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.
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!
The 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.