery and stopping now and then to take a photo of the countryside, that when the pink arrows turned left onto a pleasant country lane I turned left as well.
After an hour or so of cruising along on this quiet country road, grooving on the trees, cows, and fields, it occurred to me that I ought to have reached the rest-stop at the Durham Elementary School, and that there were no parents with kids poking along as you’d expect to see on the Flatflower 12 route. There was just me on my Townie and a bunch of folks on high-tech bikes dressed in those lycra outfits that make them all look alike. When I asked a guy what route this was he told me I was on the Flatflower 30 ride.
I’d gone a good six and a half miles out of my way.
Eventually, I made it to the rest-stop, where I hung out for a while with other cyclists, resting and drinking water. In time I would head home, this time on the official route, peddling against a hard north wind, and treasuring my first wildflower ride, which I’ve deemed the “Flatflower 12 Plus Route”, a distance beyond what I thought I could do.