Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It’s Better Than Retiring In Tropical Paradise

Adams Landing Fire Station
The morning radio show is taking calls about your favorite childhood meals.  “513-749-2320,” the DJ says.  Scrambled eggs with ketchup, nope, pot roast with potatoes, nah.  As I try to remember a meal that wouldn’t be boring or embarrassing to call-in and share with the Tri-state, I chuckle.  I’m on my way to work and just passed the old firehouse.  It reminds me of one of the conversations on this weekend’s group ride. 

There were seven of us on the ride Saturday, a big guy with an eastern European accent who could climb remarkably well, a financial advisor on a aged single speed, the retired dude with the older jersey, the quirky flamboyant-ish guy from South America, the I’m learning that he’s really rich and retired-young guy and me, the guy who makes commercials at a local radio station originally from Wisconsin guy.  Maybe it was just six.  No, it was seven.  The skinny guy on the Ti bike with carbon wheels, like me, is a quieter personality.  We, along with the harder to understand at 21mph eastern European and South American guys, resolve ourselves to listening to the radio chatter of the three main personalities.  

P&G Headquarters Downtown Cincinnati
Conversations on group rides seem to spark from the group of people that have ridden together the longest.  In this case: the old dude, the rich dude and the financial advisor.  I’m pretty sure all but the oldest of us are transplants; drawn to Cincinnati by some connection to the large employers like Proctor and Gamble or Kroger Foods.  We all live near downtown.  However, these three have lived in Cincinnati and have been riding together the longest.  At one point we ride by a beautifully restored historic looking triangle-corner building with a for sale or lease sign in front of it.  The same one I just passed on my way to work.

The rich guy says he’d like to live there.  It’s prime real estate.  He explains his reasoning: a great view of the Ohio River valley from the upper floors, across from the park with all the summer festivals and literally 100 yards to downtown proper.  The old guy unwittingly uncorks that he remembers when it used to be an actual working firehouse.  “That was back when the horses pulled the water wagon,” financial guys stabs at old guy.  “Or was it the bucket brigade,” rich guy fires back. 

La Paz Bolivia
This is precisely why I like to ride with these guys.  There’s arrows flying from all directions and nothing is sacred, fond memories and grey hairs included.  You’d think by spending three hours talking with a financial advisor, a rich guy, a retired guy and a guy from South America we could easily fabricate a plan for all of us, Eastern European guy included, to retire early on a beach in Bolivia.  But, richer or poorer, no matter which corner of the world we call home, we’re guys riding bikes.  We don’t talk substance.  We learned long ago that belly laughs at another’s expense on a January afternoon are warmer than any tropical paradise.

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