Monday, June 17, 2013

How Did I Get Here?

I realize that anyone reading this Booger probably thinks I don't even OWN a bicycle anymore. I haven't posted a ride report in a while now and hardly ever mention even minor details of a cycling nature. But ironically, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I have almost 2000 miles under my wheels so far this year, which is equal to ALL my miles for last year. I'm riding more than ever.

What's happening is that I am living on my bike these days. Oh, I'm still sleeping in my old trailer at the Pines, but that is about all I do there. These days, absolutely unemployed, I work a kind of route. If I get up early enough (when it is not yet over 80 degrees F) I will usually chug a cup of hot black Folger's instant coffee and head out on one of my three twenty-five or thirty mile loops. I'll come back to the trailer, grab a quick shower then stuff my computer into the Goodwill messenger bag and head for the Library, or the Blonde's, for free wi-fi and air conditioning. I check e-mail and scan for any comments on my pages; I read any new postings from my friends and make my comments and then, if I'm at the library, I dive into the shelves to find a couple books for the night's reading.

If I'm at the Blonde's I raid her refrigerator and play round after round of mindless online poker. Then, off to the trailer where I ditch the computer and drink another couple cups of coffee before I head back out, this time for my evening float. I float slowly around the neighborhood. The object is, as soon as I am in the saddle, to start up a daydream. How I will remodel the trailer, the off-grid houseboat I will never build. How I will spend my lottery winnings, if I ever get a dollar so I can play. I dream many dreams; money-making schemes, all the great things I may still one day accomplish, I dream about old friends and places I have been. I can float-ride for three hours just assembling my dream bicycle, going over in my head the merits of SRAM vs. Shimano. I build a dazzling home bike shop in my mind...

The goal, on my evening Float of Quiet Desperation, is escape. I'm getting outside my head and getting in some miles. I drift aimlessly about my home, where I know all the quietest streets where absentmindedness will not result in death. A successful ride is one in which at some point I look up and I am momentarily disoriented. I am, just for an instant, disoriented and don't remember pedaling to this place, a few miles from home. “How did I get here?” I ask.

It all results in many, many slow miles. My trusty old Schwinn, recently reduced to one gear, is perfect for this pursuit. No shifting, no sound, just slowly spinning pedals and an overloaded soul working hard to drop the weight, unloading the burden, the concerns, the slowly dawning realization that this might be it, this might be it...

Then, as the sun says 'Fuck it, man, let's call it a day,” I do the same and: turning on my headlight and blinking red taillight, I get into the drops and blast home, pushing hard, taking crazy chances in the twilight in highway traffic and cutting really fast into the turns and riding like the devil was after me and getting home for another quick shower, some clean dry clothes and the books. I brew some tea, turn on my reading lamp and grab whatever book I have set aside for the night.

I do this every day. It sounds idyllic, and in many ways it is...but I'm losing my fucking mind. I am a draft animal, a hustler, a problem solver and one of those guys who brings his work home. The Blonde, stuck with recent financial disasters, was forced to cut off my beer and rum allowance. That's not an inconsequential amount of cash, given my thirst. That was two weeks ago. Abruptly finding myself sober, I looked around and said, “How did I get here?”

I don't like it. I was happy with what I had when one of those things was plenty of beer and rum. Beer and rum and bicycles was all I needed. But now...


  1. Love the idea of the float - sounds much more fun and productive then sitting in front of the TV, which I do too often, I might have to give that idea a try. I got in a 24 miler on Saturday during a visit down to Portland to see friends. In a way its kind of silly to do a 360 mile round trip by car so I can do a 20 mile bike ride but it was fun to hang out afterwards, drink beer I had actually earned and shoot the breeze with friends I have known forever. As you know TJ jobs and money don't solve all the problems of the world, and create many of their own!, but I hope you can find something that you enjoy and that will fill the BRB coffers to the point of contentment.

    Tailwinds Velo Brother


  2. I'm going to learn to brew my own. Meanwhile, change is on the horizon. Good change, I think. Thanks, Ryan!


  3. Wow, How did I miss this one? Floating is an awesome concept. Unfortunately there are few quiet streets here that I could attempt it on. I like the idea of dreaming and planning in your head while riding, it makes it all make sense somehow. I hope the good changes do materialize.



    1. Thanks Dan! I'm trying to post up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Starting Friday I am serializing the book I never wrote, while I see about straightening out mounting problems with my financial condition.


  4. Hey tj,
    I enjoyed reading this post but I have no real comment that might have any kind of meaning.
    I believe that I am also a problem solver in this life, but I never seem to solve my own....just everybody's about me.

    Weird way to go through a life.