If you want to be swaggeringly hip-retro-vintage on a bicycle, choose a ride with some rare or obscure detail, and better yet, let the idiosyncracy be something potentially catastrophic. Then you are dangerous cool, which is much better than regular cool. I did that. I chose a bike with '60s French Huret wheels held in place by... giant chromed wingnuts. They really do look fabulous, but then there is a reason wingnuts never even made it past disco.
Yesterday: The light turned green to cross, four lanes of traffic stopped each way just outside of Santa Rosa, CA. I stood on the pedals to get a move across the road, the rear right wingnut slipped, the rear wheel jammed full force into the frame, and I hit the pavement as hard as I could. In front of a packed audience. So I did what you all would probably do and quickly and nonchalantly (in my mind) picked up the bike and walked back over to the sidewalk, acting like I didn't just hurt myself really bad. The truth is that I have road rash from my calf to my butt. Funny that my first thought was "Wow, my platelet counts must be good enough to keep me from hemorraghing to death right here in front of every body -- as if the crash was not spectacle enough." Reality was: I now have a really banged up leg, I am behind in my training, I generally feel like yuck, and my bike now needs repairs... and we are leaving for the Eroica ride in the morning.
So I cut back the ride to 20 miles, just enough to keep from stiffening up, and took my machine and bleeding leg back to my make-shift bike shop in brother David's garage. Two hours of repair later, aided significantly by Deborah and my mother Elfriede, and my ride was actually better than before.
But wait... there are still not enough challenges! A visit with my doctor on the way out of town this morning all but confirmed that I have graft vs. host disease, essentially my new immune system attacking my skin and digestive system. So now I have added steroids to my medicinal cocktail to combat the rash and mind-altering itching -- and for nausea, a marijuana derivative. It has come to that-- I am now both a marginal juicer and stoner.
And the weather for Paso Robles this weekend is rain.
But we made it here in our fabulous Airstream to the Paso Robles RV Ranch, where we will spend the wet weekend. I have already hung with a couple of bike builders from Oakland and their incredible machines. I am just trying to make it to the starting line.