A ride for Today

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Jan 25, 2011
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Whittier, CA
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It's Sunday afternoon, and I just dropped off Troy at his place, and rolled through easy traffic on Euclid Avenue, and all the rest of the way home as well. Time to grab a soda, and relax.
First Sunday of the month. Cyclone Coaster ride, Long Beach, California.
Today was the semi annual swap meet. I picked up Schwinnless a little after seven, and we got parked in Long beach around eight in the morning. There was cool stuff at the swap meet, but nothing I couldn't live without. Actually, I did get tempted. A guy had the plastic starbust headbadge for my '61 Schwinn Jaguar. They came glued on to the paint, so it's very rare to see one off a bike. The one on my bike has a crack in it. This one was perfect. Asking price $40. Now, I could probably have gotten it cheaper, and it would have slightly upgraded the bike. But I passed on it. That's always a temptation with an old Schwinn. The parts are fungible. If your Jaguar is all beat up, you can take a fender set from a Corvette, a rack from a Starlett- it's all the same stuff. But the cracked headbadge, like the dented fenders, various gouges and scratches, and unmatched touch-ups are all part of the personality of the bike. Like the Radio Shack button on the horn. I've had the Jaguar since 1980, and I like it as it is.
We have had, in recent weeks, an unbelievable string of near perfect rides. Days when the friends, the bikes, the weather, and the giant party excitement of a large event all line up like stars in a constellation, and everything just goes all perfect on you everywhere all at once. Ciclavia, the Halloween ride, the last couple of So Cal Rat Rod Rides, and Cyclone Coaster today.
I've been attending this ride for a couple of years, and it is still just the distilled essence of fun. Today was no exception- you always see some very rare, or very beautifully restored old machines. And it feels good to be familiar with the crowd, to see a mess of people whom you know. And really, how simple is this at its core- people getting together to ride bicycles. And make friends. That's it. Tech at its lowest.
And in doing this we celebrate life. We celebrate the incredible good fortune that we have: We have the health, the means, and the time to do this. We are lucky enough to be here in Southern California where we were given the pleasure of riding at the beach in our shirtsleeves at midnight, and cruising downtown with no cars on a Sunday afternoon. It is good to be alive, good to be part of this, as Ruth calls it, "Bikester" scene. How can you not be grateful?
I realize that many people in the East are going through some very tough times right now. And I won't comment on any other grim or serious matter. The grim and the serious are always near. Nonetheless, I believe that it is God's will that life should flourish. And in this one small corner of the world, a small chain of events came together for a few fortunate souls, and- well- We had some fun.


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