Despite the hundreds of words I can write, the numerous sites I can read about bicycles, and the fact that my words stumble over themselves when I try to talk about bikes, I find it hard to explain my weekends to friends who don't ride. There's no drama in doing power intervals on my new gearing. No gossip involved in getting my hands greasy tensioning my chain or washing my shorts in my bathtub. So when the polite inquiry into what exactly I did this weekend comes up, I take the easier path. I lie.
It's not a ploy to sound coy or mysterious. I've just sat through enough conversations debating the intricacies of certain sports and the background stats of so-and-so athletes to understand that gushing about gear ratios can border on the annoyingly boring. So I just say, well, I hung out a bit, studied a bit, the usual, nothing special. Unless, of course, they ride a bicycle.
Then, like it or not, I just may babble on for hours. And that's exactly what I did when one of my favorites blew through town from Portland, on a mysterious mission that even I didn't quite fully understand.
I'm talking about the man behind not only Embrocation Cycling Journal, but also Rapha Scarf Fridays [among other ideas cooking in that brain of his]: Mr. Jeremy Dunn. He hooked me into Embrocation over Americanos last spring and while his current residence in Portland makes meeting up slightly difficult, we've managed to stay in touch and even hang out in Vegas. And because of Rapha Scarf Fridays, we had to meet up on Friday morning [at Cafe Fixe!] with a promise to bring our respective scarves.
And over Americanos, I gushed, questioned, laughed, and was completely at ease. Because while I feel cozy around people who ride bikes, I respect, admire, and look up to people who write about bikes. Sometimes they get excited about what I write too [although even I'll admit that it's not very pro], and that passion is infectious enough to have me submitting things for publication in print and chattering about ideas and all those slightly insecure dreams that I still have difficulty articulating.
It was over almost too soon and we headed our separate ways; me to NYC, Jeremy to execute some covert ops. But with identical caps! From his Rapha Fixed Backpack, Jeremy had pulled out a Rapha Oregon Manifest cap, which fits like no other cap I've owned [even mine]. It was met with jealous cries in NYC to which I responded with mock smugness and victorious laughter.
And just when I'm wondering when we'll get to hang out next, I found a package from the UK sitting in my mailbox. Ripping it open, completely confused, I found the newest Rapha catalog and a slim booklet filled with the kind of Rapha bike ride porn [photographed by Ben Ingham] that makes you think that bike rides are never painful and always stylish. Which, I suppose if you're geared up head to toe in Rapha, is probably not inaccurate.
Until we meet again, Mr. Dunn. And maybe, just maybe, I'll even have a road bike by then...
[And speaking of totally awesome bike writers, check out this video of Bill Strickland on FSX.]