“Ride the Rock” is a free, family 16-mile group bike ride and festival hosted by the Forest Preserve District of Will County and presented by Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center, the event’s title sponsor for 2012. “Ride the Rock” is returning for its sixth year on Saturday, May 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at Rock Run Greenway – I&M Canal Access, in Joliet.
The ride will begin at I&M Canal Access, located on Empress/Hollywood Road (Houbolt Road), 0.25-mile south of I-80, in Joliet. For driving directions, check out our Google Map.
Riders will head northward along the Rock Run Trail, passing through property owned by Joliet Junior College and the District before reaching the District’s Rock Run Greenway – Black Road Access. Street routes will take riders to the District’s Rock Run Greenway – Theodore Marsh, on Theodore Street in Crest Hill, where they will begin southward along the District’s Joliet Junction Trail. In Rockdale, this trail joins with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ I&M Canal State Trail, which will be used to return to the starting point at I&M Canal Access. Download a route map for the ride.
Both the Rock Run Trail and Joliet Junction Trail are asphalt, and the I&M Canal State Trail is limestone screenings. Some of the course will be along street routes. District Police Officers will assist riders at street crossings.
The event is open to all ages, but is recommended for individual riders of at least 11 years of age. In addition to bringing their own bikes, all riders are urged to wear safety helmets and to bring drinking water.
Pre-registered riders will be able to check in at 9:00 a.m. at the event. The first 1,000 pre-registered riders to check in will receive a free T-shirt. (Please note that size choice is not guaranteed.) All pre-registered riders will also be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a bicycle courtesy of Wal-Mart!
Two things which should not happen always do.
- Poll any suburban group and you will always find that they are disdainful of “welfare” The complaint they lodge is that nobody should knowing not prepare for their own future and personal welfare. They should assume the burden of essentially being prepared. Yet you will always find folks in that group of “welfare-haters” showing up to rides like Ride The Rock without ever having looked over their bikes and/or brought tools and spares to fix flats or whatever else might be wrong with their bikes.
- Tea Party types are always going on about wasteful government spending. They hate bailouts, freebies and other acts of frivolous spending. They even loathe the idea of bicycle paths because these represent an inordinate amount of spending on a very few individuals that could be put to better use paving over fields for strip malls and parking. So why would a devoted Tea Party person show up at a Ride The Rock event?
The Welfare Queen
Don’t get me wrong. I too am not in favor of needless welfare. But because of that position I try to take the time to always be prepared to make it on my own. I don’t believe in showing up at a group ride and turning to the fellow parked next to me to ask if I can borrow his floor pump.
I knew before arriving that I was going to need that pump so why would I expect someone else to schlep theirs to the event just so that I could borrow it? That doesn’t make sense and frankly mocks my supposed disgust with the Welfare System. I try never to live in daily life as I think others should not.
But today was one for my personal record book. Three college girls were standing on the side of the trail that runs past Joliet Junior College. Two were up ahead waiting on the third who was fiddling with her bike. Connie and I offered help and backed up to assist. It seemed at first glance that her chain had simply been “dropped”. But then it appeared that her front derailleur was simply not being moved when she shifted. But finally it became clear that the reason the chain kept “dropping” was because the rear cassette had come apart.
The smallest cog was no longer being held onto the cassette because the small ring that screws down onto the set of cogs and spacers was either missing or had come loose. I did not have that particular tool with me. Besides I would not bother carrying in unless I was on a self-supported tour. Besides the chances of it failing as had this one are quite slim. But what I will do is check before leaving the house that my drivetrain is in working order. She had clearly not done this. She was officially (at least in my book) a Welfare Queen.
She probably would balk at having that title applied to her but that is in essence the tack she had taken by not being prepared and having to rely on others for assistance, the essence of a Welfare Queen. Ronald Reagan would have no doubt disagreed as well. He would have blathered on about being a good neighbor and assisting. But I won’t let Conservatives get off that lightly. If you come unprepared and knowingly do so, you are a Welfare Queen (and that term for me is gender-neutral).
Tea Party Hogs
Now my other pet peeve is when I come across a fellow who is always blathering about government spending. He finds it wasteful to spend good money on social programs which are better put to use in buying more bombs and military hardware. And he loves to poke fun at the kind of spending the bureaucrats in Washington do when giving themselves holiday parties. And I agree it is difficult sometimes to justify a $15 shrimp when budgets are tight.
So I am always surprised to see fellow recumbent riders on the Ride The Rock event who hurry to get in line first so that they can get on the trail ahead of everyone else and enjoy a better assortment of food goodies. The ride is free and has to my knowledge been funded in the past by the Will County Forest Preserve. This year Provena St. Joseph Medical Center is a co-sponsor, but this is still a county hosted event.
I mean if you think that bike paths are irrelevant why then attend an event like this? I guess if there is FREE FOOD you can get anybody to hold his nose and enjoy the pickings. It’s just hard to reconcile this sort of personal greed with the political stances they taken in personal debates.
The Rain Came
The other thing that always leaves me speechless is the amount of money bicyclists spend on their riding kits. For those of you who are not bicyclists the “kit” is the clothing we wear. You know the shoes can cost $300 and the jerseys alone are over $80 at times. The Lycra/Spandex pants are probably $60 and those chintzy gloves we wear are $20.
And then there are the items of outwear. Most bicyclists have leg warmers and arm warmers that they wear when the short jerseys and riding shorts are not enough in the cooler parts of the day. And if you find a rider who has joined a club he no doubt has at least one Gortex jacket in yellow or red that is used on a fairly frequent basis when the warmers can’t quite accomplish body temperature maintenance.
But the reason for the jacket and also at times the Goretex pants is because they are rainwear items. So why then do bicyclists always cancel their rides when it rains? Now that one really puzzles me. It would seem that if you ended up spending close to $200 for a rain suit you would feel obliged to ride in the rain, right? How else are you going to justify spending all that money?
But no. At the firs sign of rain most clubs will cancel their rides and try to convince themselves that riding in the rain is so dangerous as to warrant a pat on the back for their having grasped this reality and avoid serous injury. So why then do they buy suits designed to allow them to ride in the rain?
My guess is that I’ll get an good answer to these questions right after Black Christians can explain why they are against Gay Marriage but have no stomach for kicking guys like Bishop Eddie Long out of the pulpit for being a pedophile. And why guys like Ted Haggard can light up sermons for years preaching against the homosexual lifestyle only to be discovered to be using the services of a male prostitute who no only helps him relieve his sexual frustrations but also sells he amphetamines. And when Ted is asked about his status he denies being a homosexual but rather defines himself as a “heterosexual with issues”.
I’ll have to jot that one down as a keeper in the pantheon of lame excuses for contradictory behavior.
Distance: 14.3 miles
Time: 1h 30m 25s