Saturday Morning Rides
By Steve Rapp:
Every city or town worth its bicycle grease has at least one good regular organized group ride. Walla Walla’s is on Saturday mornings throughout the year. The Hailstoners, as we are affectionately called, meet at the Rose Garden on the southwest corner of Pioneer Park, at the intersection of Division and Whitman Streets. Meeting times vary from 8:00 am in the winter to 7:00 in the summer, and 7:30 in the shoulder seasons.
The group is very casual. There is no website, no Facebook page and no phone tree. There’s no dues, no officers of the ‘club.’ Club business usually takes place on the ride, and consists of such weighty matters as the new potholes on Such and Such road, the new pavement on So and So road or the chip seal on That Other Road. Notifications of rides are by email, though anyone who receives the email already knows where the ride starts and at what time.
Newcomers and one-timers are always welcome. The ride leader usually asks fresh faces to introduce themselves.
The rides generally average 16 or 17 mph, and go for a couple hours. There are always regroup points, though no one is left behind and no one goes ahead enough to get out of sight.
The group is dedicated- witness the regularity of rides on every Saturday- but not hardcore. The rides are not testosterone-fests. They always end at the Olive Café downtown for coffee and story-telling.
The Hailstoners acquired our name after one time getting caught in a hailstorm about 20 years ago. Sometimes the name gets abbreviated to Stoners, but maybe that’s because most everyone grew up in the sixties or seventies, or are children of that generation.
Attendance varies, but 15 is a decent showing this time of year. Thirty riders or more is not uncommon on a good day in the summer.
The route depends on the ride leader. Sometimes it’s hilly, sometimes flat, always scenic. We even see new roads now and then. I’ve lived here for 17 years, but on a recent ride, I discovered a road new to me on a Stoners’ ride. I always enjoy new pavement, but this was especially sweet because it’s narrow, barely two lanes, which makes me think of Europe, the genesis point of cycling. I’ve never ridden in Europe, but I’ve heard, read and seen on race footage enough to have developed a romantic image of riding there.
If you’re coming to town and looking for a group to ride with, join us. You can get ride details at Allegro Cyclery at 200 E. Main Street, or 509-525-4949. If you are unable to bring your bike, rentals are available at Allegro.