While most of the vintage bike world was in North Carolina, the Kansas City Vintage Cycling Club attended the Tour De Barbeque, sponsored by the Heart of America Wheelmen. The weather was almost perfect as we converged on Jake Edward's BBQ Restaurant for the 9:30 start. Starting temp was around 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit, making it perfect wool jersey weather. The skies were clear blue and the winds were light, causing us to chomp at the bit to ride.
Out of 25 riders there were 4 CR members in attendance, including Sarah Gibson, proprietor of Old Town Cyclery on her Sachs 'cross city bike, complet mit der moustache bars, Calvert Guthrie aboard his excellent green Gitane Interclub, Jeremy Haynes up on his Darth Vader black early 80's Colnago Super, and your correspondent mounted on the restored '78 Trek 730. I looked long and hard at the Raleigh Pro, but the hilly streets of KC persuaded me to take a bike with a granny chainring. A quick survey showed that perhaps half the bikes on the ride were lugged steel (!?!). But the hit of the ride was my Classic Rendezvous Jersey. Several folks complemented me on my natty attire.
The route was a counterclockwise 40 mile circle through the heart of the city, starting at the south side of the loop. We passed such landmarks as the Kansas City Jazz Museum, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the 18th and Vine Historical Jazz district, and over 20 Kansas City Bar-B-Que establishments, both current and some (alas) historical. Some of the names included KC Masterpiece, Smokin Joe's, Oklahoma Joe's, Arthur Bryant's, Gates & Sons, BB's Lawn Side BBQ, and my favorite name, Li'l Jakes Eat It & Beat It.
As we reached the north end of the loop, I was dismayed to discover a fairly strong SW wind had sprung up, meaning that the ride home would be a bit more character building than I cared for. But as we climbed away from the midway stop on the Missouri River at the Kansas City River Market (and Winslow's BBQ,) several pace lines formed and the remaining miles were ground out.
At the finish we descended on the Jake Edwards tables, which were soon groaning with slabs of ribs, grilled chicken, sweet potato fries and burnt ends sandwiches ( you cut off the tips of the beef ribs and get small chunks of intensely smoky lean meat. Drench in sauce, put on a bun and enjoy.) Your correspondent tried the house special, a smoked corned beef sandwich on rye with cole slaw and beans. If you ever get to Jake Edwards, I recommend it highly. There was much debate on whether the proper post ride malt beverage was the classic Guiness pint or a stein of KC's own Boulevard Pale Ale. In spite of exhaustive taste testing, no consensus was reached.
Well, there you have it, another Vintage ride successfully completed, and the world made a better place. With luck, some pictures will appear soon on the Old Town Cyclery web site. Till then, keep your grilled meats saucy, and the rubber side down.
Tom Adams, Kansas City