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Bike Rides 119
Dude You Dropped Your Purse

In mid-October I returned to Sioux Falls for a routine work trip. Business is brisk there, speed limits are high and the riding is good so the trek west is always worth the long car ride.

I started my cycling adventure with a 20 mile excursion to the falls and back via recently repaved trails that was wonderful but relatively uneventful, except for the last five miles. It was here that I first set eyes on a curious contraption known as a “StreetStrider.”

The StreetStrider is a three-wheeled, human powered platform you stand on that advances through coordinated foot-stepping and hand-pumping motions.

Since this is the first of its kind I’ve seen in all my travels, it stands to reason the fad is either completely in its infancy, or perhaps judging from how ridicules one looks while “striding” down a trial, never going to catch on. Either way it’s not likely I’ll be stroking away on one any time soon.

I was enjoying a ride break when the peculiar pumper passed. It wasn’t overly impressive but still intriguing enough to warrant another look. No hurry though, certainly me and the ol’ Raleigh would catch up.

A long time passed before I saw him again, but a couple of miles later I found the strider now on the other side of the river, traveling in the same direction but way ahead of me on a different trail.

I decided to make it a personal goal to pass the persistent pumper before the split in the Big Sioux River a couple of miles up, which was also where the opposing trails separated.

He did a couple of look-backs across the water sensing my presence and turned up the speed a few notches. This was no problem I figured confidently; I should still have him before the break.

I don’t normally get too competitive on rides. Racing may be the most natural means to extract the true inner athlete, but it’s not necessarily the way to bring out the best person in me, so more often than not I avoid competition. Of course, this was an exception I decided; the Strider could not be allowed to defeat the Raleigh.

Soon it was obvious he wanted to win too and a real competition was brewing. I shifted for top gear, pouring on everything I had in a burst as my tricycling counterpart did the same.

“Nice black shorts with the black shirt and black socks dude,” I thought cynically to myself. I’m usually above trash talking, but not trash thinking; it can be a real motivator to diss the competition during the heat of battle. Like I said; racing can bring out the worst in me.

The finish line was in clear view now and it was no easy task, but I finally surpassed the Strider just before the split.

“You dropped your purse back there,” I mocked out loud looking back in victory, with no possibility or desire to actually be heard by my defeated opponent across the channel.

Slowing to a recovery pace I stood on the pedals stretching my spent legs in the warm sun, singing along to the ipod victoriously.

“Coming left,” said a soft but determined voice suddenly from behind, startling me back into the saddle while faking a cough to cover up my lame singing. It was a young lady wearing street clothes and carrying a backpack on an old fashioned 10-speed now passing me so quickly I barely got a look as she buzzed by.

I tried to catch up at first but the truth was after just giving everything I had to defeat the strider I couldn’t. She kept up her aggressive pace and began to fade ahead in the distance.

Wait a minute, that’s not a backpack.  No, wait. Was it a… but… yep… a purse!  slung over her shoulder. She actually was carrying a purse and beating me, badly.

Humbled again, and so quickly this time. Thanks for riding along.

Traffic Tip:  Time to practice winter rules; quick bursting rides with frequent breaks to maintain consistent body temperature.

See Bike Rides at www.dansbikerides.com
Hear Bike Rides from your radio Fridays, 1p.m. on KMSK, 91.3 FM.
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