On Memorial Day, local bicycle shop The Bicycle Escape hosted a dozen bicyclists on the “Memorial Day 2013” ride, which I renamed “Rolling Spandex”, in part due to our one-motorcycle escort and the garment of choice for many bicyclists.
Roger Rinker, the brain trust behind the event, wanted to do a tour of local war memorials. He told me that “the Memorial Day ride was important to me because my father served in World War II where he lost two fingers on his right hand in combat. He also received shrapnel from a grenade and other injuries. Having him there was great. Dad is 91 but he's active and he's ready to go on our next ride.” He described this bicycle ride on the Bicycle Escape's Facebook page as “One part remembrance; One part pedaling; One part history. Our ride had participants from 3-91 years of age and members of three branches of our USA Military.”
My wife and I climbed aboard our tandem bicycle and joined numerous other cyclists, including four generations of Rinkers (youngest Geoffrey, riding in a trailer, father Tom, grandfather Roger and great-grandfather Victor) for a tour of Memorial Park, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, the American Legion and the Laboring Sons Memorial. At each stopping point, Rinker placed a small US flag and spoke, reminding each participant of the sacrifices that were made in order that we could live as we do. I thought of my father and father-in-law, who bravely fought in World War II and Korea, respectively.
Every month or so, Rinker and The Bicycle Escape host a slow-paced ride for all to enjoy. This year's have included a Groundhog Day-themed ride, one for St. Patricks' Day and one that went to the movies.
Rinker says, “I'm so happy to offer these rides, especially since anyone can join the fun. They're designed to be slow paced, usually theme oriented, and sometimes they include a surprise. The Memorial Day surprise was the motorcycle. On Cinco de Mayo we wore sombreros. On the Movie Ride we parked the bikes inside the Weinberg. We've also done a Frederick History Loop ride and the surprise was ringing the bell outside the Frederick Visitor's Center. It's all for fun and it encourage people to get out and ride. That's the best part.”
The Bicycle Escape also offers every Sunday road rides at Utica Park and weekly mountain bike rides. The employees teach classes on bike repair and maintenance. The next two classes (June 5 and 12) are specifically designed for the deaf community and will include instruction on fixing flat tires and a quick tune up clinic. Classes are free and held at the shop.
And to be fair, please patronize all three of our Frederick-area bicycle shops (The Bicycle Escape, Wheel Base and Bike Doctor), where you will not only be able to find reliable, high-quality bicycles, components and accessories, but also fine service and knowledgeable employees. Each offers various types of classes and instruction as well.