Monday, September 11, 2006

Grape Ape

I rode—well, sorta—in a bike race yesterday called the Grape Ape. It was organized by a sweet guy who goes by the name Billy Dotcom, whose friendly, supportive manner made me feel right at home, even though—as a race participant—I can’t exactly say I fit the standard model.

Most of the riders were serious professional cycling types—messengers and bike shop employees—and although the event was all in good fun, it was obvious right from the get-go that I was way outta my league. A couple of riders were talking beforehand about just getting back from the national Cycle Courier Championships in Philadelphia last week and pretty much everyone there had that casual leanness that comes from riding all day long. Folks were nice enough to me as we were getting ready to race and pleasant in conversation at the after-party, but I did feel like something of an outsider, which—after all—I was.

I didn’t even complete the route, which basically swung from Capitol Hill around Lake Union; Mimi had a soccer game that I wanted to see, so I bailed from the race after the first checkpoint. Nevertheless, I was made welcome by Billy at the after-party (held at the Funhouse bar) and stuck around for a couple beers and a free-to-riders barbecue.

What struck me most about the event was Billy’s generosity in putting the thing together. At sign-in, he provided all the riders with a Curious George goody bag filled with candy, noisemakers, a grape-flavored condom (which Mimi, rummaging through the bag for sweets found baffling and amusing), and a hand-silkscreened t-shirt. There were loads of great prizes—a track frame, wheelsets, cogs, locks, beer cozies—all of which Billy financed himself.

He’s inspired me to try and expand the prize list for the Patchkit Alleycat. I want to do my best to give back to the cycling community—even if I’m not entirely part of it.


Anonymous Alberto said...

I know the feeling. We’re just getting old—older.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous langston said...

You ride bikes, you participate in events and you support your fellow rider. I don't think you qualify as an "outsider" anymore.

9:50 AM  

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