Bike rides take you places you never knew were there

As we often do on Saturday mornings, my long-time friend John Darwin and I yesterday met up for an early-morning bike ride around Nashville. We ride in-town (anywhere between West Meade and Inglewood) and take our time. Conversation and serendipity are the only destinations we have for such rides.

Sometimes, when we’ve started early enough, we decide to include breakfast somewhere along such rides. Yesterday, we decided to stop at the Edgehill Cafe, a great local coffee shop and restaurant in Nashville’s Music Row area.

The restaurant is next door to GreenFleet, the bikeshop owned by one of my friends met through bicycling, Austin Bauman — one of his many bike-related ventures. As another of those ventures is Austin’s extremely popular Nashville-tour-by-bike company (don’t take my word, read the reviews on Trip Advisor where the tours are ranked #2 of 33 Nashville “outdoor activities,” with #1, the pedal tavern, being an outdoor activity one seems to enjoy by the pint rather than the pedal), I thought the group of a dozen or so cyclists we saw gathering at his shop were there to start a tour. (See: My post about Austin’s Kickstarter tour-company project where I first heard about him.)

John and I stopped to chat with the group (John stops and chats with any group or individual) and discovered that it wasn’t a tour, but was a group doing a “victory ride” to celebrate the conclusion of a New York to Nashville trip during which four riders took 17-days of 46 miles-a-day rides in support of an organization called the Rally Foundation. Money raised in such “Rally Rides” support childhood cancer research, including a research project being conducted at Vanderbilt’s Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital, where, we learned, the celebration ride was to end up.

During the trek from New York to Nashville, the riders stayed at homes of families of Rally Kids, the name that refers to victims of childhood cancer who have friends who do different “rally” activities in support of cancer research, in honor of a specific Rally Kid. In the group on Saturday, along with family and friends of the riders, were some Rally Kids who have been cancer free for many years. They each had an inspiring story.

Another thing we learned: Austin started the Rally Foundation’s “Bicycle Across America” project a decade or so ago and was its first rider. The experience helped him discover his passion for bicycling and set him on the course to being the bike-preneur he is today.

So, of course, John and I postponed breakfast and joined the Rally Ride’s six mile loop around Vanderbilt with a final stop at the Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

We decided it was the best Nashville ride we’ve ever taken.