The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Recently I was asked by a couple guys if I would let them know when the next sewer tour was happening. Like any other ride.......they happen when someone wants to go. After a few phone calls over the following days we had a day picked and a small crew put together for a tour. Along for the ride were the usual suspects Vandy and Best in Schow, the new guys included Crash, Dusty, and legendary shop owner Peaches.
Fat-Bikes ready to ride
The six of us met around 6 pm at an undisclosed parking lot and rode to another undisclosed location to begin the real part of the ride. Best in Schow and myself choose this particular drain because it had been about a year since we had been there, it has a tricky entrance, and it would be new for Vandy as well as the others. Getting in via hand-line over deep water went smoothly and soon we were headed upstream.
Best in Schow led the way while I took a slower pace at the back keeping an eye out for any new artwork since our last visit. The artist's have been busy, there were lots of new "paintings" to see which makes it interesting every time I come back. On our way up stream we all noticed a faint odor of spray paint, and at the entrance there was a new piece of webbing tied off in a manner that would ease someones exit. There were also wet tracks made in the dry concrete floor alongside the subterranean river in which we were following. Someone else was down there for sure.
The main feature of this drain is the helix, being on bikes makes short work of the effort it takes to get there, another reason I like to go slow...the ride lasts longer. Once at the helix we descended the 170 + stairs to the top and continued on down the pipe. It eventually narrows to a height in which a bike no longer can be ridden...this is where we turn around. The air smells of petroleum of some sort and I don't really care to spend much time there anyway. Crawling further down the tube looks boring as well. We never did see the "artist", but did find his/her stash of spray paint cans, dust mask and nitrile gloves all neatly kept in a plastic bag down a side chute. We surmised they made a hasty exit to the surface via a nearby manhole, as the thundering sound of six fat-bikes,(some with studded tires) came closer. On our way out we stopped briefly at the bottom of the helix and enjoyed some Captains Wafers I bought at the dollar store.
We contemplated hitting another drain but everyone rode so fast they were all soaked. Disappointed with the thought of the night being over so soon, I had them agree to further tours at a later date. The exit went without incident, no one fell in the water and everyone rode back to the vehicles with a smile.