|The 2007 All British Cycling Event|
Date(s): September 14, 15, 16, 2007. Album by Jon Sharratt. Photos by Jon Sharratt. 1 - 24 of 82 Total. 9925 Visits.
|Fanfare for the Common Man|
If the 2007 ABCE had one fault, it was the perfect weather; it was not quite English enough. Indeed, the Nutters of the Realm had to endure neither drizzle nor rain, nor heat or wind. Granted, the Friday evening reception was eventually moved indoors due to the Hebrides-like chill in the air but even so, our claiming ceremony was unfazed; Barley John’s was claimed “…in the name of the Queen for all the Riders of the Realm”.
Saturday dawned clear and cool; perfect for a Pastry Joust down the Cotswold Hills of St. Anthony. Ian Lindridge led the group of 20 competitors off to the starting line while playing Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. Tim McNamara was the humble victor with pastry-in-hand. The reigning champion Ian demonstrated that adding a great lump of Dynohub iron seems good strategy but the induced magnetic drag is so great that not even pastry can overcome it.
Pressing on with the 40-mile Gentleman’s Tour, we made our way through the University of Minnesota campus to the Washington Avenue Bridge where we could observe Bohemian Flats and the forensic reconstruction of the collapsed 35W bridge. A few furlongs downstream brought us to the new training facility and boathouse for the U of M rowing team. A lucky coincidence brought us a full tour of the building by Assistant Coach John Flynn.
Further riding along the Mississippi brought us to Summit Avenue and lunch. Most found excellent fare at the Coffee News Café but there were other Asian and pizza choices as well.
Trundling east down Summit we marveled at America's longest span of Victorian homes including the Governor's Mansion and the Brownstone where F. Scott Fitzgerald once lived. The pace seemed to quicken as we anticipated High Tea with Marlis Schmidt. The amazing plummet down the switchbacks of Irvine Avenue dropped us at Marlis’ front step. We were escorted to the garden and amid the vintage pergola, fine china and garden furnishings; we were served an amazing tea including cucumber sandwiches, pecan chutney, chocolate cake, fruit tarts and buckets of steaming Earl Grey. A hale and hearty Thank You! to Marlis and her assistant Janet for such fine hospitality.
Pressing on through St Paul we made our way across the river to Harriet Island, through Mendota and over the Minnesota River to Fort Snelling. The next stop found us at Minnehaha Falls, the south Minneapolis sinkhole then on to the Great Dragon buffet where 17 hungry Nutters gathered for the evening.
Sunday events opened with the Cycle Jumble and many bargains were to be found including many orphan 3-speeds and parts. The Social Hour was highlighted by the delicious treats brought by nearly everyone. We had The 5-mile Gentleman’s Tour began at noon through the streets, paths and parks of St Anthony Village and New Brighton. SAG wagon support was provided by Gregg Richmann and his delightful Ford Model T. This wonderful automobile ran perfectly but, in an ironic note, we had to stop occasionally to let the SAG catch up.
Thirsty riders waited patiently while our Keeper of the Cask tapped the pin of Silver Knight. After careful and dramatic inspection, the pin was pronounced well and good and the taps were declared open. After pizza and a bracing pint or 3 we were telling stories both true and otherwise with wild abandon. To draw the event to a close, we awarded certificates and drew for prizes. Sadly, the time had come to raise a glass and return Barley John’s to the Colonists but not before we had proven, without question, the common 3-speed was the mount of choice for the common Nutters of the Realm.