The Outside View

If you happen to find yourself at the local coffee shop in a nearby strip mall on a Sunday morning watch your step. You don't want to be the one who knocks over anyone of the many $5000+ bicycles leaned up against the benches, tables and windows surrounding the local java hut. But don't call a friend to come down and check out these two wheeled causes of second mortgages. Because as quickly as they arrived they will leave, the only sign they were there being an empty espresso cup and a sandwich bag used to cover a silent sprinters dome.

I let my ears do my observing as the numbers grew inside and out, the click,click of cleats mixing with the conversations in jargon that was foreign to me. "I was boxed in", "I put it in the twelve", "What a jit", none of this sounded like regular sports talk until the arrival of a polish canadian who started analyzing the girth of riders drawing his own conclusions on how they had spent the winter months. As his high pitched voice penetrated above most, the low mumblings of some older, excuse me "classic" riders could be heard looking at their watches repeating the words ten o'clock in what seemed to be old english accents.

This multi-cultural hodge podge was starting to intrigue me. A distinctly Canadian accent then started waxing poetically about mixing it up in some kind of "break", I slowly drifted away from the conversation as my attention went to this same riders bicycle. About the size of a small child's bike with names of kids plastered across the top tube, I figured this guy must really enjoy working with kids and still has time to mix it up on a Sunday morning. After picking up snippets of conversations the topics ranged from Formula 1 racing, to problems at the local auto plants, and the tall slender fellow (though not as tall and slender as the gentleman he was talking too) whining about not feeling that great, on further research I would come to find out that same whiner "put it in the twelve" later on. Maybe that was what these pre-ride gatherings were, a chance to assess and bluff and charm before leaving each other for dead on a place they referred to as "The Arner".

One thing was apparent though, in this group, being in your thirties was considered youthful. Was this commitment an attempt to hold on to youth or an ingrained addiction that love it or hate it would pull these old soles out of bed to pull on their Peter Pan outfits. I guess I will never know what makes this eclectic group tick having not ridden in their cleats. I do know though this, if I wanted my weight to be analyzed in a skin tight outfit, I would throw on my 80's jeans and take a ribbing from my spouse under my roof, rather than a public lambasting from a man they called "Shostie".

**(Shortly after the writing of this article, the group encountered a terrible accident as one of the Classic riders rode straight when he was supposed to turn, resulting in three riders being hospitalized and $3000 in Carbon damage)

NJD (Master of holding on to youth)

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