Tour de BBQ 2011

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while.

Gotta say up front that the whole “group ride” mentality thing doesn’t really appeal to me which is why I only ride in a couple of charity events each year. Time was, the MS150 was always on my calendar but I stopped riding in that event after acquiring “lifetime rider” status and for some reason never participated again. But I’ve been supporting a couple of local rides with enthusiasm. Our local springtime tweed ride, Velocipede and Tweed Indeed, appeals to my sense of vintage aesthetic. And the Tour de Brew, a June bicycling tour of Kansas City’s breweries from the past and present – well, need I say more?

Yesterday was the third annual Tour de BBQ. With all due respect to folks in Texas and South Carolina with some legitimate claims to barbecue finesse, Kansas City is the capital in the kingdom of barbecue. No place – and I do mean nowhere on the planet – has the variety of barbecue sauces, the incredible smoked meat flavor, or the restaurant history of barbecue icons such as Olly Gates and Arthur Bryant. A bicycle tour of Kansas City, with frequent stops for samples of pulled pork, smoked sausage, smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, beans, the requisite side of dill pickle – well, that’s the ride for me!

The toughest part, I would imagine, of planning this tour is in having to decide just which stops to include. There is so much barbecue tradition in this town that you can’t ride down the road without tripping over a barbecue joint. For every place that we stopped, we passed plenty of other smoke encrusted locales along the route.

These sort of events also give me an opportunity to watch for vintage bike porn. Although most of the 2500+ riders were astride carbon fiber wonder bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, and a few city rides, there were occasional glimpses of steel lugged bikes. I waited at the start beside a couple riding Waterford touring rigs and my 1989 Paramount rested immediately in front of a 1973 Paramount… it was a Waterford family reunion! I noted several vintage Fujis and Treks, and a couple of Centurions. A nice celeste Bianchi made me think that maybe I should have ridden the Freschi to keep it company!

A nice day, a nice weekend. Good music. Bikes, barbecue, and beer. Who could ask for a better day?



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