A few weeks back we attended the annual Georgia Tandem Club (aka, PEACHES) monthly ride planning event at a restaurant on the north side of Atlanta.
As a reminder for regular readers and a primer for new ones, PEACHES stands for “Pairs Enthusiastically Astride Cycles Having Experiences Simultaneously” and was the nickname adopted for the “club” by its founders, Rich Wolf & Ina Thompson back in the spring of 1998. As to why tandem “clubs” in the US tend to adopt acronyms for their club names, you can find a list of their names and some additional information in this blog entry from May 2010. And, as for being a “club”, club is more or less a metaphor for PEACHES as it has no formal leadership or any of the other trappings of a non-profit club with a board, insurance, dues, etc. The annual ride planning meeting is really just an excuse for a social event that ensures someone will be willing to lead an informal ride during the months of March – November. The planning party was yet another creation by Rich & Ina that has endured long after they left Atlanta for the warmer and more cycling-friendly climate of San Diego. Well, OK. Their kids and grandkids are out there too.
So, for some strange reason no one seemed to be interested in hosting a PEACHES ride for March. Rather than sitting out the year and not hosting a ride so that other “newbies” might have a chance as we’ve done for the past few years, we went ahead and volunteered to cover the month. Interestingly enough, when it came to picking a date we found that March really on had one weekend when all of the original “usual suspects” (or what’s left of the original usual suspects from the late 90’s) would be able to ride, so it was going to be either the 17th or 18th. We settled on the 18th, as Sundays are the days that we prefer, even though Saturdays tend to be late nights for us these days…. noting that St. Patrick’s Day was falling on a Saturday and one of our favorite local bands playing a gig at local bar.
Well, we celebrated St. Patrick’s day with our favorite band but still made it home before midnight so we’d be good to go for the Sunday ride. Thankfully, the weather also cooperated and delivered us with great weather when we woke up on Sunday morning so everything was looking good for our March PEACHES Ride.
When we pulled into the parking lot in front of Olde Towne Grille in Kennesaw, Georgia — our designated lunch stop — we were somewhat surprised to see that we were about the last ones to arrive, as 8 of the other teams who were riding had already shown up. As a special surprise, we found Ina Thompson waiting for us as well. She had been in town visiting with friends and they showed up to see us all off.
All told, I believe we started out with 7 other tandems and collected an 8th team along the route. Included in our group were two teams visiting from North Carolina — both long-time friends from past tandem rallies — so that was a very special treat. Then there were some of the usual suspects plus a new team from the local area.
The ride itself was pretty nice, if I do say so myself. Just the right mix of long downhills with gradual climbs such that you never really had to work too hard anywhere along the route. We had one moment where we lost the backmarkers from our group, and an extended stop due to a tire that went flat on one of the team’s bikes while we were waiting for another team to catch up. We also had a “stoker drop” at the mid-way store stop. Thankfully, neither the stoker or the brand new tandem were harmed in the event. About 2/3’ds of the way through the ride we picked up the 9th team — friends who live in the local area riding an intercept route — and ended up having 18 for lunch at Olde Towne Tavern and Grille for lunch.
I must say, while we’ve always been impressed with the great food, service and value that we get from Olde Towne on our Saturday visits each week (yes, we’re definitely creatures of habit), Brittany and the staff really out did themselves serving our group of 18 on Sunday. I don’t think anyone was left lacking for anything at any time, and the kitchen / wait staff were somehow able to serve all 18 of us with our meals within about 3 minutes such that we were all able to enjoy our meals together. Again, I’m somewhat biased, but I think everyone had a great time and quickly figured out why we choose to visit Olde Towne on a regular basis.
Bottom Line: I think everyone had a good time, a good ride and a great dining experience. What more could you want from a monthly club ride?