Our Last First Thursday

02 March, 2006 Temperature: Above Freezing

Riding to work this morning, I couldn’t keep my mind from wandering. The Baron and I have covered over 9,000 kilometers in our four months together. Today was the First Thursday in March, and you know what that means… This is the last First Thursday we are going to enjoy together. The Baron is going to be retired in eighteen days, and I will move on to new rides and different adventures. So tonight was going to be special.

Of course, in order to get to our First Thursday festivities, I had an entire workday to get through. I charged into my workload with a vengeance this morning. As one task stalled against someone else’s schedule or agenda, I moved on to another. Today I worked the way I ride: fluid and agile. I didn’t let anything stand in my way for long.

After lunch, the sun was shining, and I had to find a reason to ride!

Easy… we needed a special piece of glass cut for some lab equipment I am working on. I rode around the neighborhood, to the local hardware store, and then to a specialty glass company, until I found a solution to the problem. It was absolutely glorious to be out of the cube farm and under the bright blue sky. The Baron and I scooted through traffic with an easy grace, and nobody seemed to mind.

We returned to work and finished out the day with energy to spare.

It was a beautiful ride to Dulono’s, where the best bikes and riders in the Twin Cities converge to celebrate the First Thursday of every month.

The Baron and I were practicing our third-world scooter tactics on an unsuspecting rush-hour gridlock population. Sure, some might get pissed off, but how the heck are they going to catch us? We’re talking six lanes of bumper-to-bumper cages, creeping along, and one lone scooter with a milk crate on the back, threading the needle between them. Let me tell you, it really blows their minds. But this is their future, like it or not, and they had better get used to it.

So we finally arrived at Dulono’s, and there weren’t any other bikes in the lot. It was 38 degrees F (3°C), the sun was shining, but nobody else rode to First Thursday?

Well, to be fair, it was a bit early. I showed up at four-thirty, and some people don’t even get off work until five. Then they have to drive home in their cages, to pick up the bike and make sure it runs. Then they must check the latest weather report to avoid any nasty surprises. Finally they can decide it is just too late, and nobody is going to show up anyway, and they have an acceptable excuse to stay home.

Where IS Everybody?As you can see in the photo, which was taken around 6:45 pm, only two other bikes showed up tonight. One was ridden by a couple on an FJR, who I am told came down from Cambridge, about 40 miles away. Good for them!

Jack Was HereThe other was an old Motobecane moped, ridden by my friend Jack. I call Jack my friend, because I have seen him everywhere I ride for the last ten years, and we have talked many times. We never seem to talk for long, and we never seem to ride together. But I’m told Jack rides through the winter on a variety of bikes, and he is always there when I attend a motorcycle event. Someday, I should make it a point to learn his story, because right now I would have to admit that I Don’t Know Jack.

After this mediocre photography, the Baron and I headed out onto the very busy Lake Street, where rush hour still seemed to be in effect. We tried the same traffic-beating tactics as before, but this crowd was quite a bit nastier.

A young fellow, driving a BMW sedan with the Wisconsin license plate “LAIDY”, tried several times to run me into parked cars, whenever it looked like I was going to pass him in the right-hand lane. It seemed terribly important that I not get in front of him. Why? His girlfriend in the passenger seat looked embarrassed by his aggression, and I was laughing the whole time.

Eventually, he just stomped on the gas and ran redlights to get ahead of us. By the look on his girlfriend’s face, I’m betting that he’s not going to get “LAIDY” tonight.

17 Responses to “Our Last First Thursday”

  1. irondad Says:

    I swear, I thought I was the pun king! You’re trying to horn in on my territory, dude. Although I might just be losing my touch. Recently I sent a page with ten puns to my friends to see if I could make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

    Snatch the pun from my hand, grasshopper.

  2. irondad Says:

    Me, again!

    Ok, dangit, you sucked me in! I know how you operate because I am the same way. I have a t-shirt that came from Aerostich. It says “The road to Enlightment is more fun on a bike”. I know how we search out things on a bike that we really don’t know about ahead of time. They come to us during the journey. This all started because I read this darn blog while my fever was raging. I was on a mountain top asking the wise man for the meaning of life. He told me to jump on my bike and find it! Fortunately I recognized the trap because I knew I was in no shape to ride. My fevered brain ( minus the burned out cells ) worked on this blog title thing. I think I have the perfect name. Drum roll, please…….

    Single Track Serendipity

    It don’t show up on google that I found. When you ask Webster ( you know, the dictionary guy ) about “serendipity” he will tell you it means, and I quote:

    “The faculty or phenomenom of finding valuable or agreeable things
    not sought for”.

    Now, how cool is that! Isn’t that what we do? Isn’t that what we blog about? How we start off one way and discover something new on the ride? How we open ourselves up to new experience and understanding by riding? It doesn’t matter if we are commuting or pleasure riding it still happens.

    Gotta go. Katie just told me to shut up and quit being a blog hog on someone else’s site. I have diarrhea of the keyboard. It’s all these wonderful drugs the sawbones is pumping in me!!


  3. DaveT Says:

    Gary, I found your stuff on a google search for Pete Egan. I wanted to find someone who wrote like him, and you wrote about him. (One of your old MMM articles.) I’m happy to say I found another great writer. (Not trying to suck up or anything. LOL)

    Anyway, I ride, for much the same reason as I breathe, I can stop for a while, but eventually I have to start again. In doing so I’ve endured way too much cold and nutso commutes. To that end, I submit for your approval, suggestions for your blog name.

    Scootin’ and Commutin’

    Urban Commando (Really should be a Norton thing though.)

    Wheelie, Wheelie Fun (My DL1000’s nickname)

    Getting There With Gary

    The Daily Peg Grind

    Coffee, Commute, and a Scoot

    Two Cities, Two Wheels

    Life Doesn’t Have to Suck, Ride! (My favorite)

    Avoiding RoadKill. An urban commuter’s diary.

    Riding into the Darkness

    That’s all for now. Keep up the great blog and ride safe.

    Dave T.

    BTW, have you ever wondered by both the Chrysler and Mercedes hood ornaments look like old WWII aircraft gun sites? Do you really want to be on the same road as vehicles with “Ram” and “Dodge” embossed on the grill? Is it wrong that an eight thousand dollar motorcycle can out accelerate a Porsche Boxster from 50 - 100? (Not that I would have personal knowledge or anything ;)

  4. Mad Says:

    Wow there are some good ideas rolling in, I can see I’ll never get my hands on the prize…

  5. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Dan, good drugs, eh? It shows… Get well soon.

    Dave T, wow. You sure pack a lot into one comment. Thanks for the compliment. I totally agree about the riding/breathing connection.

    Mad, you can do better than that. Where did this defeatist attitude come from? Ask Clive for help! ;^) (chuckle)

    Ride well,

  6. tiff Says:

    talking of biker meets …..MAD, how about a rideout? The pole? Stratford? or the waterman?


  7. Mad Says:

    “Just can’t stop it”
    “Make filtering legal”
    “Commute and the art of zen”
    “Commute and be damned”
    “There and back again”
    “One man and his wheels”

  8. jim Says:

    uh… contest, huh? Here are a few for you:
    1) The Daily Dawdle
    2) Moto-Musings
    3) The Relevant Route
    4) Meander Man
    5) Tour de Francs
    that’s all for now…. jim

  9. mnscooter Says:

    Well, I’m not sure if I should comment on entries or not. With the big prize on the line, I have to watch my step. Still, I really wanted to find a way to share the fun with my readers, so I think we did the right thing.

    I’m seeing some very creative thinking, and a couple which come very close, but so far nothing has jumped out and grabbed me.

    Jim, I’m curious… “Tour de Francs”? What’s that all about?

    Mad, are you and Tiff going to ride somewhere? That would be so cool! Please post pics on your blog if you do.

    Ride well,

  10. jim Says:

    Tour de francs, yea I know its out there. Ride to work for the money. Hey don’t blame me, my wife came up with this one.

  11. Steve Williams Says:

    Judging by the First Thursday description of the best bikes and riders being at Dulanos it would seem you and the Baron might be up for the honors. All is as it should be I think.

    Thinking about you roaring down the road on the Baron or the Frogwing and Jim’s suggestion of Tour de Francs, maybe it should be Tour de Roar instead.


  12. mnscooter Says:

    Jim, she’s right! That is a subtle, sophisticated take on this thing that we do.

    I wonder if she was also taking into account my French ancestry…? Charpentier, pronounced “Shar-pon-tee-ay” in the mother tongue, is an honorable old family name with roots deep in French history. We have a coat-of-arms and everything! Or so I am told by people trying to sell me Family Tree books…

    Steve, you crack me up. Roaring? On the monstrous 150cc Baron? Oh yes, pedestrians quake at our passing!

    Have you seen that enormous muffler? Why do you think we are able to sneak up on wildlife the way we do?

    Of course, I do understand what you are getting at, and thank you for that. Life is for living, and in order to do that, sometimes you have to make a little noise. At least until the folks in the next room bang on the wall…

    Ride well,

  13. Steve Williams Says:

    It’s our hearts and spirits that roar regardless of what we’re riding. Maybe Tour, Soar, and Roar!

    Time to Ride! The Vespa is waiting patiently. I’m off to see how it will climb a five mile run up the mountain, take a picture or two and ride to some bacon and egg watering hole….

  14. jim Says:

    Well, her job title was creative services director for fifteen years. All right. I fess up, I brought in a ringer.
    No, it wasn’t referring to your ancestry, just a reference to the tour de france.
    Just wait we are not done yet:)

  15. mnscooter Says:

    Oh man, I’m looking forward to seeing your photos. Sounds like a beautiful way to start your weekend. Have fun! And…

    Ride well,

  16. jim Says:

    In honor of Frogwing — how about these:
    Tour de Frog (yeah, my wife can’t let that go…)
    and Frog’s Follies

  17. Mad Says:

    Tiff man, let’s do the Oak! I prefer it to the Waterman. Great back roads to get to the Oak from Cov.

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