Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Ride Report In Three Parts (Unless I Forget): The Beginning

Coffee Can Fix Anything,  Almost
I crawled out of my bunk this morning and after stopping by that one little room I went into the big (for a trailer) kitchen/office/bike shop room to make some coffee and try to piece together events from the night before.. It was the last Sunday of the month so I had a long ride to do and I also figured it was high time for a blog post but the high time of the previous evening was creating something of a fog in the area of my brain.

“No problem,” I thought, “I'll just make the coffee extra strong and fire up the Ol' Quaz to see What's What on this fine Sunday Morning in the Year of Our Lord 2012.”

2011, said the Voice.

“What, Voice? I thought I told you to keep quiet until I get my first cup in the morning.”

It's 2011, not 2012. And how on earth did you manage to drink most of that jug of wine?

“Wine? What wine?” But I knew. I had already seen the way-less-than-half -full jug of cheap screw-top sitting on the counter. I got down the coffee filters and the coffee and threw an approximate amount together, filled the pot and poured it in. It hurt to do this and out of the corner of my eye I was certain that I had seen Earnest & Julio smirking at me from the label. Note to self: never drink wine that is bottled in New Jersey.

Ya Gotta Keep the Home Fires Burnin'
While the Mr. Coffee started doing that gurgling thing it does I went over to my trusty Quasitron 6000 Steam Powered Search Engine. With the right amount of lever pulling and knob turning, with a judicious pull on this chain and a tap on that dial, followed by a firm kick in the right spot, the Ol' Quaz can be counted on to spit out some juicy fact or rumor or photo or some tidbit or another that I can then weave into a Blog Post of Magic and Delight.

But not today.

Tales of Brave Prometheus (Revised)
The night before, while fascinating Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog with tales of my Victories and Exploits in Days Long Gone, while waiting for Uncle Bill the Gator-Slayer to hurry up and get those ribs off the grill and while yelling at the Blonde to get another fruit jar because Coyote's comin' over...while thus occupied with the busy business of a Trailer Park Pundit I had forgotten to put to bed the Quasitron 6000 by filling and banking her night coal and That Was Bad. I ran out to see if there were any coals left in Bill's cooker and tripped over an apparent corpse on the front porch.

“Bill!  Wake up,  Dangit!  The Quaz has Gone Out!   This Is Bad! And leave my dog alone!"  Billy mumbled something about Dale Earnhardt and went back to snuggling happily with Miss Daisy. We always joke about how if Uncle Bill and his Old Lady ever split up him and Daisy could get married. If he keeps hangin' out with me at the Park on Saturday nights that might happen sooner than later. On my way back inside Daisy growled at me as I awkwardly stepped over the two of them. “Good Girl,” I said absent-mindedly. I knew it was useless.

Better drink some coffee, said the Voice.

When In Trouble,  When In Doubt,  Saddle Up and Head On Out
“Good idea, Voice. And shut up. I gotta think.” The voice has this highly aggravating trick he does of fading away while laughing anytime he wants to let me know that  I'm screwed. I poured a big mug of black coffee and sat at the table gazing forlornly at the Quasitron 6000. One would think that after going to all the trouble to get a three-ton antique steam-powered search engine installed in a forty-five foot long single wide trailer, I would take care of the thing. But, Hey, I'm the Trailer Park Cyclist, and we all know what that means. So now there was only one thing to do.

Follow Standard Operating Procedure
I got my Goodwill messenger bag down from the hook over my repair bench and threw in my pump and a spare tube. I got a couple bananas and put them in too. I already knew I didn't have any trail mix. I checked the pressure in both tires and added forty (!) pounds to the front and fifteen to the rear.

I tickled the chain but I knew she was lubed just fine and I took Me Darlin' down from the stand and went out into the sun. Uncle Bill was sitting on his cooking stool and rolling a cigarette. “Hey Bill, do me a favor and fire up the Quaz on your way out, if you don't mind.” He just smiled and nodded and bent over to fish through the cooler, looking for any survivors of the previous night. I did that Stepping Off of the Porch and Onto the Bike Thing that I do and headed out.

Here There Is Magic
All of you know the feeling. You make those first few pedal strokes and just like that, you're flying. Just like that you are not a Normal Human anymore, because now you can fly. My morning start is beautiful: about six pedal strokes puts me on a gentle downhill to the Morning river and birdsong and river mist and I adjust the straps on my toe clips and wiggle around saying hello to my saddle and feeling the grip of that Cinelli cork tape and I am transitioning from my incarnation as a hungover, worn-out, past-his-prime Trailer Park Refugee into  something swift and sleek and swooping and free and ready to go.

I hit the river road and today the wind is from the East and I am so wrapped up in self-indulgence and happy-to-be-here-ness that I Head West,  against all convention, letting that breeze push me along like,  like, uh, push...dang cheap wine!  It is a pretty stiff late-morning East Wind on the Atlantic coast and I know just the road that I can use to ride West on this sunny Sunday and be alone. I have only been pedaling for ten minutes and I am sailing along at twenty-three miles per hour and yeah, baby, I'm in Church and This Is My Religion and I know I'm cheating but it is okay: I'm going west for about ten miles of Mind-Erasing wind-filled Glory and then I will start angling around in a sneaky roundabout fashion that will cheat the Wind.  I'll ease my way into the Northeast and by then I will have the Stuff, the Stuff we cyclists get for free; but not really; it isn't free at all. It feels free on a Sunday Morning like This One but it is very much earned. We earn it by riding our bikes for miles and miles and we earn it by thinking about bicycling and we earn it by learning about bicycles and keeping our bicycles clean and lubed and ready and the Stuff is the reward. The Stuff is that kick, that feeling of strength that makes us speed up when we see a hill.

Up Yours,  Aeolus
And I've got it now, I'm turning into that angled crosswind that I knew would be there and I say “Hello, Aeolus, good morning, how ya doin'?   Now excuse me if I just shoulder on through and you might want to step aside, pal.”   'Cause it's Sunday Morning and I got the Stuff and I got Miles To Go.

Aeolus said something I won't repeat,  even if it was in Greek.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Temple of the Stuff.


  1. Glad you got out for a Sunday ride Brother. I too indulged the a bit too much with the Red Wine at a party last night and the salted cured meats and potatoes and awoke paying the price. I did pry my dehydrated self off the couch long enough this afternoon to play a small part in filling a container with used bikes to be sent to Africa. A bit of redemption wrenching felt good. Got to get me out on a bike to find some that Stuff you are referring to. Keep on cheating the wind Velo Brother.


  2. So we had a Saturday morning ride planned with several guys, but a cold front heaved in overnight. The other two fellows canceled, but it was ride time. My Ride Time. I commenced to dress out like a Ninja Eskimo, topped the tires, racked a bottle, and went to greet the future. As I rolled out the wind was in my face and I spun up to warmth on the little ring. Then the turn. The Turn. Big ring, sun in my face, wind at my back, body warm & loose, clear skies, clearer mind and speed, baby, speed. For a moment I felt pity for the dudes sitting at home on the couch. Just for a moment.

  3. @RoadieRyan: Redemption Wrenching? Maybe time for another Guest Post. Any Pictures? If I had known perhaps we could have thrown in a case of sauce. Surely they barbecue in Africa.

    @ Swell Guy: Back when I was still campaigning on Hobie Cats we had a saying: "Every Sail Counts." There were days when it was only fun for the scary factor. We called it "Combat Sailing." But we were Out There and the after-sail beer tasted all that much better when some guy would come up and say "I can't believe you guys were out there in that mess today..."

    Now, Swell Guy, I thank you for your comment and I hope to read about it in more detail on your awesome blog but really, have you forgotten the First Rule of Ninja Eskimo?

  4. There is nothing like those first few pedals on the bike! I will spend all week planning and thinking through my weekend rides. Keep the coals burning and the wheels turning!