Friday, August 24, 2012


As we rode along Eliot Bay, Fancy Fred regaled me with tales of cycling legend Jobst Brandt, who, as the internet attests to, used to cycle through the European Alps every summer, routinely burning up his rims and tires as he braked on the long descents, thereby giving rise, of necessity, to the development of his expertise as a wheel-builder, which just goes to show that destruction is sometimes (if not always) a required precursor to creation; from the ashes, phoenix-like, will rise something new, or at least the conditions for innovation to flourish.

Still, it’s hard to imagine that much will come from the smoldering palettes being sprayed down by an amused-looking firefighter in Fremont as I returned from Ballard after having departed from the ride remnants some thirty minutes earlier, although perhaps there’s a story that might emerge under the right conditions and in the proper time.

In any case, the main thing I thought in thinking about Jobst’s adventures is that while they’d be amazing, I’m sure, a person might just as well satisfy their appetite for stunning scenery while biking by touring the Puget Sound in summer, or even more specifically, just by pedaling around Seattle on an August evening when the sky is smudged with scattered clouds and the setting sun imparts a tinge of pink to their heavenly edges.

Later, on the dock with beer can chinking where I rode numerous extended figure-eights to keep warm, the quarter moon appeared in all its half-moon shaped glory, an apt metaphor, I’d say, for how words inevitably fail to capture the way things really are when you’re there out in it.

A cover charge inevitably split the group up, but no texts were needed to regroup: you just rode in the last direction people were headed and stopped at the closest bar. 

So maybe it wasn’t a summer tour of the Alps , there was still beauty there and tales to be told.


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