River Rides have changed over the years. Most of the time, there is a temporary change because of construction - or even changes that last several years (think of the South River Finish). Every once and a while there are whole scale changes that might involve a transition from one location to another, or a complete morph in the ride. The Thursday River Ride was identical to the Tuesday - but it is gone. You might ask yourself, has the quality of the racers changed with the disappearance of this ride? Whatever happened to the Thursday South River Ride?
River rides 1995-2001 (history of the airport ride)
I bought a used bike from City Bicycle Works from Mike Giomi in the mid 1990’s. I learned of the river rides and that’s where my riding apprenticeship started. You started on a down tube (shifting) used bike and were lucky to get a cyclometer to see how fast you were going. You just rode your bike hard and learned.
The Tuesday and Thursday south river rides were so hard that rarely did I make the front group, much less even witness a sprint. It was an accomplishment just to make it to the end and never had a chance.
The alternative ride was the generic ride. The Cutters ride. It was an eclectic group for sure that ride met every Tuesday and Thursday at guy west bridge during day light savings. There was an A and a B group. I do remember some racer types dropping in here and there, but they would never admit to it.
The Cutters always regrouped.
After the sprint on winding way, they stopped at the village park in downtown fair oaks, got water and waited for everyone - then went back to guy west via the bike trail. At some point during the year, it stayed light enough to do the airport loop.
Dave Burke was who I remembered being the one who stated next weeks meeting times and routes.
The Airport Loop went out El Centro through the then stop signs (at that time, the Saturday river ride sprint was on El Centro with no “S turns” on bayou). We crossed over at the airport and finished on north bayou just like today. We went across the road and into Swabbie’s bar (not sure if that was the name back then). We regrouped there, got water, used restrooms and commonly got a beer. We headed back and the second sprint was the city limit sign on garden highway. The ride often ended at the Thursday night market and regroup at the bar.
Over the years, many people stopped doing the Thursday south river ride for various reasons until one day, no one showed up and the “Airport Ride” was the official Thursday night race ride. Now you know why it meets at the guy west bridge.