Saturday, November 5, 2016
The scruffy looking dude was sitting at the end of the bar talking to the waitrix. He had a mug which meant that he dropped 50 bucks down here last December or November or lied about it. I was just trying to mind my M & G's (mug and growlers) and calculating if I had enough time for another mug before intercepting Wifey on the trail. Time is always tight. Then I overheard the conversation.
"Yeah, lots of layers in the morning then sweaty on the way home."
That was the give away. Not a cager. Possibly a motor biker. So I asked him, "beesickle or motorbike?"
I moved a few stools closer to him so we could compare notes. 30 mile round trip commute just like mine. Southsider just like me. Busted clavicle now healed just like me. Bagger bike until it was stolen. Now road bike for commuter just like me 95% of the time. Apt to take roads as convenience just like me. More willing to skip trails out of expedience and fear of catastrophic failure sorta like me. Looks for the best beer deal just like me. A lot in common.
He heads north to John Deere in Ankeny. Instead of playing it safe and taking the Neal Smith Trail he takes the roads. "Yeah, you got this much room. All sorts of gravel and debris." I've been on those roads on weekends. Shit but direct. Yes the trail is a bit longer and safer but he says nobody is north bound when he rides. Different when going home.
"The other day there was a big truck behind me. I could hear it. But a strap was loose on the trailer and after it passed me all sorts of roofing materials started falling off. I had to take the ditch. Plywood, shingles and other crap everywhere. Then the car behind me almost hit me. It did not see me. They never do." No doubt, blind as bats selfish cagers.
I queried, "why not the trail?"
"What if something happens to bike on the trail? Bad flat tire, mechanical issue? Catastrophic failure? I'm hosed. Difficult to get rescued."
True but pump, tube, tools, mobile phone and proper maintenance on the bike.... Then again why surrender to the Metal Overlords? Open act of defiance on the pavement aimed directly at them. I totally understand but pick my battles. Maybe it is safer than I think. Maybe his tolerance of those threats is greater than mine.
He's been doing this since March. No real winter yet. "Thinking about a fatbike for the winter." That would be great for the trails but a hybrid with studded tires would be faster and less expensive IMHO. Ice is the worst unless you ride on studs.
My mug had one large swallow left. Mary should have made it Water Works Park by now, time to leave. We clinked mugs one last time and I drained my dry. Time to hit the streets and hope that the bastards will not run me over. They are bad enough on each other and bicycles are often not on their radar until late. Til we meet again, two wheels down.