My Favorite Rides of 2008

Thinking back on the year, it’s rather hard to pick out just a few favorites. With over 200 rides, there were certainly a lot to choose from. I can’t say that any were bad ride (OK, maybe this one, but at least it was memorable), but a few stand out in my mind:

January 2008

A January 6th ride with Ron and Jerry of the Wednesday ride group. 36 miles of warm temps, light wind, and good company.

February 2008

On February 4th, an unseasonably warm day had me riding 50 miles, hitting both Gardner Lake and Hillsdale Lake. There were a few minutes there, taking a break along the shores of Hillsdale, where time seemed to stand still. It was as close as I can imagine getting to a perfect moment. [ ride report ]

March 2008

On March 1st I met up with Dave and his friend Chris for a warm, hilly, and terribly windy ride through northern Johnson County. [ ride report from Dave ]

On the 12th, the first Mid-Week BikeSource ride of the year. On this day it was just Ron and I on a run to Brookside, with the ride back turning into a slog against a strong and gusty wind.

On the 28th I headed over to Lawrence, where I purchased my mountain bike. It was a short test ride, but the bike felt pretty natural almost immediately.

April 2008

A ride with Reed from home up to the Kansas River on the 14th was my first metric century of the year. [ ride report ]

The annual Spring Classic ride took place on the 19th, and it was a frigid start to a somewhat grey day. But I finished up 72 miles later, tired but happy to have ridden the “long” route for the first time.

On the 29th I did my first gravel grind, a 32-mile ride through Miami County with Reed — just a beautiful day, hitting Osawatomie, Rantoul, and the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

May 2008

On the 4th I did a 73-mile Sunday ride with Dave and Reed through southern Johnson County, into Missouri, through northern Miami County, finishing up with the Twisted Sisters hills in Olathe.

On the 24th, 9Toes and I did a 50-mile gravel grind south to Louisburg on the mountain bike. Muddy roads, threats of rain, and a strong pace left me exhausted, but the ride yielded one of of my favorite photos of the year.

June 2008

June 1st was the Lone Star Century. I’d planned to do the full 100 miles, but family obligations called, so I only did 66 miles.

Biking Across Kansas ran June 6-14. I’d attempted this in 2006, but had to abort due to illness. No problems this time. Great rides throughout the week. Most memorable: The longest day of the tour — 85 miles of a brutal crosswind. It was glorious.

After BAK, I pretty much put the recumbent out to pasture, and rode the mountain bike for the rest of the year. I did two really cool rides in June: An 80-mile solo ride on the 25th and the Mullet Ride in Baldwin City on the 28th.

I ended with over 1000 miles for the month. Amazing.

July 2008

July featured a lot of local rides with Reed, most in the 30-40 mile range. My favorites were the Ride ‘Round Rantoul gravel grind on the 17th, and a re-ride of part of the Mullet route on the 24th.

August 2008

August 3rd I did my first century on the mountain bike, accompanied by Reed and Dave. It was a hot, hot day, and everyone said I was crazy to attempt it on a mountain bike, but I accomplished it, and at quite a good pace, even though I faded significantly at the end. [ ride report ]

September 2008

September opened but a hard-and-fast gravel grind with some folk from Lawrence. This ride showed me that I could almost keep up with cyclocross bikes on gravel, but not quite. This ride cooked 9Toes’ goose, and I didn’t see him back on the bike for another month-and-a-half. [ ride report ]

That ride was followed with the Tour of Missouri Pre-Pre-Ride with the fellows from the Wednesday ride group. It was nearly the same route as the previous year, with lotsa hills. But this time I was riding the mountain bike rather than the recumbent, and it was far easier (and faster). [ ride report ]

The highlight of the month, though, was a re-running of the private century Reed and I rode last year. This year, however, we opened it up to more friends, and ended up riding with a nice little group. I dubbed it the Tour de Detour do to the number of re-scheduling and re-routing required.

October 2008

The high point of October was the Steep Hills and Old Bridges ride I did with 9Toes, a gravel grind, trail ride, and bridge tour of western Miami County.

Also of note was the Dark Side Ride I did with a bunch of local riders I’ve admired for years, but never had a chance to ride with. Riding in the dark on one of the last, best nights of the year made it even more special. [ ride report ]

November 2008

November featured a bunch of solo rides, most of the gravel grind adventuring sort. I love to ride and explore new roads and trails, and I got to do a lot of that this month, particularly in Miami and Linn Counties. I want to go back there again in 2009 for sure.

The other highlight of the month was the KanBikeWalk urban ride through Topeka on the 22nd, exploring city streets and neighborhoods, as well as the Shunga Trail. [ ride report ]

December 2008

December was a lost month. I was hurt on the 7th [ see Dirt Bumbler ], and didn’t get back on the bike until the 26th. But I did make 6000 miles for the year!

Jeez, that’s a lot of “favorite” rides, isn’t it? And believe me, there are many more great rides that didn’t make the list, but are still fond memories.

Hoping for more great riding in 2009!

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.