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Alley cat!

Old 05-31-21, 10:20 PM
  #1  
Broctoon
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Alley cat!

I did my first alley cat race last Saturday. It was super fun. It was also pretty difficult, both physically and, um... navigationally. I invited a friend to go along and was glad I did, cause it was better with two of us putting our heads together.

I rode my Steamroller, with 48 x 20 gears. I was afraid Iíd be a bit under-geared, because it was flat terrain and my friend was on a road bike. But that ratio turned out to be just right; I never had trouble keeping up. This confirmed my long held belief that for urban riding, unless youíre in a hilly area, one gear is all you need.

One lesson learned: itís wise to pause for a few minutes at the start and lay out a course for reaching all the checkpoints in one big loop. We grabbed our manifests and just headed out, thinking we could figure out our routing as we went. Ended up crisscrossing the city several times, and when the deadline approached we found we missed one stop that was way across town. So we got all but one of about 10 stops, and made it back one minute before the cutoff. I donít know how people did these things before the internet and smart phones came along, because we relied on those technologies heavily to find the checkpoints based on clues from the manifest.

For only a $5 entry fee and enough gas to get into the city, it was one of the best times Iíve had on my bike.
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Old 05-31-21, 10:56 PM
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j_e_r_e_m_y
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Very cool - that sounds like a heck of a lot of fun for $5
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Old 06-01-21, 02:59 AM
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I'd love to do an alley cat race if the roads were closed off. I've seen videos of those races and there's no way in hell I would ride the way I've seen those kids ride.
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Old 06-01-21, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
I did my first alley cat race last Saturday. It was super fun. It was also pretty difficult, both physically and, um... navigationally. I invited a friend to go along and was glad I did, cause it was better with two of us putting our heads together.

I rode my Steamroller, with 48 x 20 gears. I was afraid Iíd be a bit under-geared, because it was flat terrain and my friend was on a road bike. But that ratio turned out to be just right; I never had trouble keeping up. This confirmed my long held belief that for urban riding, unless youíre in a hilly area, one gear is all you need.

One lesson learned: itís wise to pause for a few minutes at the start and lay out a course for reaching all the checkpoints in one big loop. We grabbed our manifests and just headed out, thinking we could figure out our routing as we went. Ended up crisscrossing the city several times, and when the deadline approached we found we missed one stop that was way across town. So we got all but one of about 10 stops, and made it back one minute before the cutoff. I donít know how people did these things before the internet and smart phones came along, because we relied on those technologies heavily to find the checkpoints based on clues from the manifest.

For only a $5 entry fee and enough gas to get into the city, it was one of the best times Iíve had on my bike.
Was this in SLC? I was going to say maybe in a culture of bike messengers they didnít need the net to get around, but I donít know if thatís a thing in SLC.
Truthfully know next to nothing about bike messengers or SLC.
Other than SLC is like Mecca to LDS members (As CO Springs is to Protestant organizations).
And SLC Punk, ďRemember son, we didnít sell out. We bought in.Ē
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Old 06-01-21, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Was this in SLC? I was going to say maybe in a culture of bike messengers they didnít need the net to get around, but I donít know if thatís a thing in SLC.
Truthfully know next to nothing about bike messengers or SLC.
Other than SLC is like Mecca to LDS members (As CO Springs is to Protestant organizations).
And SLC Punk, ďRemember son, we didnít sell out. We bought in.Ē
I used to know the Philly alley cat scene and Ive been through SLC a few times but this is the first time I heard of a SLC alley catter ............................ COOL can be KOOLER, just depends where it is
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Old 06-02-21, 07:47 AM
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Yes, it was in Salt Lake City. Itís organized by SLUG magazine, our local arts and (counter) culture magazine. Theyíve been doing it for nine years, but this was my first time.

We donít really have bike messengers. If there were any, Iím sure theyíd have no trouble finding all the checkpoints, as itís a pretty easy city to navigate. I was born and raised there but moved to the next county decades ago.

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Old 06-02-21, 08:25 AM
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I took this selfie at one of the checkpoints:




The guyís shirt says ďKeep Salt Lake nerdy.Ē I just happened to be wearing a Star Wars themed shirt myself. And I didnít notice at the time, but my helmet looks pretty Stormtrooper-ish.
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Old 06-02-21, 05:18 PM
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That does sound like a blast! I'd have trouble with all the cars/traffic/intersections and associated legal and safety concerns, but it's fun to read about! If they closed the roads- I'm all over it
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Old 06-03-21, 12:55 PM
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I did a few ~19yrs ago in OH. It was before the "fixie" scene blew-up and it was just messengers and a few fixed-riding locals. We didn't route through *that* bad of traffic in Columbus, Cincy, or Dayton. Lots of secret access paths and early MUPs mixed with quiet urban roads. It was a cool scene to be in the fringes of as a 20something.
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Old 06-06-21, 01:56 PM
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I used to love alleycats. These days I'm not that into the sort of riding you need to do in order to be competitive in them, which I'm sure makes my loved ones happier.
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Old 06-07-21, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
I used to love alleycats. These days I'm not that into the sort of riding you need to do in order to be competitive in them, which I'm sure makes my loved ones happier.
Indeed! Iím not aggressive or athletic enough to be competitive. 51 year old grandpa just out for fun. And this race seemed to be not taken too seriously, although it did offer an incentive for those who wanted to push hard. They gave away some pretty nice bikes for first prize in each of three classes.
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Old 06-09-21, 07:54 AM
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Honestly, I think I'd have fun doing one just with a chill, scavenger hunt type mentality. Hang out and have a couple beers after sort of thing. I'm only 34 and a prospective parent, and still quite athletic and competitive (P/1/2 road), it's the traffic aggressiveness that has waned. But as you mentioned, you can 'ride your own race'! Too bad I never did one while RG was here in San Diego, I think Dave Scrod put on a few. I know some of those dudes from track.
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Old 06-09-21, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
Honestly, I think I'd have fun doing one just with a chill, scavenger hunt type mentality. Hang out and have a couple beers after sort of thing.
This is the way.
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