Tobie is ultra handsome. I mean it. He also, according to Surly Sales Kilt, John Fleck, wears "crisp boots." I aspire to crispness, but rarely achieve anything past brittle fragility. Anyway, Tobie helps guide the blackriver social ride mapping ship through the turbulent waters of the internet, and he had this cool idea about which I will now tell.
Blackriver (which is normally not capitalized, but is here due to its placement at the beginning of this sentence) allows for groups - such as we at Surly - to create challenges that will possibly provide you, the bike nerd, with the motivation to ride some particular route. There is a carrot, but there is no stick.
To this end, we've joined forces with some bike shops we dig. If you live near them, or can get to near them with your bicycle, you can join up in what we're calling the "Writes of Spring Challenge." Below are the links to four rides created through the blackriver app by these bike shops:
Topanga Creek Outpost
If you live in the Los Angeles area (as I have heard some folks do), this is a great place to get to. Friendliness drips from the staff here as if they've just bathed in it.
Edgewater, Colorado is like Denver. Levi and Co. have more cool ideas before the store opens in the morning than most people will ever have ever, ever. Get there.
The Hub Co-Op
Minneapolis is graced with a lot of groovy bicycle people. Most of them work at the Hub. They do great things for bikes, for people, and for our fair city.
Piloted by the effervescent Watts Dixon, Revolution brings the funk and tastes the rainbow in Greensboro, NC. You'd do well to be in such a place as this.
Now, here's how it works. Ride one of the rides linked above, get your buns to the shop what wrote it, receive a handy and stylish Surly Field Notebook for no dollars AND get a one time 10% discount on some parts and accessories at the shop. Simple. Fun. Healthy. Brutal. Pleasant. (note: if you do this today, like right now, the shop may not yet have the field notebooks because, well, I'm in charge of this end of things. Give it a day or three before you roll in to receive your goodies. But ride, damn you. Ride!)
Here are the official how-tos from Tobie:
Create a blackriver account and “Join” the Challenge
Track your ride with the blackriver app or a Garmin (see below for more details on using a GPS device).
Hit “Finish” and Save your ride.
You'll receive a confirmation of your success and then you can visit the shop to redeem your reward.
Feel free to add some words and images to your Ride Story and share on social media using #SurlyWritesofSpring
You can use the blackriver app to navigate by selecting "Start a pre-planned ride" from the opening Ride screen and then select the Challenge to begin following the route in the map window.
If you want to use a Garmin, start by syncing blackriver with Garmin Connect on your profile page. Then, Export the TCX file of the Challenge to your “NewFiles” folder on your Garmin to navigate. Whether you ride with your Garmin or the app, just save and upload the ride and blackriver will confirm that you rode 90% or more of the route. When it confirms your ride, it will send you a congratulations email.
I would like to thank Topanga Creek Outpost, YAWP, The Hub Co-op, Revolution Cycles and blackriver for getting together on this. I know it's "business" and everything, but I genuinely like these people and supporting their efforts is probably good for you. I know it is for us.