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From awful to awesome


Normally I wouldn’t use my blog to tell a potentially embarrassing story about my son.

I prefer such embarrassment come in the real world, so I can see him squirm and relish in his discomfort.

But I’ll make an exception this case.

First of all, I’m not wholly sold on the permanence of this whole Internets thing. I’m pretty sure it’s all just a fad, and once the novelty wears off we’ll all go back to ordering crap we don’t need out of printed catalogs, getting our news from newspapers and exchanging information with fax machines and over landline telephones.

Second, I’m confident he won’t stumble upon this entry thanks to the software on my home computer that strictly limits the kids’ access to porn, Justin Bieber songs and bicycle-themed blogs.

If he did somehow navigate to it — by clicking on, say, one of the dozen or so bookmarks narcissistic dad has pointing here, yet cleverly renamed “World’s greatest games” and “Free stuff for kids” and “Justin Bieber songs” — I’m confident he wouldn’t read far enough into it to see it was about him: “Aw, do I have to read it? I read something last month!”

Besides, it’s not so much about him as it is about an event, the Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride.

Two years ago I rode in the event and thought it was grand.

Last year, I took the family along and thought it was awful. I blogged about it and described it as the worst experience I’d ever had on two wheels. It moved from downtown Lenexa to Shawnee Mission Park last year, and was not the family-friendly event it was billed to be.

There was crying and puking (neither, fortunately, by anyone named Hartsock) … and I planned never to go back.

But I was contacted by an organizer this spring asking my opinion of the new course in Black Hoof Park. I admitted I didn’t know much about the area, but it sounded like they addressed my concerns about last year’s course. And since I bagged on the event last year, I felt obligated to give the new location a chance.

So, we headed off to the Lenexa hinterlands (basically, just northeast of the intersection of Kansas highways 7 and 10) late Saturday night.

Not long after we arrived, it became obvious my 9-year-old son was in a bad way.

Normally chatty and engaging, he was sullen and morose. He complained. He groused. He picked fights with his 12-year-old sister. He pouted.

In his defense, it was close to three hours past his bedtime, and it was uncomfortably hot. I believe at the start of the ride the temperature and humidity made for an infernal heat index of right around 450 degrees.

He was so glum, he couldn’t even be enticed by free glow sticks that were readily available.

Now, he was a little grumpy at the start of last year’s Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride, and he was surly before the start of last year’s St. Louis Moonlight Ramble, but in both cases his mood improved once we started rolling (only to head south again quickly as last year’s Lenexa ride turned into a trail of tears).

But he was so crabby Saturday night, I was beginning to fear no amount of endorphins would jolt him back to the land of the happy.

But, it happened.

Before long, he was hooting and hollering, providing a running commentary that brightened the faces of every rider he passed.

“We’re riding faster than the cars!”

“Look at that! Look over there! Wow, that light is bright!”

And when he passed an especially bright light illuminating the course, causing him to cast a huge shadow, “I’M THE BIGGEST PERSON IN THE WORLD!”

The roughly six-mile ride went quickly, and as we turned to head back to the start/finish area, my son pulled up alongside and said, “Dad, this was fun. I’m glad we did it. This was the BEST day.”

But he did have one regret. He admitted he wished he had grabbed a glow stick after all.

Luckily for him, dad had the foresight to put his mitts on a couple extra, and all was right with the world.

Thus, I can recommend the new-look Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride as a truly family-friendly event.

There are a few hills, but they’re early in the course, so the finish is nearly all downhill. The route is on nice, car-free roads. There’s some unique scenery, decent lighting, excellent support … basically everything that went wrong last year went right this year.

Just like my son’s mood, the Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride bounced back quite nicely.


Lawrencebiker 7 years, 8 months ago


I know I posted a message to you here at LJWorld Friday night reporting an incident that happened to seven of us along on East 1400 Road just south of Lawrence. You said you would pass it on to the news desk. Nothing has been said nor have you mentioned anything other than copying and pasting to the Wellness forum. We are talking about seven individuals whose lives were put at stake by the thoughtless and careless actions of another human being. If one of us would have been killed than the Journal World would have been all over it. This was a "HIT AND RUN" and I have six other individuals who can testify to it. Have we become so self-indulged in entertainment value that we neglect to report the news that makes people aware and informative? Perhaps next time somebody will not be so lucky. So here Andrew is a glorious opportunity to do something in the behalf of all of us cyclist. You have the means and you have the exposure to really be a casting light to the very ugly nature of those who want to harm us. Are you so afraid that if you was to write about something of a very important nature there would be little interest in the readers? I'll really think this is such an important issue that something needs to be said before it is too late and somebody else is taking out by a vehicle because there was rage. Think about it, it could be you one morning riding to work and somebody having a bad day decides to take you out. You may think this is such an isolated incident but it's not. I've been riding for 23 years and can tell you of many near misses. Perhaps things happen for a reason and perhaps because of this event it has pushed me to be an advocate. Road rage against cyclist is a serious issue and people's lives are at stake. Think about it!

Good Day Rob

onrywmn 7 years, 8 months ago

As a reader, this sounds like a serious incident that should be reported. I would like to hear the details of what happened. Road rage is a serious issue - and a deadly one.

Lawrencebiker 7 years, 8 months ago

I gave Andrew the details and personal account of what happened. I have gave him contact information. He said he passed it on to the news desk. He also said he would blog about it.

parrothead8 7 years, 8 months ago

This sounds serious...did you report the incident to the police?

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