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Big Dam Bridge Century

Old 06-29-19, 07:08 AM
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Big Dam Bridge Century

(I originally posted this in the Southeast Regional Rides & Events sub. But since that is a pretty niche & infrequently atttended sub and it's been nearly 24 hours I figured I would post it here.)So, Mrs. Base2 & I will be flying from Seattle to Arkansas with our S&S coupled travel bikes to ride the Big Dam Bridge ride in September.

I was wondering if anyone here has any experience in the event, and if there was anything we should know or to expect about the course, the terrain, the local cycling norms, etc...

We already have tickets to the event & lodging in downtown Little Rock is paid for....So where is a good place to hang out? What's good to eat? Any bars worthy of mention? Night life/comedy clubs? Parts of town to avoid?

Seeking all input, here.
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Old 10-01-19, 10:21 AM
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Well, having done the full 100 mile ride I have a few observarions. In no particular order:

1) It is hot A F.

2) "Car back!" is meaningless.

3) On full-on 55mph roads with wide 3, 4, 5, heck, 10 foot shoulders it is perfectly acceptable to ride at any place in the travel lane 2 or 3 abreast.

4) A single rider centered in the lane, or even better all up on the double yellow is even better than near the right on on the wide safe shoulder.

5) If a car is trying to pass the expected & proper behaviour is to continue impeeding it's progress.

6) The police do a good job harassing white Ford Rangers that harass & behave aggressivly towards cyclists.

7) Stereos/music is totally permissable while riding.

8) Classic rock is still the most popular form of music.

9) Pickles & pickled things.

10) Pickle juice to replace lost potassium really works.

11) Peanut butter gets mixed with jelly prior to application to bread. My kindergarten friends Mom used to make pb&j like this. Blast from the past. :smile:

12) Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-in's & Dives should be regarded as a subject matter expert. (Holy eph...good eats)

13) What is considered "hilly" in Arkansas is considered flat in the Pacific Northwest. Ref 100 miles, 3500 feet elevation gain.

14) There was 1 crash fatality. The awesome & knowledgable organizers seamlessly re-routed in a professional manner around the affected section such that you couldn't even tell there was a route change. Good job organizers.

15) Little Rock is a totally walkable & pedestrian friendly city.

16) Racism is alive & well. ("You gunna speak n-glish er is you gunna keep-on with that funny talk?")
The antidote is to actually engage in genuine conversation. People really do want to talk about & share their experiences. This fills me with hope.

17) '92 Ross Perot campaign t-shirts are considered bad form. But nobody will say anything to your face about it.

18) The local art scene is a very happenin' place.

19) The military & military service has grown to a cult like status. Awkward.

20) Efficiency is not even a consideration when (at a higher cost) you can just throw horse power at a problem. (Air conditioning, building codes, electricity/water conservation, 10 mpg giant trucks, & lifted jeeps etc...)
20b) Lotsa bad-*ss trucks & shiny muscle cars.

21) Prius', hybrids, electric vehicles, etc, are unavailable to rent at any price. Reference 15, above.

22) Institutional authority.

23) Barbecue. (Yum!)

24) Black bean burgers on every menu. Veggie options abound. Both unexpected & welcome.

25) Diet & exercise related diseases are the norm. Having a self-inflicted disability seems cultural at this point.

26) People dance.

27) Arkansas is a fantastic place to visit. To go have a good time. To ride your bike. To experience warm & friendly people. To go and experience a whole 'nother side of American culture with it's own strong sense of place, belonging, community, and identity.

That's it for now.
...And just for the record, I fully expect a full dressing down & recap of any southerners observations from their travels to Seattle. We are a bit weird and self-absorbed up here from time to time.

Last edited by base2; 10-01-19 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 10-01-19, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post

7) Stereos/music is totally permissable while riding.
No. Don't do that. MAYBE if you're with a group of your friends and no one else is around, but don't assume anyone else wants to listen to your music. That makes you the slow motion equivalent of a thump thump car.
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Old 10-01-19, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
No. Don't do that. MAYBE if you're with a group of your friends and no one else is around, but don't assume anyone else wants to listen to your music. That makes you the slow motion equivalent of a thump thump car.
Oh, no worries! I was just surprised by the number of bluetooth enable speakers blasting motivational "power" songs as people tried to dig out that last nth of effort for a hill or whatever.
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Old 10-02-19, 07:30 AM
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Unfortunately we do have riders with bad form (re #3 , #5 ) here, but be honest, I'm sure that exists everywhere, including the PNW. Though I wish I had any roads here in AL to enjoy a wide shoulder. Rare.

But my landlord owns a Prius, several of my riding buddies have Priuses or Teslas. I even bought my daughter a Prius (and she's an artist). But yes, big-a$$ pickups are #1 , with oversized SUVs running alongside.

And you weren't aware of the benefits of pickle juice up in the PNW? It's a life-saver down here. Come on down to 100* in Oct (unfortunately, we are setting temp records right now).
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Old 10-04-19, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
Unfortunately we do have riders with bad form (re #3 , #5 ) here, but be honest, I'm sure that exists everywhere, including the PNW. Though I wish I had any roads here in AL to enjoy a wide shoulder. Rare.

But my landlord owns a Prius, several of my riding buddies have Priuses or Teslas. I even bought my daughter a Prius (and she's an artist). But yes, big-a$$ pickups are #1 , with oversized SUVs running alongside.

And you weren't aware of the benefits of pickle juice up in the PNW? It's a life-saver down here. Come on down to 100* in Oct (unfortunately, we are setting temp records right now).
No, up to now, the only place I'd ever heard of Pickle Juice was here at bikeforums. I know what to Amazon now

I did see a few privately owned Prii, I just couldn't find any to rent so I expanded my search to electric, etc...For whatever reason the big agency's (Hertz, National, Avis, etc...) Just didn't have non-gasoline only even as available an option. I wonder if it has to do with customer preferences & what actually gets chosen in the local market. There is no point in carrying a product customers reject, after-all.

On to my overall (efficiency) point, though: The wall of my hotel was warm to the touch. The double pane glass was uncoated. The aluminum window frame actively conducted heat into the hotel room. As a result air conditioner never shut off. Burning about 2kw/hour (30 cents) The toilet used about 3.5 gallons per flush. The sink used 2.2 gallons per minute & the showerhead about 5 gpm...That's a lot of self imposed cost/overhead/profit opportunity the hotel has control over but chooses to ignore. For the 260 room hotel I stayed at, that's $1900 profit daily up in smoke on individual room air conditioning alone that could largely be addressed with a radiant heat reflecting decorative facade and a different choice of windows.

The water bill (and waste water) could be cut to 1/5th with .5gpm sink aerators, $9 Niagra 1.25gpm showerheads & Niagra .8 gallon per flush or .5/.8 gallon dual flush toilets.

Then there is the cost/saving of not needing to heat so much water.

In addition, turning the room hot water service loop (and all it's associated losses) down from 150(!) degrees to a more shower friendly 120 degrees would further reduce energy waste/cost.

I pass no judgement. The can run their business however they like. It's their right to do so. I was just surprised. Our original hotel, Hotel Frederica, shut down & kept our $387 a week before we arrived. They blamed "taxes" in their email. But in seeing how wasteful our LaQuinta was, I can't help but wonder if "taxes" was the real reason considering the general blindness towards efficiency...especially where profit is involved. The South does have a reputation for fiscal conservatism, afterall.

It was refreshing to see the majority of pick-ups actually being used as pick-ups...You know, muddy with a bed full of a tree stump, hauling a trailer loaded with a tractor, an excavator or the like. Around here, (Seattle) they are mostly highly polished, 4 door, short bed, lifted, luxury status symbols for that rare combination of farmer/diplomat that needs his pick-up to simultaneously ferry around some head-of-state & carry his meat smoker. In the South they were tools being used for a purpose. In general, with one exception, they were courteous. To both, I say: "Right on!"

As far as "bad form" from #3 & #5 , Thank you. Maybe it's local norm, maybe not. At first I was shocked, but after 6 hours of riding the novelty wore-off & I assumed it was just considered normal there. Maybe it could be a learning/training opportunity for the local cycling advocacy group. (Critical Mass?) Of course, cyclists have a right to the whole road, & I don't dispute that, but maybe there is an opportunity for adding "discretion" to the list of skills they would like to advocate. Culture takes a long time

Last edited by base2; 10-04-19 at 02:53 PM.
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