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 Jon Sharratt | Home > 
The All-British Cycling Event;
We Go Out for the Day

If you were to choose a way to effortlessly enjoy a brilliant day or days, what would it be? Travel of some kind would probably be the most common answer. These days, travel is only concerned with destination, not the journey. We Nutters, on the other hand, prefer a different style of travel; one without time restrictions nor worry, in fact, a journey that lasts all weekend is a good start. On the ABCE, our travels begin on Friday with a modest reception at Barley John’s. A gathering of a dozen or so rekindled old friendships and enjoyed the evening. Later in the evening we clicked our glasses and declared “We hereby claim Barley John’s in the name of The Queen for all the Riders of the Realm”.

On Saturday, all the Nutters gathered at Merlin’s Rest for what could best be described as an “improbable journey” by modern standards; travelling leisurely, enjoying the sights along with polite conversation and treats at nearly every street corner. At a bit past 9am, we saddled up and began our journey. Moving down the trail, all 32 riders were an impressive sight and chit-chat was the order of the day as we wandered to the new Sabo Bridge. An impressive sight and a good view of downtown Minneapolis was our reward but we did not stay very long since the coffee shop at Freewheel Bike was waiting for us. “Elevenses” is a long lost tradition among cyclists; a bit like afternoon tea but with a very different time schedule. Treats were abundant and buckets of late morning tea were welcome.

We needed to move on; this seemed improbable but we had a loose schedule to maintain and, oddly enough, we were right on time so far. A lovely ride past Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and quick stop at the water pump at Lake Harriet put us in line for lunch at 48th & Chicago. Plenty of choices here; pub fare, Mexican and a wonderful bakery add up to plenty of energy for riding the rest of the afternoon.

We pushed off and found our way back to Minnehaha Creek and followed the trail to Minnehaha Falls. The Falls were roaring; an impressive sight with the cascading water and mist filling the gorge.

Next was the Mississippi crossing at the Ford Bridge; another impressive sight and the view upstream through the wooded river valley was beautiful. As we continued on, we found Summit Avenue with all its impressive architecture. By then it was time for more treats and we found them just off Summit on Cambridge and Grand Avenue. Many more choices here but most went for something from the case at French Meadow Bakery. Impressive, yes, but a poor substitute for Marlis’ secret tea garden.

We hated to leave but we eventually mounted up and moved on through a quiet neighbourhood on Otis Avenue in St. Paul; impressive architecture and a quiet road. We then turned on Marshall, crossed over the Mississippi again and this put us on Lake Street for the home stretch. Our destination for the day was back at Merlin’s Rest and soon we were there. Merlin’s Rest offers plenty of selections from a menu that seems perfectly English and with the appropriate beverage, was a delight to all.

Sunday dawned warm and sunny and it appeared that another ABCE would sneak by without rain. The Cycle Jumble is always an adventure with many Steeds on offer with enough parts available to fill your lorry. We soon departed for the Gravity Race and shorter Gentleman’s Tour and found the competition to be formidable; we had many a rider gliding to the runout area in contention. Barry took the crown for the hub gear category and Gary took the non-hub gear. After enjoying our pastries and discussing various strategies for next year, off we went for a short tour. We rode through St. Anthony Village and tipped our caps at the old location of Osell Cycles.

Arriving back at Barley John’s, the taps were opened and pizza ordered. Soon it was time to begin the “stories both true and otherwise”; a favourite of all. Stories and presentations were given and then prizes were given as well.

Indeed, a day well spent and a model for all our days to come.

www.ABCEtour.com
Date(s): September 16-18, 2016. Album by STO. Photos by STO. 1 - 53 of 53 Total. 333 Visits.
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