Monday, February 20, 2012

Frostbike 2012: Mike's Bikes

Of course, there was mayhem and debauchery at Mike's Bikes on the Friday night of Frostbike weekend. It could only happen on the scale that this tiny gathering is at, so you really can't compare it to the Cutters Ball, because that event, while fun, would cause much trouble if it were allowed to become what this was.

Old Iron
I left for the Northern tier of states late Friday afternoon and rendezvoused with Ben, Curtis, Stu, and a few others at Mike's. Mike was there too, and in better shape than last summer, back when he had busted himself up on his bicycle.

Beer was cracked and I spent a good amount of time speaking with Mike about the folks he knew back in the old klunking days. Mike, as I have reported here before, was one of the original mountain bikers back in Marin County, California. He had his own cruiser turned mountain bike, and had owned several seminal early mountain bike iterations. His "Mountain Bikes" Montare, purchased from Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly, hung in the racks not far from where we were speaking with each other. 

Well, it wasn't long before the traditional Greek pizza, (or three), was ordered. Marty from the Prairie Pedaler came around, and then John showed up as well. More beers were cracked. More conversations were shared. Some folks left. Mike disappeared when it was plain that the events were turning, well......more dangerous.

Stu, well.....he likes guns, so there are a few of those around, and being guys and all, we were looking at those and checking out their details. Ben picked up something nice from Marty, (I won't spoil the surprise for Ben), and that was certainly talked about at length. (No- it was not a gun!)

John plays the downtube flute upon Presidential Request
We played "bicycle based musical instruments". Really. Handle bars work great for this, but on this particular evening, we were graced by the presence of a mid-80's Trek aluminum down tube based "flute" replete with a Pedros bottle opener mounted where the bottle mounts were and the Suntour 7 speed shifters.

Only the truly skilled could make a "musical" sound on this. Others less talented could only make grotesque, gastrointestinal sounding bleats and  blats. There were a lot of these sorts of sounds. Oh, and I should also add that a bottle of Goldschlager somehow appeared around this time. More beers were cracked.......Using the Trek/Pedros/musical instrument to open those beers, of course.

Well, after this became old hat, we had to start warm-ups for the indoor criterium. Yes- riding bicycles indoors.

John on the "Front Stretch"
You see, this is the highlight of the evening. Mike's is sort of an odd place in terms of its layout. The front door opens to a long, narrow-ish floor where the bicycles are displayed. Near the rear of this is a counter, and off to the opposite side is the service area. There is a "ramp" up to a different level, maybe a foot, a foot and a half at best, which takes you into the back room. Here there is a doorway, well.....sort of.  More like an opening, anyway- you go into the hold area where the bicycles waiting for repair, and those in storage, hang from hooks and sit lined up along the walls. There is a couch, computer, desk, and a refrigerator back here.

Then you have to make another tight left hander through a narrow hall way, down a ramp, which makes you pick up speed, and to the end of the "back stretch", which is all "backroom". Because of this, there are various odd things like bikes sitting around, the bathroom door to watch out for, and a railing along the ramp here.But this isn't the most difficult corner. It is a bit slippery though, as the concrete is pretty smooth there.

Ben looking back through the difficult "Repair Area Chicane"
Then it's a short straight, and back up the showroom "front stretch" area where we started.  That pretty much sums up a lap at Mike's Bikes.

The most difficult area is the "Repair Area Chicane". This comes right before the ramp to the back room, and then there is an immediate left. It is tight, and there are a lot of chances for accidents. I have skinned my knuckles on the counter here, crashed into the support pole for the roof, and nicked the repair stand in my days of laps at Mike's. And you know- it isn't like we are being careful kiddies either. Speeds get up into the "Ridiculous Range" very quickly, and laps are done in seconds at speeds over 15mph in places. Indoors. In a bike shop.

So, if you were wondering, yes, it is pretty dangerous to do this at the sort of speeds we do this at. We skid into the corners, slide, and ricochet off things and each other. We are probably pretty intoxicated as well. Actually, I know we are. 

Mayhem: It happened.
So it goes. John misjudged the tight corner going into the back room after the ramp, got a little out of shape, and took out the coat rack, and some stuff on a shelving unit, as he clattered to the floor. He was okay.

It just looked really bad!

We got him untangled from that mess and proceeded to find him a more suitable steed. The Indoor Criterium went on.

Of course, all things come to an end sooner or later. One of those things was Friday. It became Saturday morning, and we never really noticed. That will happen when you are having, fun that is!

Ummm....yeah. Whatever dudes.
Another thing that ended was the beer. Then after trying to destroy what was left of the old Trek frame the "downtube flute" came from, (which Ben did expertly, I might add), we traipsed down to the local watering hole at something past 1:00am. As if we really needed to!

Well, the boyz played darts and I- not being blessed in the arts of bar room gaming, stayed at the table to watch the beer, and munch some salty pop corn. The bar had "entertainment", (only in the most loosely defined sense could you say this), and I tried to find something to appreciate about it. I will say that the duo had some chutzpah and a nice Ric bass. 

Yeah- that's about all I can say about that.

Well, we closed out that bar, and then we had a big problem. Ben's house was a mile and a half away, and none of us were in any shape to drive, nor did we have bicycles. They were all locked up in the shop.
I seriously do not remember taking this one!
 Well, that left us with one option- walking. That we did. It was actually quite nice out and no one was about. We headed up the street and Curtis took leave of us, while Marty, Ben, and I walked on.

Eventually we found ourselves crossing the high school property. I walked in between some tall evergreens and then it happened.

There was some snow piled up in here that had been drifted up, melted, and re-frozen hard as a rock. It was slippery as well. So, my boots, which don't have much for traction, slipped on the hard, icy snow, and down I went. Hard.

I guess I must have smacked my upper left thigh on something pointy, frozen, and unforgiving, because it really bruised my muscle against my thigh bone. I thought I may have broken my leg at first, since the pain was intense and sharp, but I got up and could put weight on it. Nothing I could do but limp the rest of the way back to Ben's place, throw myself on the bed they set aside for me, and sleep it off.

Frostbike. It started out with a bang and a crash. Or two!


Landon said...

A fine example for the youth of America?

Guitar Ted said...

@Landon: Someone should show them what not to do, or something...(Only half kidding).

Actually, we were a lot more responsible for our actions than I have portrayed here. Note: We didn't drive, (and we easily could have), we didin't break anything we weren't ready to own up to, and I got up at 7:00am the next day and got to doing what I needed to do.

Maybe that side of the story balances out the other? Maybe in my youth I wouldn't have been making decisions like these I write about here in the comments? I'll leave that to you to decide.

Angus150 said...

The cycling community IS where it's @! Keep the good times ROLLING & avoid motor vehicles. Thanx 4 all U do Guitar Ted.

MG said...

Good show old chap!

Steve Fuller said...

Awesome. I agree about the Cutter's Ball comment. That had potential to get seriously nutty, but for whatever reason, it didn't at least while I was there.