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My strange cycling group Chapter one

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My strange cycling group Chapter one

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Old 05-04-04, 08:18 PM
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gattm99
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I grew up riding a bicycle in what I would claim as one of the most eccentric groups in the world. Out of boredom and a desire to reminisce about the good ole days I thought I would write about some of the oddballs I have rode with in the past.

I don’t quite feel like going into the profile of our leader snakeman at this time so I think I will start off with Bicycle Jimmy. Bicycle Jimmy was the kind of person that every town has a few of. You know the crazy looking guy on the old bike that seems to aimlessly cruise around town. The best way I could put it is slow, on the bike and in the head. He certainly seemed to be a few seeds short of a watermelon.

Standing about 5 foot 8 inches he wasn’t an imposing figure, quite the opposite in fact, his outstanding quality was thinness, if a strong wind came by your first instinct was to baton him down less he be carried away. He was mostly bald but a few rouge hairs struggled on his head which is very similar to Mt Ventox in color and composition. His eyes were like bingo balls that were being spun around in the big bingo ball spinner thing.

My friend and leader of our group snakeman, has a thing for people who were down on their luck, he never hesitates to help them out. Bicycle Jimmy has probably never been up on his luck so I guess that is how they met. He loved bicycles and loved to ride, he loved to put bikes together out of spare parts and loved to wheel and deal with them. Snakeman had talked him into going on a ride with us one Saturday morning, probably a 40-50 miler which was our usual Saturday Morning ride. When I pulled into the driveway and saw Bicycle Jimmy trying to wedge his feet into the toe clips of the road bike that Snake was loaning him I nearly fell of my bike laughing, “He is going with us?” I asked with a chuckle. Snakeman just grinned.

Bicycle Jimmy inhaled his 42 ounces of coffee, which I discovered was a pre anything ritual that may have accounted for his constantly shifting eyes. I believe the ride was one that took us to Fern Cliff state park. To get their we had to pass over Southern Illinois’ hillier regions. Most people think Illinois is flat, and it is in most of it, but not where I live. We have lots and lots of steep short little hills. I just knew that this guy wasn’t going to make it, I mean he had never rode a bike with more then three speeds, he was wearing pants on a day it would be 98 degrees outside. I all ready had him down for 15 miles.

I was wrong. Bicycle Jimmy never got tired that day. When we were approaching the hills he started talking about his cycling experience. Since he seemed to be on a permanent caffeine binge the words came out like one big long word. Ireallyliketoridemybikeonthehills, pause deep breath. Mostpeopledon’tlikehillsbutIlikethemtheygetmebreathingandopenupmysinuses.

I was like, yeah hills are cool then we started up one. I did my usual thing which was to hammer the hill and pass everyone. Beside me Bicycle Jimmy’s bike started chirping and clicking as he rapidly became familiar with all the gears. I delayed my attack to watch him fall over when he tried to pedal in 52x12, which would be the highlight of my day, but it didn’t happen that way. He finally found the lowest one and suddenly his legs exploded into a blur. I bet he was turning 150 rpms. In a way very similar to how Fred Flintstone drove his car, feat moving so fast they just make a blurred circle, Bicycle Jimmy launched his bike up and over the hill, and every hill after that. I got used to counting the lone hairs on the top of his head.

Bicycle Jimmy ended up as one of our most reliable riders, he would always roll into the driveway on his fat tired bike sucking on a 42 ounce coffee and jump from the fat tire to the loaner rode bike, which he probably put more miles on then the original owner. But all good things have to end and Bicycle Jimmy’s came in the form of a car. No he wasn’t hit by one, he bought one. He actually got his drivers license back, it had been suspended for like 20 years, he got a 76 Buick with rust holes the size of soccer balls, he hasn’t ridden a bike since.
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Old 05-04-04, 08:24 PM
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Thanks for sharing. Its easy not to let others shine.
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Old 05-05-04, 01:06 AM
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Interesting story... and well written. It was funny to read about Fern Cliff... my family has a house on Lake of Egypt outside of Marion so I'm very familiar with Fern Cliff and the 100's of surrounding one-horse towns there! Very cool... if I ever get the motivation I think I may start writing about my rides...
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Old 05-05-04, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by gattm99
I grew up riding a bicycle in what I would claim as one of the most eccentric groups in the world. Out of boredom and a desire to reminisce about the good ole days I thought I would write about some of the oddballs I have rode with in the past.
Good job, gattm99! The first chapter is highly appreciated. I am curious to learn about the other 'oddballs'. So keep those chapters coming...
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Old 05-05-04, 06:55 AM
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Part of the TransAmerica route near Goreville Illinois. This is the last section of what I call the rollercoaster. Three steep hills that take you up and down real quick before this climb out
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Old 05-05-04, 07:03 AM
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Great story gattm99!

Midway through the coaster
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Old 05-05-04, 07:05 AM
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Yes, please keep them coming! I love reading some creative writing, and something other than "Which bike do you recommend???"
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Old 05-05-04, 10:57 AM
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Ahhh I SO know that hill Crawdaddy. I think I need to build something with a triple though... my paltry Texas conditioned legs get weak looking at that.
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Old 05-05-04, 08:18 PM
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Hey thanks, I appreciate the cycle stories that I get to read on here from time to time so I thought I would try my hand at some. I double appreciate the everyone who replied thanks

"shouldn't jimmy be in the tour de france if he's doing 150 rpms on a 52/12 up hills?"

I wrote what I expected him to do, he found his lowest gear he actually clunked down to the 42x28 I guess

Thanks
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