Tour de Solstice #5

December 22nd, 2012 Andrejs Posted in Tour de Solstice 2 Comments »

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.

Taking Willow Ave toward the center of town.

Taking Willow Ave toward the center of town.

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.

atalehouse-tdsThe 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.”


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Fourth Tour de Solstice

December 24th, 2011 Andrejs Posted in Tour de Solstice No Comments »

When we plan these “shortest rides on the shortest day” there’s always uncertainty about how it will come off so, when I rode down Cayuga Street toward Gimme! around a quarter after six on the day of the ride, I was really impressed and gratified to see a whole bunch of bicycles and people in yellow rain gear crowding around the front of the place.

Evidence of bicyclists gathered at Gimme!

By 6:30, we had about 18 people assembled and I thought we should leave — but was told that a couple others might still be on the way. It’s hard ever to know the exact count, but it seems we had a total of about 20 riders by the time all joined in — plus at least a half dozen who had decided to join the ride only in spirit but the brew-pub in body.

The most significant variable in such events as these is the weather and this year’s edition enjoyed another reprieve of nastiness for the duration of the ride. We’ve always been lucky in this regard, Read the rest of this entry »

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Tour de Solstice #4

December 22nd, 2011 Andrejs Posted in Tour de Solstice No Comments »

For the past several years, a few cyclists have gathered on the winter solstice to do a short ride ending at a warm place to sit, get warm, and shoot the breeze with friends. This “Shortest Ride on the Shortest Day” brings together people who are used to year-round riding with occasional cyclists and enables us all to share in the beauty of the city, the utility of bicycles, and the warmth of community. Today will be the fourth year of this event. If you can make it, do join us at the start (Gimme! at the corner of Cayuga and Cascadilla) or at the destination (Bandwagon breew pub on Cayuga near the commons).

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Another Great, Short Ride

December 22nd, 2010 Andrejs Posted in Events, Tour de Solstice No Comments »

Invaders from Planet Velo

It was quite a sizable gathering of cyclists in the dark of the winter solstice.

Tuesday evening the headlights of bikes began gliding into the parking lot next to Gaia, the Turtle, around 6:15 pm, eager to participate in the Shortest Ride on the Shortest Day. By 6:30, a group of stragglers brought the total attendance up to around 20 cyclists and we headed off to do a loop of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. Everyone had lights, though some were a bit dim and intermittent — but with the number of very bright headlights, there was no problem seeing the path for anyone. It was a really Read the rest of this entry »

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Tour de Solstice

December 12th, 2009 Andrejs Posted in Events, Tour de Solstice 2 Comments »

Sunday, December 20, 1:00 pm
Cass Park to the Commons

Meet in the parking area near the Turtle in Cass Park.
If there is precipitation, we can gather under the pavilion.

cayugastIt’s time once again for the Shortest Ride on the Shortest Day, a celebration of cycling and friendship, an affirmation that every day is a good day for a ride. Sponsored by both Bike Ithaca and Bike It, we’re looking to surpass last year’s distance by riding a full two miles this time.

Last year, we were riding in the aftermath of a pretty good snowstorm (see photos), but it only made the day more fun. Everyone is invited to join us. No special bikes, skills, orĀ  clothes are required. We’ll stay together safely as a group (or several small groups) and ride from Cass Park to Gimme Coffee on State St., using the Waterfront Trail and the public streets; then, looping past Gimme on Cayuga St, we will arrive at our destination at the Commons via Tioga St. It will be great to sit around for a while in CTB, warm up, hear more about the ride to Detroit in June as welll as other rides coming up.

One of the themes of the Tour de Solstice is to demonstrate ways of adapting to cold weather cycling. If you’ve thought about using your bike more — commuting, shopping, doing errands or just riding for exercise and fun — you’ll meet people who have done all those things and can offer sound advice. All of us can share tips and experiences along the ride.

bikeitxThis year’s event is jointly sponsored by “Bike Ithaca” and “BIKE It,” a project aimed at getting people from all over the country to bike to Detroit next June for the US Social Forum. Visit to see what’s up. BikeIT’s organizer, Claire Stoschek will give us an update on plans and opportunities.

All our cycling must at all times follow the rules of the road — stop for traffic signals, stay off sidewalks, signal turns, etc. In addition, participants in these activities must wear an approved cycling helmet.

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Solstice 2008 is History

December 21st, 2008 Andrejs Posted in Tour de Solstice No Comments »

Starting outBy one count, it was a force of 18 cyclists who showed up today for the 2008 Tour de Solstice. Juan Salazar took photos and they’re posted here: Tour de Solstice.

The streets had quite a bit of snow on them, but we could find pavement most of the way for secure riding. The worst of it was in the parking area around the High School, where the ruts left by cars and other bikes made it difficult for those of us with not-so-good mtb skills to stay upright.

Read the rest of this entry »

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