Everything came together just perfectly for the 1st Annual Rusted Chain Gang Poker Run. Scheduling an event like this in November can be risky. November can bring biting cold winds and even snow. This wasn’t the case this year though! Although it was bit brisk to start off, things started warming up as we got past noon.
One of the best things about this Poker Run, is that my family didn’t have to drive anywhere! Usually we have to go to Tahoe or Reno for an event like this. Riding your bicycle to a bicycle event is much more rewarding and far less stressful. We pedaled three miles to the registration location, and I was stunned when I arrived. There were bicycles everywhere! I didn’t know what to expect with an event in a small town. I wasn’t sure if the people in Reno and Tahoe would make it down, but all the usual faces were there, and many new ones too. We saw riders from the Gonads and Strife Bike Club out of Reno, and the Slow Rollers from Lake Tahoe. Even the bike shop owners were able to sneak away on a Saturday. I saw Dan from Bicycle Authority, Dennis from Bike Habitat, and Keith from Big Daddy’s. All these shops kicked in prizes for the event, ranging from cruiser bikes to riding jerseys.
We did a few night cruiser runs with Rusted Chain Gang leaders, Mike and Mary, and this Poker Run largely followed the same route. From the High School we took quiet back roads that paralleled HWY 395. We rode through parks and the historical Minden “downtown”, only encountering traffic at a few of the busier intersections. At the busier intersections, the large mob of cyclists was able to stop traffic and provide safe passage for all. Most (but not all!) motorists were tickled to see the huge parade of bicycles, many of them smiling and waving. Many homeowners doing yard work stopped working and stared in disbelief as the mass rolled by their houses.
There were some good stops along the way, Minden Park, The Pizza Barn, The Coyote Bar and Grill, The Antioch Coffee Company, and Big Daddy’s Bicycles. The Pizza Barn had mini pizzas and $1 New Belgium Fat Tire Ale specials for Poker Run riders! We took advantage of both. They had many of the pizzas pre-cooked, so service was pretty fast. This worked out great, because it can be hard to get food on some Poker Runs. People are usually ready to roll before you can order your food!
The Coyote Bar and Grill didn’t have any drink specials, but they were serving some pretty tall beers! Kristy and I got a couple Sierra Nevada Celebration Ales and proceeded to celebrate. It was time to roll again before we finished our beers, so many of us rode with one hand as we nursed our brews to the next stop, The Antioch Coffee Company. I didn’t order any coffee, since I was still trying to get through my Celebration Ale. I was in line to get my next poker card, and decided to take off my vest. In the process I dumped half of my beer on the floor! I thought I would inconspicuously go grab some towels, when I heard someone yell, “We need some towels over here!”. I went over and intercepted the towels and cleaned up my mess.
We rolled on to Big Daddy’s Bicycles, the final stop on the ride. Excitement was pretty high, since it was time to see who had the high Poker Hands, and see who would win the raffle prize, the New Belgium cruiser. There were six bikes to give away in all! To ensure a better prize distribution and make it fun for everyone, there were categories for the high poker hands; mens, womens, and three kid bikes for the boys and girls. This lucky lady in the picture was the recipient of the New Belgium Cruiser. The bike was very nice with some very trick parts and accessories. She was in shock, but we all coaxed her into taking a victory lap! After the festivities ended, the family and I rolled back home. I was pretty proud of my son for putting in all those miles, and was glad to see him having so much fun cycling.
Congratulations to Mike and Mary for putting on such a successful event! Mike says he plans to do a spring and fall event next year, so I’ll let you know when these events come up. I haven’t heard of anymore events scheduled for this year, but I may try to get something together in Carson City before too long. Stay tuned…
More pictures of this event can be found HERE.