The ride wasn’t a fun one. Someone said so much as we parked our bikes along the fire truck that lives inside the patio at Milstead. “When life is hard the rides should be easy” he said. The ride however was a hard one. Three morning hours, most of it in the rain, out north and further than the Thursday ride had gone in a long time. But we understood why some needed the long ride. Every Thursday a group of meet at the shop and ride.
I consider the Thursday ride my “home” in Seattle and most weeks our group carries a light air, and we pedal along chatting, and sometimes taking the piss out of each other, sometimes attacking on the hills, getting close on the bridge sprint and grabbing on to the jersey pockets of whoever is feeling strong on the inclines.
Back in December after a long ride with the club that’s sprung up around the shop I told ZD how great the community around the shop is. Each of us brings our own personality, but the group is not defined by the strength of any single rider, but is built around an ideal. The shop belongs to Terry and ZD, but we gather around what riding should be about at the non-PRO level. It’s about the pursuit of the activity that links us.
During the early hours of Tuesday morning the shop that ZD and Terry run, the place we meet at and ride from was broken into. The alarm didn’t work, thirty two bikes were cleared out. Most of their bike inventory. This is the place where we meet for rides, the place where all of us met. The place where I became part of a cycling new family. The place where I met my clubmates. A place I think of as a home – for the part of me that loves cycling at least – It is the place where I fell in love with the simple act of riding again. No efforts, no worrying about races that had no significance, just the joy of riding bikes with friends.
I can’t speak for the others, but we all felt something that was not joy on that ride. There was a sadness to it. But we met up and rode just the same. Like we do every week.
After the ride -when we parked our bikes along the fire engine that sits in on patio of Milstead Coffee – we were cold, soaked through after three hours in a non – typical NW rain. Kempton stopped us, and took a picture of all but the one of us who had to turn back early for work. Inside it’s busy. Terry bemoans the fact that it used to be able to find a seat on a Thursday morning. Each of us takes our orders, Chias, Cappuccinos, and Americanos and ride back to the shop. Where we stand, cold and waiting for the heat to kick on. John talks about getting a new mountain bike as we thumb through a catalog. I pick up a jersey. John tells ZD to “order one”. We’ll be here next week, taking the piss out of each other, someone may attack on a cobbled climb because it’s classics season, someone may go in the final turn before the bridge sprint, and someone might get slowed down by another pulling on their rear jersey pocket.