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Want to ride in Lakewood Ranch? Join the Village Idiots

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villageidiotsLast week, I finally joined the Village Idiots Cycling Club for one of their Wednesday night rides east of I-75.
Great group, great route, great ride.

My not-so-great contribution included showing up late on a fat-tire mountain bike. I remembered my helmet, barely, but forgot to bring Gatorade. That’s just one of the reasons I brought up the rear on the D group, the fourth group, the slowest group. At the end of our 20-mile ride, I even took a short cut back to the Village Bikes shop on Main Street.

What does that make me? Visiting Idiot? Court Jester? Media Clown?
My legs were dead after the ride, but they felt great the next day and the rest of the week. Besides the workout, I enjoyed the scenery of Lakewood Ranch and neighborhoods near Linger Lodge and Braden River. Next time, I need to show up early, bring water and try to keep up.

village3iidotsDaily rides and runs
The Village Idiots — great name, by the way — ride on Wednesdays, but there are group runs and rides for every day of the week.

Many of them are free. You just show up and join in. Lots of people stick around for a beer or two.

Fleet Feet in downtown Sarasota offers Run Day Mondays. Mr. Beery’s in Gulf Gate has Hump Day 5Ks on Wednesdays. Fit2Run in Lakewood Ranch has a Tap It Run on Thursdays. The Sarasota-Manatee Bicycle Club has all sort of regular rides.

In Venice, Tuula Pakula — another great name — leads the V-Pack of runners on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
They wear neon green T-shirts. They meet at 6 a.m. at Centennial Park. They run 4 to 6 miles.
“We usually have at least 10 people,” Pakula says. “A lot of the runs you can cut short, or you can go early and do more. No dues, no newsletters, nothing like that. I think one of the guys does a blog.”

village2idiotsTropics Software
The core of the Village Idiots are a group of cyclists who work at Tropics Software Technologies in Lakewood Ranch. Some of them ride before work and at lunch, too.
Jamie Schwartz is a 26-year-old programmer who rides a road bike during the week and does mountain biking on weekends. I asked her for the pros and cons of Wednesday group rides.

“The pros of a group ride is that you ride harder, faster and longer,” she said. “The cons are the inexperienced riders who can get you hurt.”

Well, that leaves me out, even as an inexperienced rider. I’m usually so far behind the pack that I couldn’t collide with anyone.

Last modified: August 27, 2014
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