Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Great Bike Excursion II: Porky's Revenge

As all friends of this blog are well aware, in the company of Big Pat Daugherty I went biking last week for the first time in 25 years. I rented bike and helmet, and BP and I chugged along the Bay Trail for 13 miles, and a great time was had by all. Fun was had of sufficient quantity that this week I borrowed a bike -- partly to save money; partly to explore other styles of bike -- and off we went again.

I did not tape this outing, which was probably a wise decision since I fell off the bike twice. First time came as we arrived at the Richmond Marina. Feeling quite peppy -- feeling, as they say, "my oats" -- I would sometimes pull alongside BP to engage in badinage, mostly about what two delicious manchops we must appear to the retired ladies one encounters walking and biking on the Bay Trail on a weekday.

You've heard of the Plumed Serpent? I am the Wheeled Peacock, confident I cut a plump but dashing figure as I roll. And, oh, I should also mention at this point that the bike I borrowed was that of Peter Moore. Peter Moore is pretty much stalwart. He's the kind of person you would, for example, want as your best man, confident that if your bride-to-be gets a big case of What Ifs the week before the wedding, Peter would not jump into bed with her.

Or if he did, he would dial back the expertise, so you would not be subject to invidious comparison later on.

A mensch, in short, and not a man who you would think might own a bike of great and oppressive macho. Yet you would be wrong to think so. For, as I learned when Peter dropped his bike off after his fork lift class (for Peter is a kind of zoned-for-light-industry Renaissance man) -- his bike is a high-end mountain bike, sturdy, battered and fearsome. Looking at it, I went quite weak in the knees.

And that explains why I had such a fine opinion of myself as I rode along beside the bay. On Peter's berserker bike, I looked as if I were slumming. That's how I looked until I fell off.

As I said, there I was keeping pretty close to Patrick but then he dropped his water bottle and stopped to pick it up, and I was not able to manage an equally quick stop and, as they might say of a NASCAR race, our bikes "touched" and down I went: thump.

There was a nice lady walking nearby, I assume with eyes only for the two mighty manchops and not the gulls nor the sea.

"Should I call 911?" she said.

I jumped to my feet and threw up my hands and turned a full 360 and said, "No no no. I am FINE!"

That was not a parody of male behavior. That was male behavior, which is a parody of itself. I think I mean it's a parody of normal human behavior sans testosterone.

But I really was all right, not a scratch or scrape then nor any bruising later. Where the trail deadends next to a lovely old glassfront industrial building, I fell off again, trying to emulate BP's tight turn around the picnic table that sits in the middle of the asphalt at the end of the trail.

But again: no harm. Apparently at low speeds I fall beautifully.

Peter is a gentleman. When I told him about falling, he smiled, didn't even look at the bike, said he'd dropped it many a time.

Didn't say he had ever fallen, however.

This Thursday I will borrow a bike from either Brother Chris Kamrath or Brother Seth Wachtel, and off Big Pat and I will go on an *18 mile ride* that actually has a small hill.

Peter obscenities in the the mother's milk of 18-mile rides unless they are over lava shards and straight up. But every peacock has to start with his first feather.

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