It was finally just like the old days with a slight twist. Today’s ride was hatched around 6:30 a.m. with a text sent to big Mike up in Rochester Hills. The plan was to just ride down and meet up with Mike’s wife and then head over to the St. Patty’s day parade in Cork town and then all return in the car, avoiding the NW wind. The next step was to see if Andrea was willing to not go to the office as originally planned but rather divert to the house, allowing for Jen to have a chance to join the old dogs in their trip on down. Andrea made the Day. First she said that she had to be somewhere by 4:00pm, but more about that later.
I drove out to pick up Mike from his house around 10:30 so that they would not have to coordinate a two car pickup. Anyway you dice it is 30 minutes up to his place from ours. I thought to myself, he had made this journey over 200 times over the past 6 years always willing to come down and work on the trails or take a ride. What a commitment that until this morning I had no real appreciation for.
We made it back to our place around 11:30 and I scrambled to get my gear on and check the tire pressures. Jen slipped outside with a weary smile to say hello and ask if she could help with anything. “just the water bottles” I said as I smiled at how dorky she looked wearing her winter boots along with her biking pants and gear. As I was putting my boots on, Andrea informed me that she would have to leave around 3:00 which was going to change our plan without me realizing it in that moment. A few minutes later and in a rush of action and excitement we were off.
Same group same fun! Pushing, talking catching up, the ebb and flow of three old friends doing what they loved had returned. I smiled all the way down to Palmer Park. Once there we dashed into the woods and made a turn off of the main asphalt trial and found ourselves back into the sacred forest once again.
Jen, hugging one of her big friends, a 225 year old virgin White Oak guarding one of the trail heads out at Palmer.
Big Mike checking his phone for the time to make sure we do not stay to long on the trail so we could meet his wife on time.
From there we rode on through to see if the report was true about people stealing pieces of the Historic Fountain’s balustrade? Unfortunately it was true. While the city contends with fighting with itself and against the self serving unions, the cost now is pieces of history are being scraped and stolen like SOME COPPER PLUMBING FROM AN ABONDONED HOME. This fact tugged at my heart strings as I know only too well that it would be another 30K added to any hopes of restoration.
As we jumped onto Third Avenue I had to ask myself when are we going to get it? When are the leaders going to provide an example for other people to aspire and follow? When will people care enough to change? A voice in my head went off and it was my friend Jon who asked again the question, “Are people inherently bad or good”? Today for the first time I had to agree that they were mostly bad.
We made it down to MCB with a few minutes to spare for out of respect for Mike’s wife, we did not want to be late. As we caught our breath, sitting at the counter, I had finally the chance to talk to Jen about what Andrea said about 3:00. She looked at me in typical fashion and asked me “when I was going to tell her about the change in plans”? What the heck I thought to myself, “when and in-between what breath”?
Needless to say, and much to our dismay, we told Mike and Lisa we were going to have to ride back so as to make the timing commitment with Andrea. Well with it being almost 2:00 and with the strong cold NW wind facing us, big Mike said, “Good Luck”. We saddled up and rode. I told Jen to stay tucked up in my draft bubble knowing full well that her legs alone would have a tough time with the 17 mile return journey that headed straight into the wind. Later that night I wished I would have never suggested it but what the hell there still are some heroes left and my wife believes me to be one of them.
We made a brief stop back in the trails at Palmer so that I could take off that second layer of biker pants. With that being done we rode by a cute couple that was out hiking taking pictures, with faces well lit with surprise and delight. The word seems to be getting out that the city has some wonderful natural spaces that are open to explore. The last few miles were tuff and I mean tuff. I had to slow down and get Jen back into the bubble. We made it back home at 3:06 and with Andrea’s van warm and running there was not much upset in her powerful eyes as we did our absolute best to honor her time and commitments.
Bike Detroit! J & J Meyers bike explorers