TaterTOT 2009

Bike rallies sometimes raise a shield
Against us folks who ride three-wheeled,
But there is one unique event
That from the start was clearly meant
For tadpoles, deltas, velos, too,
With no one telling me or you
What time, how fast or where to ride,
And NO rules posted or implied...

BACKGROUND: In Spring of 2007, several folks who ride (the fairly unusual) adult recumbent sports touring tricycles, playfully objecting to their machines being excluded from various organized cycling events, decided to hold their own multi-day rally-like outing, and (snobbishly) exclude two-wheeled cycles. The idea proved very popular and came to life that Summer, originally as the Trikes Only Tour or TOT for short. However, many attendees quickly decided not to exclude their friends and family on more common bicycles, and the full name was altered to Trikes Optional Tour, keeping the same acronym. However, it wasn't long before the concept expanded to similar rallies in other areas, and it seemed appropriate to include a regional descriptor to the name of the original. Since it has been based in the Northern section of Idaho, someone [Who could it have been?] suggested The Potato State Trikes Optional Tour, with the shortened sobriquet of TaterTOT. I knocked off this bit of flippant poesy in recognition of its third time around in early Summer of 2009. Enjoy...

When most folks picture trikes, it's not
An adult but a tiny tot
That they imagine in its seat...
But when one day they chance to meet
Some 'senior citizen' who rides
A low-slung trike that swiftly glides
With comfort, speed, control and style,
They can't suppress a joyful smile.

Still, some official bike rides shun
These 'three-wheeled bikes' – so just for FUN
A few tricyclists on the net
Said, "That's not right! What if we met
And did a ride meant just for trikes,
Where ev'ryone does what he likes,
How, when and where he wants to go?"
We chose to meet in Idaho.

It started from a forum post:
A ride for trikes without a host,
Along I-90 on a trail
Converted from a mining rail,
That crosses Idaho in style –
Class One, no cars, mile after mile,
Small rustic towns, and in between,
Tall trees and rivers, wild and green.

Some trikeys call it TaterTOT,
While others say they'd rather not.
A couple (three? – from Idaho)
Say out-of-staters ought to know:
"That word – potatoes – might offend
Panhandle dwellers." They contend,
"The Silver Valley's claim to fame
Was won by miners, hence its name."

They say, "A nugget caked with mud's
More common here than farm-grown spuds."
So... we've agreed to disagree –
And that, I guess, it seems to me
Is what this rally's all about:
No rules, no rulers... and no doubt
That you (and I) do as we choose:
Charge hard and fast, or coolly cruise.

Each year we've done this, it's improved.
Last year we (very wisely) moved
To Kellogg and a great hotel,
Much larger, which was just as well,
Since ev'ry year more cyclists came...
With TaterTOT's increasing fame,
Next year should be our biggest yet,
But will it be the best? Don't bet...

All Weather Channel watchers know
The heat index in Idaho
Can range from Ice Age up to Hell
With winds and thunderstorms as well
On any early Summer day,
But this year, folks, I have to say
The weather up at TaterTOT
Stayed well below what I'd call HOT.

The nights were nicely cool and clear;
No gully washers came through here.
The winds were mild, it never rained,
And weatherwise, no one complained.
The trail they call the Coeur d'Alene
Was smooth, in good repair and clean,
Without a sign of overuse –
Just bikes, recumbent trikes and moose.

If that sounds perfect, I confess:
In fact it was, or not much less.
You've heard 'the third time is the charm' –
That may be true; the smiles were warm
From all the people that we met.
The beer was icy cold and wet –
The Welcome Cookout yummy fun;
The GuestHouse Inn is Number One!

Five dozen cyclists, most on trikes,
Who ranged in age from little tykes
To senior citizens (at least),
Took off from Kellogg, heading east
To Mullan Monday, up a grade
Beside a burbling, clear cascade
Through forests, roughly twenty miles,
Then whizzed back down with beaming smiles.

On Tuesday morning we resumed
Our treks out westward as we zoomed
On levees crossing chains of lakes,
Not shifting much or using brakes.
Deep swales host ducks and geese, where moose
Come out from tall birch trees and spruce
To graze on lily pads in ponds,
And peek at us through dark green fronds.

For two more days, we stroked and cruised
The trail toward Plummer, some amused
By spotting deer or osprey chicks
For YouTube videos and pix.
We TaterTOTters grinned and rode
Along the river as it flowed,
Its ripples sparkling in the sun,
Clear, clean, enchanting everyone.

Each night we socialized and shared
The day's excitement or compared
Our speeds and mileage for each trip;
Some sampled beers or had a sip
Of well-aged, esoteric Scotch;
Some simply sat outside to watch
The bright, late-setting sun descend
While chatting with a new-found friend.

Though no one there had had enough,
Still... TaterTOT, like all good stuff,
Must end... and so, as duty called,
We loaded up what we had hauled
To Idaho just days before,
(Some things we'd needed, plus some more)
And said, "Farewell, we'll see you here
In northern Idaho next year!"

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Last updated 7/6/2010