When the fondo is on the other foot

16 05 2013

Usually when I’m on the bike, conversations with motorists go something like this:

Motorist: Hey, #$^&% get off the @$%&?# road.

Me: I’ve got just as much right to be here as you @$#%&

Motorist: #$%@^& you

Me: Likewise

So imagine my surprise when the bearded driver of the little grey coupe stopped next to me at a light rolled down his passenger window and said:

So, do you think Cadel Evans can beat Nibali?

Wow, not only an amiable exchange, but about the Giro d’Italia no less. First time that’s ever happened, and a good way to start today’s 82 km ride.

It’s holiday time in the Ring household. Which means getting in some rides and getting up early to watch the Giro with Little Ring, his first Grand Tour. He seems quite enthralled by the bikes on the TV screen. He should; he’s been around enough of them lately.

 

Telegraph Road as I try to beat the storm clouds on a holiday evening ride.

Telegraph Road as I try to beat the storm clouds on a holiday evening ride.

 

The holiday started off with a trip into Washington state, where Princess of Pavement rode her very first Fondo, a women only event in Snohomish (although I did count at least three men at the start line).

To say it was odd loading up the car with a bike on the roof that wasn’t mine is an understatement. But when Princess of Pavement found out about the event, and especially the reward that awaited her at the finish line she couldn’t fill out her registration fast enough even though she hadn’t ridden in almost two years.

Princess of Pavement on the bike for the first time in almost two years. And just a week before her first Fondo!

Princess of Pavement on the bike for the first time in almost two years. And just a week before her first Fondo!

Every participant in the Living the Dream ride got a silver necklace from Tiffany’s. Princess of Pavement has a serious weakness for the little blue box wrapped with white ribbon. It was her main motivation to do the Nike half marathon in San Francisco two years ago which came with similar swag.

This is what every participant in the Living the Dream women's Fondo got. A heck of a lot nicer swag than a beer ticket!

This is what every participant in the Living the Dream women’s Fondo got. A heck of a lot nicer swag than a beer ticket!

Princess of Pavement prepares to ride her first Fondo.

Princess of Pavement prepares to ride her first Fondo.

And Little Ring is there to cheer her on!

And Little Ring is there to cheer her on!

 

So what’s the deal; I’ve done three Fondos and the most I’ve got to show for it is a pair of ugly arm warmers that I’ll likely never wear and two t-shirts that are quickly working their way to becoming bike cleaning rags. The first Whistler Fondo didn’t even dole out beer tickets. But women’s events get jewellery?

Where’s the men’s swag in Fondos? Like a free 60-inch plasma or LED plasma TV for every finisher. Heck I’d sign up for the first Fondo to offer a Harmony remote, even a fancy Park Tool bottle opener or pizza slicer. A plastic bag stuffed with coupons I’ll never use just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The first Fondo that hands out these at the finish line; sign me up!

The first Fondo that hands out these at the finish line; sign me up!

It’s time for swag equality!

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