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Phamilton 04-22-19 07:12 PM

Occasional ride log and other cringey babbling
I had a paper journal I bought a couple weeks ago to use as a bike journal but I gave it to my daughter for something and havenít replaced it.
Iíve tried some blogs before but I canít commit to anything regular like that.
I donít think I really want a cycling journal or blog. So I guess this is just an open thing.
Yesterday morning (Easter Sunday) I wanted to go for a ride, ended up riding downtown. For a few weeks Iíd been having memories of this church I spent a lot of time at during my formative years. I donít go to church anymore since about 5 or 6 years ago and probably havenít been to that particular one in 10. I started going there in 5th grade when my dad married this lady who went there, they met on a singles trip to Maine. I didnít think anything of it at the time but what a weird thing, for Christian singles in their 20s-50s or whatever go on these ďretreatsĒ for other singles. I think the premise was to have a way for Christians who choose to lead single lives to have a way to socialize. He went on a few of these trips ... actually, man he was at that singles group all the time. Damn he was there a lot. What a dog.
Anyway, thatís not where I was going with that.
The church is where I spent a lot of time during my most formative and turbulent years and I wanted to see the place.

Phamilton 04-22-19 07:26 PM

So I had time and the weather was nice and Iíd been thinking about it for a while so I rode there. I wasnít really going to participate in the service or anything, I just wanted to see and smell and remember.
I was a little anxious about it, I didnít really want to recognize anybody or have anybody recognize me.
I had some dude, real young, maybe 19 but probably my sonís age (17) walk up to me while I was locking my bike, complimented my Trek, talked quite a bit about his Trek. He was super friendly and seemed really enthusiastic about bikes. I thanked him for the good bike chat and told him what I was doing and that I used to live in the apartment building that looks like an old hotel two blocks over.
I so rarely have to lock my bike I donít have a routine. So it was like trying to figure out how to lock my bike for the first time while a stranger is talking to me. I got to the front door of the church and realized that while I did have my backpack with me I didnít remember where I put the key to my U lock or my gloves. So I took my backpack off opened it up and discovered that I had tucked my lights, my key, my gloves, and my phone all down in the bottom of the bag under my hoodie that
I had also evidently removed and rolled up and placed inside the backpack while I was trying to lock my bike for the first time while making friendly conversation with the skater punk that was there to trick me and steal my bike or kill me, you know, right there behind the church on an Easter Sunday.

Phamilton 04-22-19 07:32 PM

I left the hoodie out because my t shirt was soaked from the ride and the hoodie was less soaked. And I figured after Iíd been sitting for a while Iíd cool down and then wish Iíd worn it and have to make a ruckus rooting around in my backpack trying to put on a jacket and bumping elbows with people. So I put it on, there on the front steps of the church, after 5 minutes of messing with my stuff. The sign on the front door said Sunday service 10:00, my phone said 10:50. Okey doke.

Phamilton 04-22-19 07:34 PM

The service was already quite in session, thankfully the music was already over.

Phamilton 04-22-19 07:49 PM

There were a couple dozen kids up around the altar/stage and some tables and I dunno balloons or something on the tables and some lady who I probably knew from the youth group as a kid and this other guy with an African sounding accent with dreadlocks who reminded me of this other old church friend I used to know from Nigeria whose mom was a big personality in the church back then but she died like 10 years ago. But it wasnít him anyway.
I kept staring at the ceiling, the lights, the stained glass, the pews.
Down in the front row sat a guy who looked like the guy that ran the sound when I was playing drums in the church band. He looked old to me back then, and if this was him, he didnít really look any older. Everybody knew him as the guy who rode his bike to Michigan every Saturday. Which sounded absurd then. And in reality, now thinking about where I know he lived at the time in Ohio and where I know he was riding to in Michigan, was basically a 200k, about 60 miles each way. So yeah, he was pretty serious. I found him recently as a member of the local Strava club. I never thought about reaching out to him or anything. I think I just never thought heíd still be going to church there. He was the only person I really recognized and Iím not even sure it was him. There were probably 500 people in the whole sanctuary.
It was hot.

Phamilton 04-22-19 07:55 PM

I stood in the doorway to the sanctuary looking for a seat and a break in the action to take it but the lower level was full. So I stood there in the doorway for a bit until a young pregnant lady needed to pass, ďITS SO HOTĒ she whispered as she walked through, I guess she must have gone outside. I stepped back in for a second, stared at the pamphlets stacked in the same way in the same place they were 25 years ago when my church friends and I thought it was hilarious to mix up the piles and draw stuff in them.
I was tired of standing.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:03 PM

After a trip to the bathroom halfway down the basement stairs, I went upstairs and through the little door you have to crouch to get through into the upper sanctuary. I found an empty pew on the left side and sat down, stared at the ceiling again and the stained glass for a while. Thereís nothing that hasnít changed about my life in the last 20 years since I went there. And nothing that has changed about the building.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:06 PM

Itís sort of a humble old building, to experience now as an adult, but so so cool. Itís a Christian (non-denominational) church but I guess it was like a Lutheran or something or the other church for like 100 years prior to that.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:07 PM

Fitting that the photo was blurry because I couldnít seem to see anything very clearly.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:14 PM

Despite its shabbiness, the pews are comforting. The sound system is awful and the acoustics are worse. I just wanted to sleep. But there, on the pew. I closed my eyes and heard my grandmother singing a hymn. She died 6 years ago. She never even knew I had cancer. Iím glad she didnít. Neither she nor my grandpa ever knew I stopped
going to church.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:20 PM

The music stopped and all the kids were being shoed off the stage. Nobody could quite decide whether to clap so a few people did very enthusiastically. Probably grandparents who come to church at Easter and Christmas. I mean, honestly, those are the best times to go. Everybodyís dressed up and building is always full of music and people shave and wear extra cologne and perfume and thereís always always food. Just saying if youíre only gonna go twice,
go then.
The man took the stage and started praying and I looked around to see how many people also werenít praying. Lots of smart phone activity in the pews, visible from my seat in nosebleed.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:26 PM

I look over toward the big stained glass window across the sanctuary where I used to sit with the rest of the youth group. Some sundays we were over 100 kids. Thatís the size of my graduating class. The youth group was a big thing back then. It was competitive. Like to be the biggest most happening thing in the community back then. It was inner city, downtown. I honestly donít know why we ever went there. We lived 20 miles away out in the country, a dying farm community. I still work there.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:34 PM

We had a youth group choir. I was in it. I sang baritone. We had smoke machines and a PA and wireless mikes and makeup and costumes. We traveled in the summer time. I went on the trip to Cincinnati. My family couldnít afford the trip to Brazil but my best friend went. He learned Portuguese. I was so jealous. Heís still my best friend. The cute blonde I can see over in the old youth group section is a dead ringer for the girl my best friend had a crush on and was heartbroken when she wanted to marry a pastor. My best friend married a hot Russian school teacher and lives in Europe.

Phamilton 04-22-19 08:59 PM

The man stops praying and everybody looks up and the man says something about Luke and I guess between the heat and the sort of nausea from the overwhelming sensory remember-y experience and the McDonalds I stopped and ate before I rode 9 more miles to the church my body had had enough and I found myself crouching through the hobbit door, down the stairs, and out the door, a la pregnant lady. I donít remember if she was out there or not.

Phamilton 04-22-19 09:10 PM

My best friend, while he was still living stateside but in Florida, he came back to visit Indiana and had lost like 40 pounds and was skinnier than me for the first time ever, I asked him how did he lose weight, he tells me he got a bike and started riding around Tampa bay. This is before I had a bike as an adult, before I heard of Bike Forums. So I thought if he can do it, no reason I canít. This was before my leg got messed up.

Phamilton 04-22-19 09:13 PM

Actually, having two good working bikes here now is a good thing, where he lives now he has a bike but lives at the top of a 500 foot steep hill just outside the city. Heís my height and could use one of my bikes next time heís here, I think this summer.

Phamilton 04-22-19 09:21 PM

My best friend, his family lived even more remotely than we did. On an actual dirt road, not gravel - dirt. Every Sunday and sometimes Wednesdays and Saturdays too theyíd load up their conversion van and drive like an hour into the city to go to this downtown inner city church. Farmers. There were no shortage of churches in our hometowns. The town I grew up in, where I now work, in the factory across from the elementary school where I sat next to the man who is now my boss in kindergarten class, a town of 1100 people, has at least 8 churches. Why were all these farmers driving downtown to go to church?

Phamilton 04-22-19 09:56 PM

I got my driverís license driving a conversion van up and down the roads I now bike to and from work. Some of the roads havenít been repaved since then.

Phamilton 04-22-19 10:10 PM

The only time Iíve ever been harassed on my bike while riding in my hometown was I had just left work last fall maybe I guess. A big guy in a tired Lincoln Navigator decides he needs to pass me literally 50 feet from the stop sign, by the time I see him coming around me on the left thereís not even time for me to stop with room enough for him to fit in behind the stop sign so he just stays in the left lane, screaming something or the other. I stopped and put my foot down, he screamed some more and squealed his tires as he turned right and when I got a look at his face recognized him as a guy who was in kindergarten with me and my boss but got held back a year. I see that Navigator pretty often parked at the youth center run by the church my grandma and grandpa went to, the youth center built by the grandparents of my school best friend who is no longer my best friend. Who was also in kindergarten with me and my boss and the big angry Navigator guy.

Phamilton 04-22-19 10:22 PM

Every morning on my way into work, I ride past the town trailer park. I lived there 3 times. First time was in high school after my dad and that lady got divorced and sold the farmhouse we were living in. Second time was with my brother after my dad got a house with the lady who moved in 2 doors down from us in the trailer court and my brother didnít want to live there and I was tired of living alone downtown. My other brother lived there for a while with us, and his girlfriend too after she got pregnant and I guess kicked out of her house. We took a road trip together in a rented car up to the lake on a perfect summer day and stopped to see an air show along the way.
The third time I lived there was with my wife and kids after I got laid off. It was right after we got married. We were living in a big 2 story house in a small town in the county north of us. It was perfectly bikeable, 3 blocks to the grocery store, 4 to the town park, 5 blocks to the library. I think the first bikes we got were living there. But we couldnít afford the rent and my dads sister had this trailer and she wanted to move in to take care of grandma after the second stroke so we moved in. She didnít tell us the place had fleas and mice.

Phamilton 04-22-19 10:37 PM

We had been there for over a year and were ready to get out and my aunt said she had a friend who needed the trailer and that we needed out ASAP so we moved back to the city. That trailer is still there but nobody is living in it and the windows are busted out and the skirting is all broken, thereís a tree branch sticking through the one side door.

Phamilton 04-22-19 10:47 PM

I was making good money working for the place my dad worked at while I was in school, managing the department he worked in. He didnít work there anymore. My boss, the president of the company, was the accountant when my dad worked there. The president of the company back then (who my dad adored) was the guy who gave me his sonís bike when he died. I never knew the kidís name and I donít remember how he died. I was like 8, and we were living with my grandparents out in the country and my dad brought me home this bike one day, a brand new Schwinn Predator BMX bike, it was yellow with blue and chrome, had the top tube and handlebar pads, and a plastic chainguard. I wish I never knew it was a dead kidís bike, but I loved it. My dad quit working for that company when the bike kidís dad died and the accountant became president of the company. My dad hated him. I worked for him for 5 years.

Phamilton 04-22-19 10:53 PM

While I was working there I wanted a good bike. Somehow I ended up with a Schwinn Continental with a 20Ē frame and upright bars. It wasnít right for me, at 6í tall, so I traded it for a 12 speed someone gave my dad for cleaning a garage or something, a Raleigh Marathon with a 23Ē frame. Heís 5í6Ē and canít use drop bars so it made sense. He had the saddle slammed and the bars turned upright. Somewhere in between the Continental and the Raleigh I got cancer in my leg and couldnít ride for a while.

Phamilton 04-22-19 11:04 PM

I put over 4,000 miles on that Raleigh commuting. Itís still in my garage. The rear wheel is dying. I broke one spoke and then two more trying and failing to take the freewheel off to replace the broken spoke.
I feel like I got my moneyís worth out of it. The frame is the right size but something about how it rides is off. I think the forks might be bent or the headset needs replaced or both. Itís a pretty light frame for what it is. And the left crank arm pedal threads are stripped. And the chainrings are bent. Etc etc etc.

Phamilton 04-22-19 11:14 PM

This is the last pic I have of the Raleigh. If I ever sort out the front end, I think itíd
make a good fixie.

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