We had a few over a dozen people assemble today for the fifth annual Tour de Solstice, aka “Shortest Ride on the Shortest Day.” Ithaca had received its first snowfall of the year the previous night. We woke up to snowy roads and sidewalks, so it was a bit worrysome about a bike ride off the main roads. But, true to our mild micro-climate, before noon the whole route we were going to take was solid footing.
We began by taking what will be Phase Two of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail — crossing the two bridges on Buffalo Street, then heading past Pedal Dockers along the gravel driveways toward the new boathouses. The surface has quite a few pot holes and puddles, but with no traffic it’s easy to weave around safely. At Ithaca College’s boathouse, we’re back on paved roads all the way to Third Street and the entrance to the Farmers’ Market. We took a break to check out the Rutabaga Curling championships, which were in progress amid noisy enthusiasm, but it was hard to see past the crowds. So, we continued along the Waterfront Trail to Dey Street, where we crossed NY 13 and took Willow Ave all the way back to Cayuga St. We crossed over to Tioga Street, then took that all the way to the commons, where we walked our bikes the block or so to the Ale House.
The Ale House made a table with 14 stools around it for us, where we occupied most of the space toward the back of the place. Good soup, good beer, good conversation for the better part of an hour — the marks of a successful Tour de Solstice.
People gradually dispersed, riding home or to their waiting cars. I accompanied the last of us, the three representatives of the Southern Tier Bicycle Club, back across town to Cass Park where we parted until the next impromptu “tour.”