The mythological Hercules slayed the nine headed Lernaean Hydra, Stymphalian Birds and the Nemean Lion, as the stories claim, but to our Riders of the Realm, the name Hercules is associated with strength, of course, but also quiet competence, utility and beauty. Not subject to myth was our Friday reception; a wonderful gathering on a warm evening to renew friendships, chat about which Hercules was being ridden by whom and can Hercules actually clean the Augean stables in a single day. A bit later it was time for the Claiming Ceremony whereby we “claim Barley John’s in the name of the Queen and for all the riders of the realm.”
Saturday we gathered at Merlin’s Rest at the appointed time, mounted our Steeds and set out across the countryside in search of Elevenses. An easy choice, this, since Freewheel Bike was an easy 2 miles down the path. A nice mug of tea and a treat and we were underway again. We glided past lakes Calhoun and Harriet and soon found lunch at 48th and Chicago. Pressing on, our next stop was Minnehaha Falls and we were relieved it was roaring along at a great clip. Our next landmark was Fort Snelling and the stairway down to the Highway 5 crossing. The stairway was tough to spot but soon we were gliding above the river to the St. Paul side. We took Shephard Road down to the Red River Kitchen for some welcome cold water. Since we had been running a bit slow due to the heat, we pushed on to find Irvine Park, Grand Avenue and the long climb to the top. Some went to find ice cream at Grand Ave Creamery but most decided to beeline back to Merlin’s. Authentic English Fare was the order of the day along with an ale of choice. Some had a cool Pimm’s cup to finish the day.
Sunday was off to a running start since the cycle jumble is so popular that most of the vendors arrive early but the real thrill of the day is the Gravity Race and Pastry Joust. “Distance via dignified coasting” is the rule and what could be more dignified than skewering your own pastry! Back at Barley John’s, the taps were declared open as well as the ovens so various pizza’s were the choice. We told “stories both true and otherwise” and had a grand old time.
Our beloved English Hercules is indeed famous for strength and far-ranging adventures. Adventure on the wheel can take many forms; physical challenges, beautiful vistas like no other, or simply revelation. What better way to enjoy a challenge than the ‘umble 3-speed.
Date(s): September 14, 15&16, 2018. Album by STO. Photos by STO. 1 - 91 of 91 Total. 1029 Visits.