A cloud of Dust
June 2001 Moonride
It was the most populated ride ever for the Bikin Fools. 13 enthused riders plus
Agent "R" ascended the hills above Knights Valley for an evening of
unabashed frivolity. There were scintillating moon and skyscapes, the ones known only to
dreams, lovers and over-the-edge artists. The moonrise was the most beautiful that God has
ever created. This special edition blessed the grateful Lunatistas with more beauty than
any one individual is likely to ever encounter in many lifetimes. The full, ripe moon
arose along the southern edge of Mt. St. Helena as the dazzled bikers grappled with
The compounding factor of 14 bodies pegged the funnometer before the troops even left the
parking lot at Dr. Js shop. Several minutes of discussion occurred on the subject of
a car shuffle. With the huge numbers involved, there was rampant confusion about which
vehicles would be involved. Finally, Dr. J., carrying twenty thousand dollars worth of
bikes simply started driving. Somehow all of the loose pieces of the puzzle fell together.
Agent "R" was picked up from his rural compound. He would lead the pack to the
edge of the human ability to experience fun, joy and total abandon.
The group assembled, made last minute preparations and headed down the trail from the 5th
gate. Agent "R" was driving a 1959 two-wheeled tank that had no suspension, no
modern components and the smallest brakes ever seen on a bike. Yet, his blue eyes were
wild with the energy of the event and he shredded down the hill with such velocity that
one had to conclude that he was cheating somehow. Within a very short distance, the crowd
contacted the burn zone. This was the area that had recently experienced a
wild land fire. CDF bulldozers and heavy equipment had traveled the dirt road and turned
it into six inches of dry, powdery fluff. The first bikers through the moonscape kicked up
a cloud of dust that was impressive. It was nearly zero-zero visibility by the time the
rest of the bikers passed through the area.
The pack made a left turn and proceeded out to a shoulder in the hills. This vantagepoint
yielded a commanding view of Knights Valley and the topography all the way to the Pacific.
The sun was nearing the western horizon. It was settling into a nest of soft colorful
clouds. Meanwhile the moon began its ascendance into the sky from the eastern horizon. The
brilliant glowing orb was attended by a group of wispy clouds that accented the royal
entrance of the Stately Lady of the Night. The pleasure centers of the Bikin Fools
were in full operation. One could only stare at this magnificent scene with a sense of
having escaped the confines of normal living and found freedom and relief in
this most majestic setting.
Agog from the beauty, the lunatistas proceeded on their mission. The pack rocketed
downhill raising a cloud of dust not seen since Oklahoma. Agent "R" led the
troops to intersection "A". At that point they had an extended stop while Matt
exploded three tubes while trying to fix a flat. There was an amazing quantity of beer to
help pass the time.
Finally when the mob was ready to shred, Agent "R" departed leaving the thirteen
bikers to navigate for themselves. It was shortly noted that the pack was on the route of
previous bike rides. In fact they were in the locality of the most famous Bovine Flanking
Maneuver known to the moonlight riders. On that occasion Dr. J. inadvertently rode into
the midst of the herd only to have them stampede. It is likely that the cows were reacting
to the sense of fun and joy that the bikers brought. The cows jammed downhill in a
thundering mass with Dr. J. in the center of the herd. As the bovines disappeared over the
hill, some wondered about the fate of Mike. Someway he managed to separate himself from
the cattle and rejoined the bikers.
Tony and Chris were the evenings rookies. Tone had tried to make it on several
previous rides, but finally connected on this beautiful evening. Chris was the other
single-speeder. He and Mat showed blazing speed, enough to goad Korte into high gear. Jim
K. loves the downhill. Austin was back showing good form after a winters absence.
The winter of snowboarding kept his downhill skills tuned. Michel drove up from Berkeley
and Lindsey was available despite scheduling pressures. Jim Wilson was there to prove that
technology isnt everything. He would wip his heavy weight mount down to hill and
survive. His van would also provide extra-duty service in the car shuffle. Grant provided
one of the best stacks while trying to pass Tone and Eric. In a classic front wheel
washout, he performed the basic body plant and created an interesting obstacle for the two
riders behind to avoid.
For much of the all-downhill ride several people contended for the front runner position.
This a spot to which Jim K. aspires. He will add the extra effort to pass anyone. In a
dead heat with Chris, he did manage to pass. Jim, man of many tricks, pulled
out a classic. He managed to pass Chris going backwards without his bike. After fixing the
double flat resulting from the accident, the troops pressed onward some
feeling a bit of relief that the lad didnt put himself in a hospital bed next to his
broken wife. Although stackage can happen to anyone, the lunatistas generally try to ride
on the safe side of the scale. For Korte, safety is something that goes up in smoke.
The ride continued as a series of downhill dashes. The great mob would gather all of its
components then shred for another section. Navigation was required for several locations
where the trail either ended or went in the wrong direction. At one particular place the
bikers had to climb a fence. All thirteen riders simultaneously climbed over. It was a
scene out of D-day. Had the pentagon seen this maneuver, they likely would have scrambled
the troops. The Bikin Fools were in the process of an assault on normality, the
ordinary and the mundane. This special evening had the funnometer pegged all the way.
Eventually the crowd came out of the hills and contacted the drive along Maacama Creek.
After the last rider passed out of the final gate, the group pedaled the four miles on the
highway back to the point of the initial car shuffle. Tony, Sean (Im going to the
Inn tonight, honey), Austin and Eric pedaled back to Calistoga while the others did the
car thing. It was amazing to once more experience a once in a lifetime event.