Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm Popeye the Bicycle Man

To Be Or Not To Be
Man, I'm thinking about shutting down this Blog. Is that a form of suicide? Blogular self destruction? Who knows? I have a blast writing it, but sometimes I feel that I am short-changing both my readers if I don't kick ass at every outing.  Bike Snob does it. He consistently kept me laughing  at the beginning of my velo addiction and still does so unto this very day.   But really, how hard is it to take topical cycling news and lambast it? Snobby is hilarious and makes me LOL daily but let's face it, Lenny Bruce was funny too and look how he ended up.  Just kidding,  Wildcat.  Sort of...

A Giant Problem
I can't help but sometimes feel guilty when I keep telling about flat tires and inept cycle wrenching. I really do that stuff but who cares? What I am trying to do is share the truth that you don't have to wear super hero clothes and spend thousands of dollars for a bicycle to get out on two wheels and have fun doing it. For example: Miss Jo the new Trailer Park manager has a crusty old Giant MTB she found buried in the storage shed here at Whispering Pines Trailer Park and wants me to “Fix it.” She has been listening to me rant about bikes and got a kick out of reading about herself on my Booger and wants to get in on this “Bicycle Thing”.

Well, I am after all the Head (Only) Big Man In Charge Of Fix-It at the Park so I guess the challenge is mine to meet. Her Giant isn't a bad bike at all. It is steel (real) and wearing good-enough Shimano stuff.

So I will hang her bike in the stand and do my best. I'll make a bunch of mistakes and take forever to finish simple tasks and have arguments with the Voice and yes, I'll write about it.

What's Good For The Goose
That bad-ass old Schwinn of mine ain't the only bike I own. I also have a beat up old Mongoose Alta from the Year Of The Lord 1991 that is just as dear to my heart as the Le Tour. I had the village blacksmith English Peter chop off the vertical rear hangers and mig-weld on some gigantic BMX style horizontal whatever ya call 'ems and then removed all the dangling stuff and replace it with a short section of PVC where the cassette used to be and stuck on a single 14 tooth cog. For tires I installed a pair of Geax 1.6 Street Runners. Now she is a a fun sub-twenty pound single speed neighborhood blaster that I ride like a kid and if you guys don't have one, you should. One of Black Mountain Mike's well-heeled customers built a high-end similar bike  but as I told Mike, mine's the Trailer Park version . Which makes it more better funner 'cause I can slam around on it and trouble be damned.

Blame It On the Limes
That poor old-school Mongoose has been sitting in the corner for two months now waiting for a new rear wheel. I won't go into detail about what happened to the old rear wheel but it involved hub rebuilding while drinking and not keeping track of how Shimano did it the first time and then carelessly sweeping carefully laid put parts off the bench in order to throw down the cutting board and my tequila knife and the limes and the shot glasses and what happened later.

Coyote Again
But a couple days ago I was walking around doing deep philosophical discourse with my old friend Coyote in his trailer-yard and noticed a crusty 26 inch rear wheel stuffed up under his trailer.

“What's that bicycle wheel?” I asked, trying to sound indifferent. Coyote is a coyote.

“Nothing. You can have it.” I picked it up, brushing off the dirt and noticing the Shimano hub. I have just the tool to remove that cassette and rig this wheel up for my old Mongoose, I was thinking.

“Well, if you don't want it, I'll see if I can do anything with it,” I said.

“OK”, Coyote said.

Well, this was no steal of a deal. I steel-wooled the spokes and re-packed the bearings and scrubbed the rims for an hour or two. Then I started truing the wheel and learned a little painful learning about galvanized spokes and frozen nipples. (And I don't mean the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition kind.) Three spokes broke during the tuning process. I handily scrounged new spokes by cannibalizing the old Tequila Wheel, weaving them in and moving on. After an enjoyable Zen afternoon I found myself doing lazy figure eights in the Trailer Park Parking lot, re-enjoying my old friend the Goose and wondering about why all my best bicycle stuff seems to arrive via the Coyote.

Oh Yeah,  I Moved A Little
For example: Since the Blonde invited me to move into a different trailer, Coyote and his Ms. have been inundating me with food. Good food, too, as anyone familiar with what is sometimes called Southwest Cuisine will attest to. The other night, while I was burping on his veranda, he pulled out a very worn black leather tool roll.

“I was cruising down US One on the way home today and this bag fell off a guy on a Harley,” he said. He handed it to me. “Can you use it?” I took the stiff leather thing from my old friend and opened it.

“Any hundred dollar bills in here?” I asked. Then I noticed a small zippered pouch. “Hey, Coyote. Did you notice this little secret stash pouch?” He reached over for the bag, but I Know Coyote and held it out of reach. “Let me just look in here,” I said. The zipper was rusted but I got it open only to find a very worn old wooden-handled screwdriver. I held it up to the light of the fading sundown, then handed it to Coyote.

“Well,” he said, “You know:  Harley's.”   I nodded sagely.

“Thanks for the bag, though, brother,” I said. He gave me a little Coyote look.

“How much?” I asked.

“Five dollars?”


Thanks,  Coyote !
And so, like my twenty dollar Schwinn Super Le Tour that has become my long rider, like the wheel that saved the Goose, I now have this really cool black leather tool bag hanging from the saddle of my road bike, perfect in every way and it all somehow comes channeling through this kooky guy that I have known for so many years now and who somehow seems to be my personal cycling angel.  Which is really funny,  if you knew Coyote.

OK,  Back To Bicycles:  Today I Rode
Today I shook off the trailer park induced lethargy and repair chaos that has kept me off the bike and in the dumps and went for one of my little checking on the Ocean rides. It has sadly been three weeks since my ass has kissed the saddle. I decided trailers be damned I'm going for a ride and started out into the first real sunny morning since Irene the Hurricane graciously failed to grace our coast. It would be a nice, slow ride to the beach and maybe a quick spin back.

But no.
How Fast?
As I started limbering up my rusty legs along the river road a guy blasts by me on a Trek Y-Foil. I caught a glimpse of this sixty year old or so guy, said to myself Phred Is Dead and put the hammer down. But this was no Fred. This guy was lean and mean and had legs like a locomotive. No big deal, I think, I'll maintain a respectful distance and see what this pace is like. Faster than I want to ride, though. Why do these guys always go so fast? Or is it just when I'm around? I was really pleased with this gentleman, though. These guys usually look back about ten seconds or so after The Pass. This dude never did. He doesn't even know this homeless guy is about ten yards off his wheel and pacing.

Then he looked.

This is the moment of truth to me. Just once I would like for one of these guys to say, “Damn, not bad riding for a Hobo,” and then slack up and see what I am about. But they never do. What they do is turn back around and fall into the drops and start crankin' away like they expect me to pull up alongside and ask for some spare hhange or something.

So he poured it on and I poured it on and now he can't help himself, he keeps looking back and I'm always there and now my mellow morning ride has devolved into a life and death struggle.

Life and Death Is What You Make Of It
I'm not fast, guys. It's just that these Peacocks aren't always  fast either. They think they are, and listen, this guy was tearing me up and was after all, older than me which is pretty damned old. But then, mercifully, the turn-off for the beach came up and he kept going and I turned off.

I gave my best and loudest Trailer Park whistle and he turned and I waved and yelled Thanks! And that was that.

Time For the Philosophy
Why do I do it? I'm not sure. I have been criticized in print for “messing” with people who are on their “training rides.” How so? I'm not wheel sucking. I stay pretty far back. I'm not messing with them until they look back and are stunned to see this guy on a Crappy Old Ten Speed wearing flip flops and needing a shave Is still there. They were expecting to see a bedraggled dot on the horizon. And one time when I was catching up to a group ride I was passing this lovely girl, obviously part of the group, although a dropped part of the group. She was crying. Those fuckers had dropped her and not one of those super heroes had laid back to give her a pull or a word of encouragement.

So I guess that is why I do it.

I Am What I Yam
Hang with me, gang. The Ol' TPC is having such a rough time at the Whispering Pines lately that I find myself once again dreaming of a nice little Thirty Footer hand built by Yours Truly. I got the tools and I got the talent. What I ain't got is the pile of wood and the gumption.

Anybody sitting on a barn load of oak, spruce and cedar?

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Boat Yard

Monday, August 8, 2011

You Gotta Know When To Walk Away

Sunday Century
The Big Plan was to bust out a Sunday Century on a New-Old Route I have been wanting to get back to; it is a path that is both History-Laden and Ocean-Sided and a Favorite Old Trail of my Motorcycling Days. I was looking forward to the Ride and I was even more looking forward to slipping into my comfortable role of Orator and dealing out a little History Lesson spiced with Pithy Comments and Jocular Asides.

Don't Worry
Well, Y'all Dodged That Bullet. I Got a Flat just before the first of three little bridges that I cross on my way to Daytona about thirty minutes into the day. Somehow or another one of those stupid staples that go into, well, a stapler found its way onto the side of Old US One and hence into my new Kenda Kwest 35. The temperature at 8 AM was already so robust that I was able to locate the leak by the sweat pouring off my face and onto the tube. I was proud of having the right gear to Do the Job but the novelty has by now worn off and I would just as soon Some Genius hurry up and invent tires that don't get flat.

Remembering Karl
I mean, these Kendas have a Kevlar lining but it must be some kind of Watered-Down Kevlar. This was one of those staples that we used to shoot at each other in Fifth Grade when Mrs. Kaylor would step out of the room for a snort and Karl Latimer would run up to the desk and grab her stapler and let loose a barrage of staple fire and then put it back on the desk just as the knob of the classroom door was turning. A Freshly Fortified Mrs. Kaylor never noticed a thing and I often wonder which Penitentiary or Congressional Seat Karl ultimately found his way to.

But that staple should not have penetrated that so-called Kevlar and of course it left a Double-Hole Snake Bite that caused a little Shiver of Recognition to course its way down my spine.

On the Road Again
I got the new tube in and pedaled away Satisfied and Proud of my Self-Sufficient Cycling Techniques and then I heard a clicking sound and stopped, wondering what I had done wrong and what was clicking around back there. Imagine my surprise and dismay when I saw  a really Antique-Looking and very Rusty Safety Pin, the kind that once was used to hold Baby Diapers together back about the same time that Karl Latimer was getting his first felony conviction. WTF?

Do They Make Kevlar Diapers?
It was stuck in there just like it would be if Kevlar had never been invented (and at this point I'm not so sure Kevlar actually exists) and when I pulled it out the tire gave a very Relieved Hissing Sound as though to say  “Thanks for pulling that thing out of me” and I Sat Down to Cry.  But who could tell? It's 8:20 AM now and I look like I've been Blasted with a Fire Hose and then Rolled on the Ground and I've still got 90 miles to go. On a flat tire.

Wait! I've Got Patches!
Then I remembered the sweet new patch kit I picked up last week. It is very nice, it uses contact cement instead of the glueless patches I had been using. These patches are rubber and mounted between a piece of wax backing paper and a piece of clear cellophane and they work Real Good.  It is important to make sure you get that contact cement on in a nice even coat, though, and let it dry for five minutes or until the gloss goes off.  

And man,  I sure do wish I had those patches with me right now. But no, they are sitting on My Bench At Home where I was playing  with them yesterday afternoon. But I am not At Home (In more ways than one),   I am Here, on the Side of the Road, with my Bike and my Flat Tire and a Nice Even Coating of Sweat, Tears and Road Grime.

I'm Not Calling The Blonde
So I weighed my options. Call the Blonde for a Lost-the-Soccer-Match-Got-a-Wedgie Ride Home? Lock Up the Bike and Hitchhike to a Big Box for a new spare or a patch kit or both? Or push the bike the Ten Miles back to the house and stop on the way for a Six Pack and then Drink the Beer?

Well that was Ten Miles and Five Beers Ago and now here I sit bragging about my Spineless Quitter Attitude (SQA).   But that Ten Mile Bike Hike was Exercise Enough and these Beers sure are Cold and I have both tubes handily patched up and that Hundred Miles will still be there Next Time.

Plus I Do Kinda Have A Job
Miss Jo the New Trailer Park Manager is a little worried about my Production Record here at Whispering Pines and so we have agreed to a more Structured Operation. Actually she agreed to it. I wasn't there when she voted on it and all I got was the memo. So now I ride a spirited little 18 mile loop every morning before work or a 24 miler if I'm Feeling Spunky, (and  confident  that I can get back to The Park and Into a Trailer before she realizes I'm thirty minutes late.)

It is a fine arrangement so far and I'm starting to creep my mileage back up a bit. When I was Unemployed Completely I was Riding A Lot. I wore out the original wheel on the Old Schwinn and was living on Hot Dogs and Hand-Outs. Now that I am the Head (Only) Big Man In Charge of Fix-it, I live a far more Dignified Existence but, alas, the mileage has suffered, as I knew it would.

Another Promise I'll Probably Break
But Fear Not, Fair Readers! I vow to ride at least one Sunday Century a month and come on here to brag or complain about it. I got one in on the Fourth of July (I mistakenly reported it as 80 miles but miscalculated my miscalculations).  August is,  after all, a Young Month and I will Find a Way.

Why Do You Do It?
My fascination with Long Miles is a simple one: I occasionally fantasize about riding the Trans-Am or the Southern Tier across America and I am always following at least one rider at CrazyGuy. Right now I am following two guys who are traveling two very different trips on the Same Road. Both are excellent writers and the juxtaposition of their diametrically opposed outlooks makes for a fascinating point-counterpoint Tour of Our Country. (See Jeff Here and Chris Here).  

These Cyclists frequently put in miles Day after Day that make my paltry efforts look like the Feeble Meanderings of a Little Old Man. So I ride. I got some Catchin' Up To Do.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Kevlar Testing Facility

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Guest Post: Roadie Ryan Lays It Down: Seattle!

[A Note from The Trailer Park Cyclist:  My computer sorta crashed yesterday and only runs in 30 minute bursts,  much like myself.  So one of the Original Followers of the World-Famous TPC has Helped Out by donating a Guest Post about What He Rides and Where He Rides It.  Thanks, Ryan!]

A Bit of Background
Tim Joe was kind enough to ask me to write about riding in Seattle. I am a 40ish dude who likes to ride Steel Road Bikes and recently have been bitten by the Old 10 Speed bug big time. My current daily rider is a 1979 Miyata 912  .  I ride to commute and run errands but mostly I ride to put a smile on my face and clear my mind. When the TPC suggested writing about Riding in Seattle a hundred ideas flooded into my head. I could write about the 38 mile Burke Gilman Bike Path, or riding around Lake Washington, or the video-game-like quality of riding the Bike Lane on Second Ave in Downtown at rush hour trying to get home in one piece. And then I remembered a nugget I have heard often about writing, Write What You Know,  and what I know most about is riding in West Seattle where I live and where most of my cycling happens.

Myth Busters
First of all I need to dispel a myth about Seattle. People have the impression it always rains here and frankly we encourage that impression because we don't want everyone moving here. The exaggeration reached a peak in the movie "Sleepless in Seattle" when the character of Meg Ryan's brother says "You can't move to Seattle it rains 10 months of the year out there!" I mean c'mon 10 months! Really? That is so absurd, it's gotta be like 9 months tops.

Start Off Easy Then Add Gravel
My regular loop is not epic in distance, about 12 miles, but it does have quite a bit of variety. I like to start with a gentle down hill for the first mile or so to let the legs warm up, and then I duck into Lincoln Park to ride the gravel for a bit,  it's fun,  scenic and a bit of a skills course. I like to think of riding on gravel like being in a constant "Tokyo drift";  it takes getting used to but now when I hit an unexpected gravel patch on the road it doesn't feel weird to me. Also my tires are usually softer and wider than the standard super hard and skinny 700x23c which makes it easier to ride the gravel.

Out of the Woods and Around the Potholes
Once I exit the Park it's  back to pavement, well sort of pavement anyway. It’s a combination of 50's concrete slab (joints every 15 feet or so) and crumbling pavement rife with potholes, like riding Swiss Cheese in sections.  In one particular short descent the pavement is so rough I have lost count of the number of water bottles and clip on tail lights that have ejected from the bike while I bounce down the road at 30 mph. There are, however, a few spots that have been recently paved and when I go from the rough feel of chip seal to the smooth new pavement it is hard not to give out an "ahhhh" for those 30 yards or so of calm Asphalt Bliss.

Hipsters and Tourist and Babes -Oh My!
About mid ride I hit Alki Beach which is a stretch of road with Restaurants and Shops on one side and the Beach and Puget Sound on the other. It is reputed to be where the first Seattle Settlers landed and, I think, has some of the most beautiful views of the area. In the summer it's where the cool people hang (and the occasional Clydesdale Cyclist on an old 10 speed)  and with Beach Volleyball and girls in bikini's and people crusin' the strip its like a little slice of SoCal. While there is a very nice bike path along about a 4 mile stretch here I keep to the road. In my experience cars are more predictable than 5 year olds on razor scooters, and while having a close up with a car would be unpleasant, inadvertently hitting a little kid who has u turned in front of me would be unthinkable. And don't even start me on the Mom's walking two abreast on the big path with mega-strollers talking about their relationships and simultaneously texting.  In the summer months the road traffic is moving slowly enough I can usually keep up and the rest of the year traffic is pretty light, so I stick to the road. If I am lucky sometimes a Regatta breaks out on the Sound while I am passing through.

After negotiating the Alki strip I round a point and get a great view of the City Skyline and      Elliot Bay.   I also pass a rather industrial area near the Port of Seattle and my view is reduced to a forest of cranes but it’s a small price to pay for the wonderful view of the City.  Salty's Restaurant on this stretch of the road boasts that they have the best view of Seattle from their tables and I would have a hard time arguing with them. I also like to use this part of the ride to get into a nice easy rhythm because its about time to Pay the Piper.

What Goes Down Gets to Climb
One thing about West Seattle is that at some point you are going to be doing some climbing. We aren't talking the Alps or anything but on this particular loop I climb for about one mile in the 4-6% gradient range toward the end of the ride. It's not Epic but it usually tests me a bit and reminds me to spin smooth and steady and relax so I don't end up huffin' and puffin' like the big bad wolf by the top of the climb. And on a clear day I even get a peek of Mount Rainier on the way up.

Coffee? Did someone say Coffee?
Another thing we are known for here in the Emerald City is Coffee, and Yes We Love It and Yes I Am An Addict. I was thinking about the number of coffee shops I go by on this loop and came up with ten and only two of  those ten are a National Chain sporting the Mermaid logo. And I am not talking about CafĂ©'s or Bakeries that also serve coffee,  we have those too.  I am talking about Dedicated Coffee Shops.  So at any point in the ride that I am jonesin' for my caffeine fix I don't have far to go to get it. And for the post-ride or mid-ride beer stop there are also Four Pubs and a Tavern along the way.

You Call That a Ride?
Don't get me wrong, I love to get out and go for longer rides and Explore New Places and I do so as much as I can, but with a wife, child, mortgage, yard, job, bike projects, blah blah blah sometimes it’s a ride of under an hour or no ride at all. I don't know about you but I will take an hour on the bike over zero any day. 

 Thanks Tim Joe for letting me ramble on about Seattle and to the TPC Nation - Enjoy Your Ride.

[No,  Ryan, it is Me that has to Thank You!  What a great post and someday I would love to come out and ride your Cool Loop with you!  TJ]

Whispering Pines Trailer Park On Location:  The Emerald City
#31 (GP #1)

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's the Clothes That Makes the Man

The Gump-Headed Cyclist

Maybe it was the Heat but July was a confusing Month at Whispering Pines Trailer Court. Of course, I am pretty much confused most of the time anyway, but this year the Month of July left me feeling like Forrest Gump without the Box of Chocolates.

Blame It On Uncle Sam
We started with a huge and crazy Independence Day party and things just took off from there. I met Uncle Bill and we drank about a hundred beers to celebrate the occasion and he became so impressed with my Wisdom and Integrity that he finally decided to break the Family Vow and market his Grandma's insanely delicious Barbecue Sauce. That meant I spent a whole lot of computer time last month learning about Bottles and Labels and Sauce Marketing and how to get the sauce in the bottle and how to get the labels on and if you think any of this is simple you've never tried to grasp the arcane world of the Food and Drug Administration or the U.S. Patent office or just how to get the damn printer to align properly to print labels for fifty bottles.

But I did it and it is behind me now and soon enough we will have several cases of Uncle Bill's Legendary Backcountry Gator Sauce store-ready, stamped, sealed and ready for shipping. I live in Harley Country and plan to do my best to expand the waistline of some Hog-Riders around here. My on-line Buddies will be getting samples but not yet. Trust my Wisdom and Integrity when I tell you this stuff is worth waiting for.

Speaking of Sauce, another development that took place was the arrival of Miss Jo the New Trailer Park Manager. She is almost the same age as me but acts sixteen and looks it too. The only problem is that she has something wrong with her brain that makes her want to work all the time. And I don't mean just kinda-sorta work; I mean she hustles around Whispering Pines like a dervish on speed with wheel barrows and ladders and wagon loads of stuff and lawn mowers and weed-eaters and she does it all so fast that I sometimes think there might be more than one of her. As Head (Only) Big Man In Charge of Fix-It I am a little overwhelmed and I tried to keep up with her for most of July but then I had to put my foot down and sternly explain that I am not only a Genius of Trailer Repair but that I also am a Sensitive Artist of the Blogular Kind and that above all, I have a Reputation to Protect as a World-Famous Bad Cyclist and Bicycle Butcher of Renown.

When she got done laughing she reminded me that I still had  to replace the floor in Unit 18 and that if I would quit drinking so much beer during the day to “soothe my sensitive spirit” I would get a lot more work done and still have time to ride “that skinny-tired bike” and “why don't you write your Booger or whatever it is at night?”

So you can see what I am up against.

Oh Yeah, Bicycles
In the midst of all this I did manage to get in some fairly good rides. Just not the All Day Rambles I am so fond of, although I also got in a couple of those. Yesterday, (Sunday) I did a nice little 24 mile loop that I ride, and I actually felt some pain at the end. Most odd and indicative of my low mileage stats for July.

This twenty-four mile loop was about half gravel up until last year, when the County came in and put down nice smooth asphalt. At about the same time the State came along and repaved the other half of the ride, which is U.S. One. They put in a nice wide Bike-Friendly shoulder at the same time.

If Three's A Crowd, What's A Hundred?
What this means is this little loop I consider my own ain't my own anymore. Back when it was loose gravel and pitted highway with no shoulder I would have it all to myself. Not anymore. On yesterday's ride I saw over One Hundred Cyclists.

I realize I have a reputation for hyperbole, but this is a real number. One Hundred Cyclists. I didn't exactly count them, but there were five group rides of ten to fifteen riders each. So OK, maybe I am exaggerating. But after all that time having this road as my exclusive domain, even two other cyclists is a lot.

Sartorial Splendor
Now, I know that my Readers ride their bicycles wearing Helmets and Jerseys and Bike Shorts. Well, I don't actually know this, but I suspect it.  Me, my kit is a bandana and a paint splattered T-shirt with the sleeves cut off and some baggy old Dickies shorts. I ride with my flip-flops thrust into my toeclips and find it all quite serviceable.  But when I ran into all those cycling groups yesterday, their Peacockery left me feeling somewhat shabby.

Somebody Catch the Dog Catcher
This was on my mind because a local Animal Control Officer had gone missing for a couple days.  She was last seen riding off on her mountain bike.  An area resident had seen the missing lady riding in her neighborhood.  She said:  "I wouldn't have noticed her except she was on a bicycle but she wasn't wearing sporty clothing."

So...WTF?  Is "sporty clothing"  overtaking regular clothes in the cycling world?  Of course not.  I live in an area where lots of people ride bikes.  Only the Roadies wear cycling specific clothes.  That witness was a nut,  that's all.  
(As a crazy footnote to this story,  the K-9 Unit sent in to search for the missing woman Lost the Dog.  So for a day or so,  the Dog Catcher was lost and the Dog sent in to Catch Her was lost too.  To cap it all off,  after the dog and the lady were Found and Safe,  the Sheriff's Office made reverse 911 calls to the entire neighborhood at 3 AM and woke everybody up.  Hey,  it's Daytona.)

You Shoulda Known Me When I Was Cool
 I ride around looking like a Homeless Guy on a Stolen Bicycle. I do it on purpose, meaning I don't know what else to wear and these are the same clothes I wear every day whether I am gutting a trailer, fishing, going to the Winn-Dixie or Riding My Bike. I am pleased about this, because these clothes are very comfortable and let's face it, I'm not exactly out to make any good first impressions these days. I am haunted by the fact that any minute now the President will come on the air and make a Special Announcement that “They were Just Kidding and the Economy is Fine and we're going to start the Building Bubble back up” and then I will have to go back to being Clean-cut and Respectable and get a hair cut and put those stupid Dockers back on and my stupid Polo shirts with the Company Name on them and then once again there will be Banks and Accountants and Employees and Contracts and Board Rooms haunting my days and Dreams of Cycling haunting my nights.

Dang it, I'm digressing again. Maybe a beer will help me focus...

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch
So,  these groups were riding in the opposite direction from  me, in more ways than one. I had a chance to scan each rider briefly, taking notice of How They Were Doing It. Some guys were not wearing shirts, or jerseys. Most were. They all wore bike shorts and helmets. Footwear I am not too sure about, but I don't think any of them were wearing flip flops.

A Rare Bird
Which leads up to my question: where are the other Trailer Park Cyclists? Am I the only one? I see other homeless-looking guys out riding bikes, but they are riding those homeless-guy bikes. In fact, they are Homeless Guys. I know most of them. I see Comfort Bike Cyclists out there, but they are generally Neater and given to Helmet-Wearing.

Rough Rider
I have a carefully (for me) maintained 1981 Schwinn Super Le Tour that I would put under my pillow at night if I had a bigger pillow. She sports a new Mavic/Tiagra rear wheel and all the usual new cables and lube work. When not under my butt, she hangs in my work stand for cleaning and worship. I did a ratty-ass handlebar tape job which I rather like and when I mounted my bottle cage with stainless steel hose clamps I made no effort to disguise the fact that there were old pieces of inner tube between the clamps and the frame.

All (both) of you know that I love a meticulously groomed bicycle as much as anyone. I drop by the OTSG four or five times a day. My hero/guru Mike Varley turns out bicycles at his Marin Shop that could either be ridden around the world or straight to a museum. My buddy Ryan did a fantastic job with his Miyata 912 last year. I don't know about Wayward's bike but he drives a train for a living so he already has a kind of superman status in my world-view.

Light the Fuse
So what the hell is wrong with me? For some reason I insist on maintaining a Quasi-Post-Apocalyptic Look that tickles the hell out of me. But I worry about my Upcoming World Barbecue Tour. If I drop into a town where I have cycling friends and we decide to go for a ride, will they insist that I wear a helmet? I don't even own a helmet. I know that when I get up to Rivendell GP won't make an issue of it, but he is the only one. I understand helmets for racing, NASCAR drivers and Indy drivers wear helmets. But not when they are driving the family car.

Everybody Else Is Doing It
I understand helmets for group rides, because I understand peer pressure. Having been a Lifetime Loner, peer pressure has never been a big factor with me, but it is bothering me now. I am not trying to drive up Comments and Readership by dropping the “H” Bomb, (although more comments and readers would be good). But anytime you see a flame war concerning helmets on the internet there will be comments by the pro-helmet crowd that are so vehement that it gives me pause. Why would someone be so concerned about my well being that they would want to Punch Me In the Face To Protect My Head?

Hey Fatty! Remember Me?
The Fat Cyclist was supposed to send me a Team Fatty jersey after I made my
 Spectacular Debut on his Blog. But that I was going to frame  and hang  on the wall.

Is Anybody Out There?
I don't know. It's Lonely At the Bottom. But I am seriously curious if I am the only Roadie in existence who does not wear kit.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Hobo Convention