The dude on the bike
February 7, 2012 § 4 Comments
The sun did not shine. It was too wet to ride.
So we sat in the house. And we felt like we’d died.
I sat there with Sally, we sat there we two.
And I said, “How I’d love to go biking with you!”
Too wet to go out and too cold to pedal.
So we sat there forlorn. Like Hansel and Gretel.
We stared at our bikes and thought Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!
And we did not like it. No time trial or crit.
And then something went WHAM!
And we both said, “Goddamn!”
We looked! Then we saw him roll in with a flex!
All filthy and gnarly! Big, bad MMX!
And he said to us, “What? Are your bikes total wrecks?
“I know it is wet. And the roads are all rough.
“But we can find out who’s the wimp and who’s tough!”
“My Ride, Belgian Waffles, we’ll do,” said the dude.
“And if you’re a Fred you’ll be totally screwed.”
“A lot of good roads. I will show them to you.
“There’s only one catch!” And he looked at us two.
Then Sally and I we both looked kind of dumb.
Our wheelsucking style was what we called “fun.”
But our goat said, “No! No! Make that dude go outside!
“Tell that dude in the tights you do NOT want to ride.
“He should not be here, Belgian Waffles and all!
“I’ve heard of that ride! It’s a two-fisted brawl!”
“Now! Now!” said the dude. “Have no fear. Have no fear!”
“As long as you work, we’ll swill good Belgian beer.”
“But if you’re adjudged at the back to have dawdled,
“You won’t be rewarded or fawned on or coddled.”
“In fact,” said the dude as he pushed us outside,
“You’ll flat rue the day that you learned how to ride.”
The goat by this time was astraddle my bars
As crazily fast we three weaved through the cars.
“Take me back!” said the goat. “I hate it up here!
“I do my best work sucking wheel in the rear!”
The dude simply grinned as he cut through the wind.
“Oh, goat, now’s the day for your sins you will pay
“As the wind and the rain and the cold have their sway.”
“With the bugs in your teeth! The throttle full bore!
“But that is not ALL I can do! No, there’s more!
“Look at you! Look at you now!” said the dude.
“All panting and hacking! Your brain fairly stewed!
“You see what it’s like at the tip of the spear?
“It’s not quite as easy as back in the rear.
“And look! We don’t have to stay just where it’s paved!
“The dirt and the cobbles are yet to be braved.
“Follow my wheel if you can, though it’s hard
“And not much like farting around in the yard.
“Grip the bars tight but don’t fight for control,
“Take the bumps easy and let the wheels roll.
“Feel the wheels slip as you let the wheels slide,
“And soon you Freds both will be able to ride.
“And rather than cower and quaver and quake,
“The gnarliest, bad-assedest pulls you’ll soon take.”
That is what the dude said.
Then I fell like a Fred!
My goofy maneuver damn near cleared the decks,
It knocked down poor Sally and shook MMX.
I hit with a thud and my mouth filled with crud.
I said, “Do I like this? The warm spurting blood?”
“This is not a good ride,” said our goat as I crashed.
“My horns are all blunt and my side fairly thrashed.”
“Now look what you did!” said the goat to the dude.
“His shorts are all ripped! He’s riding half nude!
“You fucked up his frame and her nice carbon rim,
“And tore the nice kit that was given to him.
“We SHOULD NOT be riding our bikes in this shit!
“You take us home now! We won’t ride one more bit!”
“But I like it out here where it’s nasty and wet,”
Said the dude on the bike to the goat he’d just met.
“I won’t take you home, or tuck tail like some pup.
“The ride has just started, so man the fuck up!
“Your sad sack maneuvers, your wheelsucking game,
“Is frankly pathetic, disgusting, and lame.
And then he looked down and he dropped it a cog,
His mighty quads flexing, I flailed like a dog.
And just as we thought we’d crack, crater, and blow,
He looked back and said “95 miles to go.”
Then he got up on top of the big, massive gear,
“I call this game RIP OFF YOUR LEGS,” did he leer.
“In this locker of pain you’re now bound up inside,
“You will find something new, from which you can’t hide.
“These things that you’ll find here are truer than true,
“A view of yourself that’s entirely new.”
And out came two things, clad in stylish SPY Blue,
As pitilessly they spun out a tattoo.
A tattoo of pain, and they rolled like a train,
And they said to us, “Watch how we sprint in the rain.”
“Would you like to match pulls with SPY One and SPY Two?”
And Sally and I did not know what to do.
So we hopped in the line with SPY One and SPY Two.
We each took a pull. But our goat said, “No! No!
“Don’t rotate like that! Your poor legs will blow!
“We should not be here in the muck or the storm!
“Let’s beat a retreat where it’s toasty and warm!”
“SPY One and SPY Two,” said the dude on the bike.
“Don’t give a goddamn what you hate or you like.”
“They are here to take names. They are here to kick ass.
“And you’re on their list, and it don’t say ‘free pass.’
“Now, here is a game that they like,” said the dude.
“They call this game ’53-12.’ In the mood?”
“Not 53-12!” said the goat in great fear.
“We’ve never held pace in so monstrous a gear!
“Oh, the speeds they will go! Oh, the pain they’ll inflict!
“How did we wind up in this mess? We’ve been tricked!”
Then Sally and I saw the big rings engage.
We shuddered in pain as they pedaled in rage.
They flew through the mud, we were covered in it,
The rain and the cold and the muck and the shit.
SPY Two and SPY One! They went faster than fast!
The hours turned to minutes so quick did time pass.
Our faces all covered with muddy spit flecks,
All grinning the while was big MMX.
Then those Things hit the gas with big bumps, thumps and whacks,
And with sprints and big jumps and all kinds of attacks.
And I said, “I’m beginning to like how they play!
“Are those balls down below that I’ve grown here today?”
Then our goat said, “Look! Look!” And our goat shook with fear.
“You’re about to get dropped! Suck wheel at the rear!
“What if you come off? What will your friends think?
“They’ll scorn you and laugh and they’ll say that you stink!
“Suck some wheel! Fast!” said the goat. “Do you hear!
“Your limit of lactate, your threshold is near!”
“As fast as you can, race back to the back!
“You’ll have to forget that you want to grow sack!”
I looked at the goat but his offer I spurned,
With heroes like this, this much had I learned.
‘Tis better to pull on the point with your crew,
Get beat down and fail, the best you can do,
Than to finish respected by no one but you.
I moved to the front and I pulled for a while,
And then through the slime and the mud did he smile.
I said to the dude, “Now, buddy, I’m done.
“‘Twas harder than nails, but its own kind of fun.”
“You pussy,” he said. “It’s not over yet.”
“The road isn’t finished, we’re still soaking wet.”
“Hop on, you poor sod, for this much I’ll say,
“In doing your best, what you’ve earned for today,
“Not sneaking or skulking or trying to steal,
“A free ride on some fellow traveler’s wheel,
“I’ll haul your ass home, so just tuck in behind
“But don’t be surprised if it’s work there you find.”
And then all the pain and the hurt heretofore,
Was as flowers in spring to the beatdown in store
For Sally and me as we clung to his rear,
Our tongues in our spokes as he shifted each gear.
And when we looked up, only sunshine remained.
Aside from our kits, you’d not know it had rained.
He dropped us off quick, with a nod of respect,
And then he was gone, but we didn’t expect
That he’d leave us with such an amazing attraction
A feeling of deep inner self-satisfaction,
The knowledge that taking’s a shiny, bright star,
But giving’s so truly much better, by far.
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WM: I’ll be reading this piece to my 5 year old tonight at bedtime.
“Daddy, what does ‘fuck’ mean?”
Get a good illustrator*, and you’ve got a children’s book right here. Forget Mike and the Bike, this will teach the ’em right.
*Better than me!
A children’s book for the dads who cycle, maybe…