Taunting St. Brendan, patron saint of sailors not cyclists

22 05 2016

There’s an old sailors’ superstition against allowing a woman onto a working ship, that they bring bad luck.

For the first part of Sunday’s FRF ride it seemed the sailors’ worry had beached upon our peloton.

The ride was our first with a female member. Anna is training for the annual Seattle to Portland, a hefty bike trek that covers more than 200 miles over two days. Her usual riding companions aren’t as committed; so she thought she’d get in some healthy miles with us.

The wrath of St. Brendan, the patron saint of sailors, was piqued almost immediately.

One of our group succumbed to the Expansion Joint That Eats InnerTubes on the down bound side of the Port Mann Bridge. The joint itself isn’t a problem; but the edge on the landing side is very sharp and if you don’t bunnyhop the gap properly or if you hit it too fast, a blowout is inevitable. Charlie blew his bunnyhop. Sorry Charlie.

Uh oh, the Port Mann expansion joints claim another.

Uh oh, the Port Mann expansion joints claim another.

As we waited out his tire change, it started to rain. Not hard. But enough to begin slicking the road surface that has been dust-dry for weeks.

The rain begins to fall.

The rain begins to fall.

Apparently Stickers didn’t take that into account as he rounded a traffic circle and down he went. Road rash was minimal, but he suffered an impressive gash and contusion on his arm that required some makeshift bandaging.

Flying Oakes is horrified by the gash on Stickers' arm following a fall in a slicked roundabout early in Sunday's ride.

Flying Oakes is horrified by the gash on Stickers’ arm following a fall in a slicked roundabout early in Sunday’s ride.

After the coffee break, another flat. A water bottle rattled out of its cage, onto the roadway and almost brought down some of the group.

It was shaping up to be one of those rides where everything that could go wrong, would. Somewhere, St. Brendan was snickering.

Regrouping at the edge of America.

Regrouping at the edge of America.

But then, our luck changed. The sun peeked from behind the roiling grey clouds. The pace quickened. The road ran straight and flat.

In fact, the rest of the 115 km route was completely uneventful; St. Brendan’s ire didn’t have much stamina.

Right sentiment, wrong sport. How did this pub know I was coming?

Right sentiment, wrong sport. How did this pub know I was coming?

Which bodes well for future female participation in the FRF.

More and more women seem to be gravitating to cycling. They’re creating groups of their own; we’ve encountered some that easily eclipse our modest peloton, in number of riders and speed.

But getting a female component into the FRF has proved elusive. Until today.

After the ride, Anna said she was initially intimidated by the idea of riding with a group of men; the pace might be too fast, the pack mentality too insular. But her need for training miles won her over.

Toasting a great ride, the FRF's first female rider, and our first official beer ride!

Toasting a great ride, the FRF’s first female rider, and our first official beer ride!

Hopefully the FRF’s inclusive ethos and #moremilesmorebeer hashtag will bring her back. Maybe bring some friends.

After all, we’re cyclists, not sailors.

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