Copilot C and I should be maneuvering our tandem through the wobbly early-season crowds on the Des Moines Mayor's Annual Ride for Trails right now.
Should be. We sent in our forms on March 31, getting in well under the deadline for "$20 per person" registration. But when I stopped at City Hall yesterday to get our packets, we weren't on the list, and the bank says our check never cleared. So we had two choices: Pay again (at the procrastinator's "$25 per person" rate) or show up really early this morning to fight the crowds and find the one person who might know if our check actually arrived, since the location where checks were mailed is different from the packet pickup location and seemed to involve an entirely different staff than the people at packet pickup (it would also appear that the one person with all the answers has no phone, or the packet pickup people don't know that number). Of course, if we found that person only to get the same "dog comprehending long division" look we were getting at City Hall, then we're back to $25 a head with no guarantee that they'll have any t-shirts left, since in the eyes of the ride "organizers", we were just another pair of procrastinating schlubs who should have sent in a check on, say, March 31.
We chose Option 3: Blow off the whole mess. See, we have a long and sordid history of failure with this particular (dis)organized ride. A few years ago, we used their Paypal option to sign up, only to find that they let our credit card get hacked in the process. $400 worth of World of Warcraft gold later (and lengthy chats with both our credit card company and Paypal -- ever try to prove that you didn't purchase virtual goods in an online game you don't even play?), we swore off that particular mode of payment. With this new and exciting failure, I think we're just swearing off the ride as a whole.
For the record: We both support the City of Des Moines. We've lived, worked and paid taxes within its borders for ten years now. We support Des Moines trails, having ridden on them (and enjoyed them, save for that one pesky little femur-breaking crash) for just as long. I'm the most rabid non-native supporter of the 515 you'll ever find. Heck, I even like the new design of the Mayor's Ride t-shirts, and they offered it in gray this year, my favorite t-shirt color ever. But I think we're just not meant to go on this particular "organized" ride. Ever.
Okay, steam blown off, now it's time for a real ride.