Half-naked bicycling

Posted: 05/04/2011 in Uncategorized

A woman came into the shop who I recognized from a few times when I’d seen her at another cafe in town, usually talking to male-privilegey college kids with more patience than I would have. I had often wanted to ask why she bothered, though given where the cafe is it’s possible the kids were her students. She stayed until close, working on her laptop.

As I was cleaning up before close we shot the breeze about nothing in particular–other cafes and local crap, stuff like that. There’s a lot of okay people in this shit of a country. Time to close and she asked if I had a car to get home, since it was raining pretty hard. I said I had a bike but it was only a couple blocks to get home, wouldn’t need a ride.

She said “If you’re sure. I understand if you’re apprehensive about getting into cars with strange women.”

I said “Actually I’m all about getting into anything with strange anyone–it just would be a really short ride.”

We talked about bikes. She had a cyclist run into her car door and almost kill itself. Columbus, we agreed, is not a bike-friendly town. It’s hard to ride here, she said. She warned me about rapists on the Olentangy Trail, especially at night.

I ride the Olentangy Trail almost every night anymore. Around midnight, usually, downtown to Northmoor and back or thereabouts. Started doing it to try out a new route home from work, kept on because it’s the most beautiful fucking thing in the universe, the river basin at night when no one’s out. You can’t really understand what light is until you go somewhere it’s in the minority, not just indoors but all around. When it’s there it looks like what a shadow would look like during the day. It’s like the defaults are reversed, at night, in the spots with no street lights. Fog turns the top of everything silver. I go down this beautiful fucking trail and I think, fuck y’all who told me to be scared of this all those years. Who told me to be scared of the Big Bad Wolf/rapist/mugger waiting to jump out of the bushes. Riding at night I know, this is my place. I’m the Big Bad Wolf. I’m the Big Bad motherfuckin Wolf.

It’s appropriate cause the only one who ever attacked me on the trail was an angry mother goose.

I did get fucked up on my bike once but it was because of a pothole. Wasn’t breakin the law, wasn’t doin nothing wrong. It was out in the neighborhoods that were suburban sprawl in the 60’s and nobody wants to live now. Roads in shit shape, no streetlights. It really did fuck me up pretty bad. Three motorists saw it happen and didn’t even bother to stop. Suburbs are the most dangerous place you can be.

At first on my night rides I would practice riding with no hands, but now I can do the whole trail that way easily. I practice other stuff now. Riding with no hands and singing. Riding with no hands and stripping to the waist, then putting it all back on. Nothing illegal about it, but the old lady watching that one night didn’t seem to care for it.

Nobody else knows about the amazing damn night time. Like anything else it would be better if shared with others.

The other day I rolled into a cafe in the same neighborhood as the pothole. They had Oprah Winfrey on the TV. She was kissing the ass of some Nike exec who made all these ads to pretend his corporation cares about shit while they’re exploiting all the brown people they can. They had all these pro athletes coming on the show and testifying to what a great guy this asshole is. Pro athletes selling out, one right after another on national TV. I mean, they sell out all the time but rarely in such a shamelessly grand lineup. Inevitably Lance Armstrong shows up–though I don’t know why, since Nike doesn’t make shit for bikes that I know of. Bitch move, Lance. I liked you better when you were a gay time-traveler.

Every time I see “respectable” people it makes me trust the strange ones more.


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