Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sharp Dressed Man

But Then Again,  They Might Have Been Car Salesmen
One day last summer I was out earlier than usual, doing a fast run to Daytona and on the way I was cutting along on my beloved Riverside Drive and two Roadies were coming towards me on the other side of this fairly narrow road. They were guys about my own fiftyish age, but they were clearly not Trailer Park Cyclists. They had that Look, that silver-haired-tanned-corner-office look and they were wearing matching jerseys of maroon and gold, their club colors I suppose. Of course they were riding those bikes that are made of the same materials as the Space Station and these two dudes were pedaling along really slow, laughing and having a good time out there in the early morning sunrise. They both smiled at me and waved and for one quick moment I didn't want to be the Trailer Park Cyclist anymore, I didn't want to be this Ragamuffin Bum that takes pride in poverty and rides around trying to encapsulate salt-of-the-earth observations on Life...hell no, for one quick moment I wanted a Corner Office on the Twentieth Floor and and a Hot Secretary and a Trophy Wife and all the other things that flashed through my ravaged brain on a morning run to Daytona.

Those guys looked sharp! Man they looked sharp and well-coiffed and at ease and rich and as I turned North on my old nitty-gritty Highway One for the highway part of my sprint North to wherever I was going I was a little embarrassed to be me, at the moment. I was grateful that those two dazzling Captains of Industry had deigned to acknowledge my existence and I was a bit ashamed of myself for not working harder at the American Dream. Then You-Know-Who butted in.

Those two guys probably wish they were YOU. 

Good Ol' Voice.

Tales From Days Gone By
“I doubt it, Voice, but thanks anyway.” But who knows? Here's what I'm talking about: Thirty-five years ago I  dropped out of college and went looking for a job. I got lucky and landed a position with a restaurant equipment supply firm as a district sales manager and just like that, I went from being a long-haired hippie freak college kid to a guy with a closet full of suits, a new company car and a haircut I picked out of a haircut catalogue my over-priced hair stylist wanted me to try out. No, really.

Quit laughing. This is serious.

Once A Pirate...
I drove from meeting to meeting and never really knew what my job was, exactly, but it seemed to involve a lot of flirting with receptionists and laughing at jokes told by old fat guys sitting behind desks. Every once in a while if I needed extra cash I would cajole and bully and con some poor Mom & Pop team into buying WAY more equipment than they needed at prices they could not afford. We sold it to them on a buy-here pay-here deal and when they inevitably failed, I would pull up with a big truck and our warehouse crew. While I stood there sympathizing with the bankrupt and bewildered victims, the crew would take the stuff back to the warehouse and steam clean it and polish it up and get it ready for the next unsuspecting Hopefuls who came along. I remember more than once these people would apologize to me for failing. They felt they had let me down. I was twenty one years old.

Don't Do It If You Can't Live Up To It
It just never sat right with me and at twenty-one I thought I was just being a killer salesman and a future Captain of Industry and I was proud to announce my title and flash a little cash at the local Disco (I said stop laughing!) but when I would on occasion find myself having a beer at a corner bar I would lie and say I worked construction. Man, one of the things I have always tried to get across to my sons is never do anything you can't brag about.

You've done a lot of things you can't...

“Shush, Voice, I'm pontificating here.”

Meanwhile,  Back To Bicycles
What does this have to do with cycling? Everything. I just can't stop to explain right now.

So ultimately I left my job as a scummy suit-wearin' fancy haircut-havin' disco-dancin' douche and hitchhiked to California. I got a job in construction and started doing all the stuff that I am still doing Lo Unto This Very Day. Except I added Bicycles.

Back To the Car Salesmen
So when I saw those two sharp-dressed cyclists cruising by that morning I knew that I had made a choice many years ago  and just for a moment I regretted that choice. Those guys had really good haircuts.

Tales of Brave Ulysses
But I am, after all the Trailer Park Cyclist. Had I continued on the Path of Avarice I might have ended up  pedaling along with those two Corner Officers in their matching kit, but then I would never have found my way here to the Whispering Pines Trailer Park. For the first time in the Park's history, we have a Full House. We have a waiting list. The other day the elderly Owners came to me and thanked me and gave me a  raise in pay. I am Changing this Park and thus I am changing the neighborhood. To celebrate, I went to Walmart and bought two new inner tubes and some much needed socks and underwear.

Uh Oh
Then, while I was doing my extravagant shopping something snapped inside my brain and I decided to Go Back Out and Make a Little Cash.

Go ahead and get it off your chest

“Shut Up, Voice.” But as usual, the Voice is right.

If It Ain't Fun,  Why Do It?
It has been a real blast here just fiddling around with trailers and I haven't even seen the inside of a motor vehicle in over a month. My beat up old Dodge Caravan threw a belt awhile back and the battery died and I just let it sit. Come to think of it, that was three months ago. I work where I live and I have become pretty comfortable and it took about a year for me to settle down and realize I was happy. I started writing this Blog and made many new friends who are just friends. They don't work for me and sometimes they give me stuff. I got started with Uncle Bill and our whole Barbecue Sauce Venture and just everything I do is fun.

For Cryin' Out Loud, Just spit it out!

I Get Gifts
“OK, OK, Voice! Sheesh!” What happened is that my Long-Time Reader and good friend Agent Kaz, (code name The SwellGuy) sent me a Care Package recently. He had some old clipless shoes lying around and decided I needed an upgrade from my infamous practice of riding around in flip-flops. I wondered what I would do with them since I don't have any clipless pedals and no extra cash to buy any, but today the UPS truck pulled into the parking lot and as usual everybody came out of their trailers Hoping for a Miracle. Today's miracle was mine, though, and as I carried my prize into the trailer I thought those must be some big shoes for such a big box, but I knew.

Aww, KAZ...
I knew and I was already blushing and embarrassed and the Blonde was there and when I opened the box there were the shoes and of course some Shimano SPD pedals and a cool little hat and a saddlebag with a multi-tool and some gloves. There was also a Really Nice Saddle and...a Bell Helmet. And some brand new Bontrager Bib Shorts.

A Helmet and some Bib shorts and I am wearing them right now and wearing nothing else and when Miss Jo came to my open trailer door a minute ago she was startled at first but then started laughing.

“What in the hell are you up to now” she asked.

“My friend KAZ sent me some bicycle stuff. Pretty cool, huh?” I stood up. “They have padding in the seat to make them more comfortable on the bicycle.”

“No Way!”

“Way,” I said. “Come feel.”

“Yeah, right.” she said. “I wasn't born yesterday. Are we still going to Home Depot in the morning?”

“Can I wear my new outfit?” I asked.

“Whatever,” she said, shaking her head and heading home. Miss Daisy had a huge dog-smile on her face.

See what I mean? Fun. It's more fun now and for a long time it wasn't and I don't want to rock the boat but I gotta hustle a few grand for the Sauce Thing and a couple other minor projects. I don't know. I'll figure it out.

Say thank you, KAZ

Thanks, Karl! I never get gifts so I don't know how to do it right but I really appreciate it, buddy!  And thank Miss Neen for me!

That's All,  Folks
Goodnight Everyone! Thanks for coming along for the ride! 

 Yer pal, TJ

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Trail's End Haberdashery


  1. Ok now I have ZZ top running through my head and its drowning out the voices in there. Speaking of voices - the voice knows man! Sounds to me like you made the right choice all those years ago. Chapeau to the appropriately named Swell guy! Very cool that you have new bike toys to play with. I was fortunate to get some nice pedals for Christmas last year and it was just like, well, Christmas. Not to tap into the avarice thing but you do realize they made sandals that work with SPD pedals right? I wear some Keen Commuters and love them - most comfortable bike shoes ever, and off the bike they are - sandals. Hurry up with that Sauce thing to Brother - I am going to run out soon!

    Tailwinds Brother


  2. Yeah man, that was a really cool gesture on the part of the Swell Guy. I found out I could type a lot faster with those bibs on. And of course, the embrocation helps, too.

  3. Tim Joe, glad you got some cool new stuff to play with. It seems like new or new to you always gives us a brighter day. I spent my whole working life working for guys with nice clothes and about sucked the life out of me. When they offered me early retirement I was out the door so fast they must have thought a plane just flew through. Now I do what ever I feel like and as I just got back from a nice ride I feel like a beer..or maybe two..

  4. TJ,
    I'm sure you've heard this before, but just in case... make sure you practice with clipping in on a grassy area before taking it to the road. It takes some time to get the "heel turning out motion" ingrained in your muscle memory. You gotta get a couple falls over with and then it will become second nature. Try to make those first falls on the grass. Once you try unclipping a couple times on both sides, ride really fast, brake hard, and then clip out. Try to envision a panic stop so you can, in effect surprise yourself. Just trying to save you from the embarrassing situation of falling over while clipped in at a traffic light in front of drivers. Don't feel bad, though. Everyone falls with these things in the beginning. (very different from cages) The power you'll gain will be very noticed though!

  5. TJ. You are welcome. You have said plenty already. Miss Neen and I both thought it good to share a little booty for Yer Booty. Sorry for the late response. Evidently Blogspot blogs are blocked in China, so I could not check into what you were up to. This fact could be cutting into your Chinese readership! I'm in HK for a night and then onto to Taiwan. It's a long story, but I had a private tour of a high end carbon bike manufacturing plant that makes frames for some big shots. What a thing to stumble on to that when doing Real Work. I'm buddies with the owner now. Go figure. Peace, Love, and Friendship! - Zig

  6. TJ,

    Very cool. Swell Guy must be another good guy (they tend to collect together you know). Always great to push yourself a little in a new way.

    But could this be another cosmic hint that I need to bite the bullet, grit my teeth, squint ferociously - and move to clipless pedals too? It was suggested to me early in the spring that if I want to improve my XC riding I should do just that. Dunno. Just seems like another way to injure myself. Had enough of that particular fun.

    One more month and this cervical collar comes off. Halfway there.

    Steve Z

  7. I look forward to hearing more from you soon!

  8. TJ, I love that you referred to self as Disco-dancing douche in one sentence. Then I read on and man, tears rolled down my cheeks in pure laughter. You have got to visit us in SC.

  9. TJ

    Happy (belated) Thankgiving. Take a break from the hot sauce & trailer repairs to get in a ride (and a blog post).

    Steve Z