This morning (Saturday, February 2) I tagged along with about 25 other bicyclists on The Bicycle Escape's First Annual Groundhog Day Bicycle Ride. We began at the Clemson Corner shop at nine in the morning under partly sunny skies and a very frosty 19 degrees with a destination of City Hall.
Organizer Roger Rinker's payload included a slightly stuffed version of “Frederick Phil”, a rather cuddly little groundhog, whose future was to include being lifted from a basket by Mayor Randy McClement in the hopes that he would not see his shadow, thereby forecasting an eagerly awaited early Spring for Fredericktonians.
I saddled up alongside Alderman Kelly Russell, who brought along her own tiny mascot, another stuffed fellow that bore a strong resemblance to a smelly black creature with a white streak along its back that I struck on my bicycle on a Winter ride several years ago, leaving an odor which did not fade from my bike for almost an entire year.
Our large contingent rode slowly but jubilantly along deserted Frederick streets for about four miles, finally reaching City Hall at about 9:30, many of us with freezer-burned fingers and toes. We quickly went inside where hot chocolate awaited us. I wrapped my frozen hands around the warming cups as the feeling slowly came back into my fingertips while I dreamed of springtime temperatures.
Then we went back outside as the Mayor read a Groundhog Day proclamation (“Frederick Phil, seer of seers...”) and carefully eased the tiny, furry rodent out of his basket. Within seconds, under a now cloudy sky, Mayor McClement pronounced that Frederick Phil had not seen his shadow, thereby predicting an early Spring, which is music to the ears of any cyclist, especially ones with freezing fingers, toes and giblets.
After a short “meet-and-greet” session with the Mayor and Phil the Prognosticator (and more pictures than a paparazzi invasion of Lindsay Lohan on a driving trip to the 7-11 store), we embarked on our freezing return trip to the bike shop, where more hot chocolate and cookies awaited us. After an hour I was warm enough to ride home.
What a GREAT ride!
I think I'll do it tomorrow. And Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday....And...