Sunday, November 20, 2011


Let me take a few minutes of your time to tell you about my first organized bike ride several years ago – the “Bluebonnet Express” out around Hempstead, Texas. I’ve got to admit that it was a gorgeous ride – only slightly hilly – not near what I was used to back near Bodega Bay, California. You want hills? Go ride with the Bay City Cycling Babes in the San Francisco area. Now there are some hills!
But back to the Bluebonnet Express. The ride started off great but I really hated it when we got out of range of that deejay. He was really playing some great music. They need to figure out how they can get him a more powerful amp so the riders can hear him on the entire course. And how about that guy driving the U-Haul truck? What’s the deal with him? I was riding along on my J.C. Higgins cruiser and had both of the side baskets full of those free hot link wrap-arounds that they were passing out before the ride.  I even grabbed a couple of containers of the pickles and onions – because I’m on the 25-mile course, right? I know I’m gonna get hungry. Well this guy keeps waiving me over wanting to know if I’ll give him one of my hot link wrap-arounds. I didn’t mind giving him some of my food but it was going to seriously cut into my cycling time if I stopped. After all, this was my first attempt at riding a 25-mile ride all in one day. But anyway, the ride organizers need to think about stocking this guy up with his own free food so he doesn’t bother the cyclists. Or maybe he didn’t have anything to do with the ride – I don’t know. I suppose there is more than one U-Haul truck driving around near the bike ride.
But back to my ride…  Now, I’m not a real fast rider and a lot of people tell me that I should upgrade my bike to something with gears – (By the way – I do have a new bike on layaway back at the bike shop. It’s a Schwinn Cruiser Six with, get this, six speeds! – and brakes on the handlebars. How cool is that! I’m going to be able to go much, much faster on my next big ride.) Oh yeah – as I was saying – Anyway, I’m not a real fast rider but at this one point in the ride, a pack of riders were coming up behind me – I think we were somewhere in downtown Hempstead. I’m already pretty pooped and one of the fast riders slowed down to chat with me. I think his name was Chet or Bret or Wilroy or Alex or something similar to that and I told him my name and he said, “Hey! I made some of those bike part wind chime thingies that you had put in the cycling newsletter a few months ago.” I replied, “Oh really? How do you like them?” and he said, “Well, they’re only a couple of months old and already they are rusted looking.” – then he sped off to catch up with his friends before I had a chance to tell him that I’m starting up this special service where I go to people’s houses and clean those wind chimes for only $25.00 a month. His loss, I suppose.
Sorry, I got off on a tangent again – back to the ride. I was almost to the first rest stop – and boy, was I needing it – not to mention it was about time to change the tape in my portable VCR (I had packed several movies to help pass the time during the ride). So anyway, there I was, nearly at the first rest stop when I had a blowout on the back tire. I pulled over to the side of the road and almost immediately this guy stopped to help me. I think his name was Bob or Rob or Mack or maybe Alex or something like that. I told him my name was Ashtabula – Bertha Ashtabula (you know, kinda like Bond, James Bond does in the movies?). Then he said, “Hmm. Ashtabula. Now that’s an interesting family name. Where does that come from?” And I replied, “Well, we’re sort of out of room in this article so I guess you’ll have to wait for the…

Enjoy the Ride!

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