Under a full moon and unseasonably warm weather, the Ashland Dinner Club set a new attendance record September 26 with seventeen well lit riders making the trek north to Ashland.
The Ashland Dinner Club (ADC) is RABA’s group of cyclists who enjoy night riding each Wednesday evening following the regular ABC route from Laurel Park. The year-round ride will celebrate its one year anniversary in October.
The group took the opportunity to present the Virginia Barbecue Company with a Virginia Bicycling Federation, “Bicycling Friendly” award.
The Virginia Barbecue Company, Ashland’s other barbecue restaurant, is located on Route 54 (England Street), one block west of Route 1.
Owners Sarah and Jon Meyer have always gone out their way to accommodate the ADC. Though the group often arrives en masse close to the 8 p.m. closing time, the Meyers do whatever is necessary to make sure everyone is served and leaves well fed and happy.
Circumstances this week really demonstrated just how bike friendly these folks are.
Bobby Weitzel, an ADC regular, decided to bring an old Specialized bike out of storage this week for a change of pace on the ride. Apparently, Bobby failed to take his old steed out for a spin before arriving. Only a few miles from Laurel Park, Bobby sensed his rear tire quickly going flat. He was right. The group stopped, supervised the tire change, (making, of course, comments and suggestions on optimal tire changing techniques) and within a few minutes, they were back on the road, heading to a well deserved dinner.
Just south of the Elmont turn, around five miles into the 20 mile ride, it appeared Bobby’s tire was flat again. Indeed, a quick inspection confirmed the hunch. Another tube was borrowed and another tire change was made.
All in all Mr. Weitzel had a total of four flats on the trip up to Ashland.
It should be noted, too, that if you can be prepared for such a situation, Bobby had planned well; he had invited Mark Batterson, former bike racer and longtime cycle mechanic at Rowlett’s, along for the ride. Having your own bike mechanic really takes the work out of changing a flat tire. This is even more convenient than carrying an AAA card.
Though we can’t confirm this fact, we believe Bobby may have set a new club record for the most number of flats on a single ride. Surely this is a record for the number of flats per mile.
Bobby and Mark finally rolled into the Virginia Barbecue Company around 8:30 (a half hour after closing) yet Sarah and Jon were gracious enough to stay and serve them dinner. Not only were the Meyers friendly and cheerful about staying late, when they heard about Bobby’s trying experience, they packed Bobby’s bike in their car and gave him a lift back to Laurel Park, truly demonstrating how bike friendly these folks really are.
(For the record, Bobby’s mileage was corrected on the ride sheet to reflect an 11 mile ride!)
Though I wouldn’t encourage replicating this experience on your next ride to Ashland, drop by the Virginia Barbecue Company for a great barbecue sandwich and let them know we appreciate their accommodating and friendly attitude.
The Virginia Barbecue Company
600 England Street
Ashland, VA 23005