Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dude, Where’s My Giant Foam Thumb?

It’s the if-then philosophical algebraic method of cycling.  If you don’t have a spare tube and air, then carry a cell phone.  If you don’t have a cell phone, then ride with friends who do.  If you don’t have any friends…uh…you should either have two Nike’s or a giant foam thumb sticking out of your jersey pocket.

Occasionally I ride with Dude.  Dude’s cool and a steady strong heads up rider.  Dude is new to town and lives in an adjacent neighborhood.  Dude and I aren’t Facebook besties.  Dude doesn’t feed my cats when I go on vacation.  I don’t know Dude’s full story.  Our conversation has never went past paceline pleasantries.  I don’t have Dude’s number nor know his address.  He doesn’t know mine.  We’re like barbell friends, on the opposite ends of the same group ride.  I show up when I need a moderately paced civil ride.  He shows up when he wants to ride with familiar faces.  I’ve been the new dude, dropped between Loveland and Morrow my first year in town and sympathize. 

Dude’s hamstrings and quads are big enough to be featured on the sale poster at the cannibal neighborhood deli.  Friends on the ride marvel at his beef sticks.  Nicknames like Dude-asaurus Rex and Hamhock don’t even come close.  The legs of his shorts should be reinforced with Kevlar.  After a recent ride, he may consider running a motorcycle chain. 

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I equate riding in Northern Kentucky like this.  Take a piece of paper.  Crumple it up in a ball.  Unwad it and there you have a topographical map of NKY.  On your typical everyday Northern Kentucky riser, Dude got up on the pedals, took two stabs and the chain snapped.  Pop.  We turned to see Dude doing the top tube dance of death.  Putting a foot down, he saved it without injury.

“Anybody got a chain tool,” someone asked.


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5 riders, an hour and a half from home and no one has a chain tool nor a spare pin nor a quick link.  In our defense, 4 of 5 don’t have the legs to break a chain.  To be sure there wasn’t a pin rattling around somewhere, we checked our saddle bags.  Nope.

“Dude, you got anyone you can call for a ride?”


Dude’s new to town, living single in the city.  We’re his friends.  We’re all here.  So we did what any good riding buddies would do.  We left him.

Well not really.  Being at least an hour’s walk from the nearest intersection with a stop light or anything you could remotely call a town, we advised him to sit tight on this tiny road in Nowheresville, KY.  In two hours one of us would come back in a car to pick him up. 

“Dude.  What’s your cell phone number, so we can call and find you when we’re on the way back with the car?”

“I don’t have a cell phone on me.”  Dude quickly added, “Who am I gonna call?”

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We desparately held back the dumb found looks.  He’s serious.  Who’s he gonna call?  Dude was so matter of fact about it.  I tried to wrap my head around the fact that, if it wasn’t for us, he was completely prepared to walk home, like it was no big deal.  We figured he was at least 27 miles or a brisk six hour walk from home in bike shoes, 90 degree weather, with one water bottle.  Dude started asking about the fastest route back by foot.  If that’s what had to be done, he would’ve done it. 

Thankfully, another dude on the ride had enough time in his Sunday schedule to run back out in the car to save Dude’s day.  The thing is, and Dude specified before we pedaled off, Dude didn’t want a ride.  He asked for either a spare chain or the tools to fix it with.  That’s exactly what happened.  After sitting in spandex at the side of the rural NKY road for two hours not looking out of place at all, another dude drove back fixed Dude’s chain and Dude rode home.  

1 comment:

BBC said...

Joe, on your NKY routes if something comes up again, give me a call, that's my stomping ground.