I knew I had to be close to catching up to the ride when I was forced to pedal up and back through a switchbacked handicapped-accessible ramp into the deserted park. And when I crossed not one, but two darkened baseball fields and descended into the lightless bowl of trees, I was confident that if I called out “Brother! Brother!” in the classic Wreyford-style, I would hear the echoing calls of one familiar voice or another, which indeed was the case, as the Angry Hippy welcomed me into the fold of several dozen intrepid miscreants arrayed about in the north (suburban) woods.
There’s something especially satisfying about heading out solo later in the evening to rendezvous with the bike gang, especially if they’re in the out of doors, and even moreso if you’ve already been out for a solid pre-funk of a sushi dinner with your loving family: it’s an embarrassment of riches, frankly, but thanks to liberal applications of sake over the meal, you’re not embarrassed at all.
On occasions like this, it takes but a moment to feel re-integrated into the fold; before you know it, you’re telling lies with the best of them and blowing on the fire to coax it into a blaze cheerful enough to inspire a moment’s panic from some of the assembled when a car rolls by (a feeling not long-lasting enough to discourage the taking of questionably-legal routes on the way home, but I digress.)
And so, even though my night among the ridership was, all things considered, fairly brief, it clearly had all the elements necessary for complete enjoyment: bicycles, bushwhacking, and beer, and a brief stop at a bar that will forever have a special place in my heart for its bringing together of disparate elements in my own life.
Which I guess is part of the ongoing appeal of nights out on two wheels: when you eventually catch up to the ride, you find yourself, too.