On today's ride I saw a rider crossing the intersection in front of me. He was wearing a full kit (from one of the LBS teams in the region) and smoking a pipe. I got a whiff of the tobacco he was smoking and decided to try and catch up with him. It smelled just like the tobacco my father smoked. I'll always remember the smell of his pipe because he only smoked it under two circumstances. The first was late at night after my mother was asleep or when he was angry because I or one of my brothers had done something wrong. Let me tell you, you learned to avoid going into the house when you could smell that tobacco burning!
So, I caught up with the rider and said, that pipe smoke smells like my father's, a combination of Borkum Riff Cherry Cavendish and Captain Black. He looked over at me and said, "Not, bad. It's Borkum Riff and Sail Aromatic." Now as I mentioned this guy was in full kit smoking a pipe. He was also riding a Schwinn green Continental with the stem mounted stick shifters. It must have been 30 years old. I said, "Not often I meet someone in full kit, smoking a pipe and riding and old Schwinn." He looked over and, I'm guessing the gray in my beard gave me away, said: "You don't look to be no spring chicken." I lowered my head, gently shook it and softly chuckled. He then said, "But anyhow we ain't met yet. My name's Samuel, not Sam, not Sammy, Samuel." I responded, "Samuel, my name's Bradley, not Brad, not Bradford, Bradley." Now it was his turn to chuckle.
Well, we rode on for about 6 more miles before he turned off. Here's what I learned. Samuel was 80 years old, could ride at 14 to 16 mph all day long (which I believe to be true based on the clip we rode that 6 miles together), only smoked his pipe while riding, because his wife didn't want him to smoke and she didn't ride. So he could "get away with it", he carried packets of SenSen (which brought back a whole different set of memories for me) to hide the smell. He said the wind from riding kept the smoke smell out of his hair and off his clothes. He'd been smoking a pipe for over 50 years, and he'd been riding and smoking for at least 25 of those, maybe more. He couldn't remember exactly.
I'm am more than ever convinced that genetics are very powerful. If I were to try the smoking and riding thing, there's no way I'd still be alive, let along cruising along like Samuel was. What a character. I am so glad that I ride a bike and get to have experiences like this one. What a treat.