Today’s Fog City Ride lived up to its billing. Even the sculptures in San Francisco were searching for sunshine.
This is August in California and I am wearing a turtleneck to go riding. Welcome to Summer in San Francisco.
I hopped our friendly ferry to meet up with the gang at the Java House in SF.
Today was an interesting day. I thought about why I ride. Why I get up on a foggy, cold, windy day to go out with my bike club when I want to sleep-in. And the funny thing is, like Lance says,”It’s not about the bike.”
It’s about the way that I was ready to go into the iPod zone and sleep when one of the deck hands on the ferry asked me where I was riding today and said jokingly,”if you are not going to work, you must be a tourist.” Now I was half-asleep, craving caffeine and carbs and wondering,”why AM I up anyway?” Well, he was persistent in making conversation. Most of the crew are pretty rough and tumble, missing a few teeth with more than a few tattoos to make up for them. Then he starts to talk about biking. And how he is going on a 40 day bike tour of England. (FORTY!) And about how he blew out his knee, then had a heart attack, then his wife died but he still wants to bike. Jeez, am I feeling like my life is easy. We end up talking for the entire trip about England and how they love Napa Valley wines in France and biking in Paris (which by the way, he did on his last trip). And how because his work is seasonal, he goes for 6-8 weeks at a time. He’s amazing. Hands down, the best conversation I’ve had on mass transit with a stranger. He tells me,”my name is Bud but everyone calls me Uncle Bud.” I have a NEW bud, all because of the bike.
It’s about the way that I make a last minute, split decision to take the fork in the road that leads to the Advanced bike route and hang with the big boys (and gals) today. I talk to B. I am in AWE of B. He NEVER struggles on a ride. Last time I remember, he rode up a 8% grade, after riding 115 miles, doing the yeoman’s work pulling the front of a tandem bike and encouraged ME the whole way. Then he tells me today,”You’re the bike club socialite.” I’m like,”Huh?” He explains that,”You ride with the light (beginner) group but you are a strong rider so you can ride with anyone. You’re social with everyone and you have great energy.” (I actually think I blushed and thanked him.) I consider HIM to be the one who is a great bike club member. When I started riding, he was the one who would ride fast with me but let me keep up with him. He’s a phenomenal rider but an even better bike buddy. If you Google,”nice guy” I am pretty sure you’ll see him in the results! Again, these are the people I have the privilege of spending time with because of the bike.
Finally, I see R who has a new fancy, semi-custom bike. She is beaming. We ride together and I ooh and aah over how smooth and cool the bike is. We both love inexpensive, good restaurants so we swap places. I tell her about a Mexican and Cambodian restaurant. She fills me in on a place to find incredible fish tacos. Then I find out that she’s struggling with her lender and her mortgage. We chat and I get to give her a few referrals. Then luckily, it turns out that I can help her through a partnership we have through my company for FREE. She’s calling me so I can get her in touch with someone who can give her some advice so she can make the right decision for her. She seems really appreciative that she can get someone to talk to about this. I’m just happy that she’s happy and we’re still getting in a good ride. And the fog is finally lifting. And it’s all because of the bike. But of course, it’s not really about the bike. It’s about the people I meet because of the bike.