GWBR – Part 2: What to Do

The Great Western Bicycle Rally is great!
It's maybe the best bike event in the state.
For twenty-five years now we've gone there in May
To visit with friends while we camp out and play.

On Saturday morning we wake to the sight
Of lots of new people who came in the night
And set up their camps in the dark while we dozed.
Some came after twelve – more than we had supposed
From sounds in the dark as they set up their camps,
With dim little flashlights and battery lamps.
You know they're still sleepy, but they're stirring too,
Preparing to do what we all came to do.

As people come out of their RVs and tents,
They check out our mountain bikes, tandems and bents,
Or classical road bikes, which most people ride,
Though some of the groups here can't seem to decide,
And ride on a mixture of several kinds,
Defying the prejudice found in small minds;
Eclectic's the word for what's cool this weekend;
With all types of cyclists enjoying the blend.

And riding is what GWBR's really about,
As cyclists from casual up to devout
Are all making plans where to go, what to see;
Their options are endless, their choices are free.
'Cause GWBR's much more than a single long ride,
Like most other biking events that you've tried.
There's lots of things here going on all the time,
That range from the trivial to the sublime.

Some folks come for mileage, and they rack up loads,
With very low traffic on long country roads
That wind around farms, up and down rolling hills,
And climbs that may challenge their mountain goat skills.
It's usually windy by late afternoon,
So these guys start early to finish up soon.
Just after the sun's up, they head for the coast;
A tailwind returns them like some helpful ghost.

Some folks like competing; their gunfighter eyes
Are gleaming with lust for a small shiny prize,
A trophy or medal to prove they were best
At time trials or hill climbs or some other test.
Foot races and slaloms, tire changing and more,
Entice folks who never competed before,
And somehow at GWBR there's no sense of loss,
Not even the lamest, weak-kneed Huffy Toss.

There's other events here designed for the kids;
All squirting around us like squirrely young squids.
'Cause family's part of what GWBR's about,
From teenagers down to the least little sprout,
The young folks enjoy this unique sporting fest,
The toddlers in trailers along with the rest.
And big kids catch on that to ride here is cool,
No risk of embarrassment looms like at school.

There's organized rides with small route sheets and maps
With flexible schedules – nine thirty, perhaps?
But lots of folks simply head out on their own,
Returning to places they've previously gone.
And some folks come up just to hop on a bike,
To pedal around to wherever they like,
Whenever and however fast they decide –
That's pretty much how we are likely to ride.

But whether your mileage is trophy class stuff,
Or merely what 'real cyclists' think of as fluff,
You're sure to enjoy all the tree-covered lanes,
The long, open roads, rolling hills, breezy plains,
The city itself, and the vineyards and farms.
If there's one thing amiss from this area's charms,
It may be - it could be, it might be – just that
There's no place around here that you would call Flat!

GWBR - Part 3: A Nice Little Ride

POW Index

Last updated May 6 2005