Saturday, September 5, 2015
______A few weeks ago, I ended up joining a gang of local dads who bike on the weekends. But how did this come about? Ah, but it is time for the final tale of the mysterious Northern Lights... gather 'round now.
______It was a Sunday morning. The asphalt below my tires was slowly warming from the rays of sun that creeped through the foliage above. My bike whizzed along at a comfortable pace that even an infant could manage. My headphones were in and a user-created playlist on Spotify appropriately named "Middle School Punk Rock Boner Jams" was draining nostalgic angst into my ears. It didn't give me any boners, but man, it was good stuff.
______And in the distance, like clockwork, there he was.
______I clicked the tab on the cord to my headphones to pause "Paralyzer." There that cyclist was, making some gesture that resembled a cartoon cactus with one arm up and the other down. Another man rode alongside him--wearing a jersey the color of a blaring orange traffic cone--making for a curious couple. Northern Lights and Traffic Cone, two cycling bros on a mission.
______I'll have something to blog about next week, then, I thought selfishly.
______"We just finished the mountain!" Northern Lights shouted. Disappointment drenched his shrill voice; he was clearly distraught that I didn't wake up earlier that morning to somehow know how to join him and his friend on their mountaineering escapade. The man in the orange jersey ignored Northern Lights' shouts, clearly immune to his domineering nature. Rather, he looked at me in confusion.
______"Are you Tracy?" Traffic Cone asked. I employed the swiftest U-turn I could manage on a bike and rode wobbly alongside the two, circling them like a shark. A really dorky shark that was probably just a fish trying to act cool. Okay, okay, a weak little minnow.
______"What mountain?" I asked. "I'm not Tracy."
______"You look a lot like Tracy."
______"The big mountain!" Northern Lights said. "I'm gramps' cheerleader here when we go up it." He gestured to Traffic Cone, who admitted it was quite the climb. There were a lot of words being whipped around.
______"Tracy must have slept in this morning," Traffic Cone murmured.
______When we collectively scooted our bikes to the shoulder of the road, I expected Northern Lights' handlebars to erupt with flames, shoot him toward the stratosphere like a rocket man, and explode into an array of glittering stars that spelled, "I AM NORTHERN LIGHTS HERE ME ROAR" until they fizzed and faded. Alas, he remained grounded and not did self-combust: he was as human as I with not an ounce of extraterrestrial blood in him.
______But then again, I tend to romanticize things, embellishing them with googly eyes, glitter, and rhinestones when necessary to pretty 'em up.
______After some discussion, I learned that they (along with a few other guys) biked up an enormous mountain occasionally, as well as throwing some easier 30-mile rides in. Which peaked my interest because I had been looking to bike longer distances and take on new roads. It's surprisingly difficult for me to bike more than 30 miles on my own, even with good music, solely because, well, it gets boring. It's more fun when puns and insults are being thrown around.
______And so with that, I became an unofficial member of the local dads' cycling club: all that's left to complete my initiation is to wrap a red bandana around my head to match the others. Done and done. Stay tuned for more chapters on these shady characters...
Dress: TJ Maxx, eons ago (similar)
Kimono: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Ring: local jewelers, from dad
Necklace: only God knows