The Bikin' Fools



The wildflower excursion


A Mayday ride


Cinco De Mayo has a close relative in the Bikin' Fools lexicon: Cycle De Mayo. The Cycle De Mayo originated in Cobb California when Big Wheel Bob overheard two Spanish speakers talking about an upcoming holiday. In his acutely alcoholized state of sensory depravation he thought they were talking about his ride home from the bar, "cycle da mile". Big Wheel Bob was a cycling legend in his time. For generations to follow, May became a popular month for bicycle riding in Northern California. On that fateful day, BW Bob, with no brakes on the Penny-Farthing, was unable to stop at his home on Malo Creek and ended up in Middletown. There he decided he needed an eye-opener to pedal back up Big Canyon. He met Ophelia Luster at the bar and woke up the next day in Lower Lake. Ophelia’s sister, Lucy Lovelock who lived in Lucerne was staying with Ophelia that night and took a shining to BW Bob. Without ever coming close to sobriety, BW Bob pedaled to Lucerne only to discover, too late, that Lucy’s husband was the sheriff. He caught them in a compromised position and hauled Bob to Ukiah where he was thrown in Jail. As fate would have it, the jailer was Bob’s cousin Bob was released from jail, but was told he would have to return to Cobb via the Napa Valley. On the way, in Hopland, Bob stopped to medicate himself at the Hopland Brewery. The next day Bob awoke at the Thatcher Inn in bed with the daughter of the Mayor. When Bob heard an angry voice calling for the daughter, Bob jumped on the Big Wheel and headed towards Booneville where he would not likely be found. He decided that the best course of action would be to work his way down the coast and return inland at Jenner. It took several days for Bob to reach Santa Rosa. He had to ride most of the distance without a drink. So when he reached Santa Rosa, he was thirsty and ready to tie one on. It took another two days for Bob to sober up enough to head over the hills towards Calistoga. At Spring Mt. Road he came upon an outing of a Sunday school class of girls who were camped out but had broken a wheel on their carriage. He spent the remainder of the day fixing the broken rig for them. When it was fixed, the girls invited him to stay for dinner, the least they could do. However, a couple of the girls had smuggled some brandy along and invited BW Bob to party. About mid-night the matronly leader of the girls discovered Bob and the two girls swimming naked in the creek. Bob had to jump on the Big Wheel while carrying his clothes under his arm. As he pedaled for his life, the church lady shouted; "You’ll burn in Hell for this!" Unfortunately Bob heard; "You’re turn with Belle Fortis," who was the lovely, stellar student of the class. He tragically stopped, thinking he had misread the situation and was promptly beaten on and about the body by the thick willow switch wielded by the old matron. By the time Bob arrived in Calistoga his body was covered with bright red welts. He decided that some time at one of the spas would help sooth his sore body. Sam Brannan’s wife was working at the front desk of the spa when BW Bob arrived. She noted his battered condition and offered to apply herbs and salve to his aching body. By the time she had applied the ointments to most of his wounds, she began to feel amorous. Just about the time she had seduced Bob, Sam walked in. He pulled out a gun and shot at Bob. Bob ducked and the bullet struck an oil lamp on the wall and the room burst into fire. Again Bob had to grab his clothes and streak out the back, jump on his bike and start pedaling towards the Old Toll Road. After hours of grunting uphill, Bob finally reached the tollgate. By this time he was out of money and the people at the gate refused to let Bob pass. His only option was to pull out a bottle of whiskey and get so loaded with the gatekeeper that he was finally able to pass by. Unfortunately in his attempt to get away, he stacked at speed into St. Helena creek and didn’t wake up until the next morning when the wife of the outfitter at Mt. Mill House found him. Her husband was on a pack trip. She took the battered Bob home and nursed him back to health over the next few days. Just about the time Bob was feeling pretty good, the outfitter returned. He accused Bob of indiscretions with his wife. Once again Bob had to beat a hasty retreat. By the time he arrived in Middletown he was ready for a drink. Twenty-four hours later, Bob was finally headed towards home. He arrived at his Malo Creek dwelling several weeks after leaving. He had spent most of the month of May cycling a large portion of Northern California.


The strong tradition of cycling in May was carried forth by Eric and Linz on this Cinco de Mayo. They selected the Livermore Loop. This lovely ride begins near Highway 29, at the sight of the old outfitters place and proceeds up Van Ness Creek, opens into Bear Valley and eventually contacts the Oat Hill Mine road.

As the two were preparing to leave, a new Jaguar pulled up and asked; "Are you planning to be there long?"

The tone of voice clearly indicated territorial imperative.

"Ahh," Eric stuttered, "We’re going for a little bike ride, I’m a friend of Pete McGee."

The secret words worked. "Oh," Said the stranger, "I’m Tom Livermore. We’re having a trail ride on the ranch this weekend."

"Great," Eric said disguising his dislike of the damage that horses do to a trail, "We’ll actually only be on the ranch for a little while. We’re going up the creek to the Oat Hill Mine road."

"That’s fine," Tom said, "I just wanted to make sure."

Linz and Eric headed out. The first quarter mile on this ride travels through a tall pine forest. The air was cool and the sun was shining brightly. At the first gate, the knobbies returned to their element: Dirt. The road pitched sharply uphill requiring effort in the granny zone. The old prospectors cabin came into view. The road connects with the drive to Wildwood and once past the last dwelling sight, the road deteriorates to a more mountain-bike-friendly trail. At this juncture, the trail follows closely to Van Ness creek, a year ‘round stream that burbles and talks and tumbles in its streambed close by. Occasionally a huge tree lies across the creek, creating small amphitheaters of lush plant growth and soft laughing sounds of the water.

This day carried all the sweetness of spring. It was a Friday when most people work or go to school. In the Church of the Holy Spoke Sect, any day that feels this good is the Sabbath. The Church offers dispensation from work to any soul who recognizes the supreme beauty of a natural setting. Recent rains had bathed all of greenery. The plants, shrubs and trees glistened in the May sun. To be sure that the mind reached full bogglement, the Supreme Goddess of Nature presented a sensational offering of wild flowers. Especially the small blue flowers stood out with great vigor. Their heavenly blue color seemed to float about the surface of the petals. They danced in celebration of the moment. It was a profound experience for the Bikin' Fools.

The trail eventually turned to single track above the pond. The route snakes through cougar canyon before opening up into Cub Valley. It is at this point where Dr. J discovered the lost connection to the Bike Camp and subsequent link to the Oat Hill Mine road. On this beautiful and unhurried day, Linz and Eric would explore the hidden, alternative passage to the Oat Hill Mine road. There is a footpath cut through the woods for some reason by someone. It is unmarked but was discovered by Eric on a previous scouting mission. The two hike-a-biked through the woods and came out at the top of the terrain that guards Cub Valley from the Oat Hill side of things.

On the Oat Hill Mine road, the riding was pleasant. The dirt was moist but not muddy. There was no dust and the rocks were dry. The passage from Puma Pass to the Wind Cave slipped by so easily that it seemed as though the duo had contacted a wormhole in time. The planned safety stop at the Wind Cave provided a moment for the two to reflect upon the nature of the day so far. The conclusion was that they had slipped the surly bonds again. In light of the fact that most citizens were toiling relentlessly to make those S.U.V. payments, it nearly felt as though the two were cheating. In reality, Linz and Eric were doing Yeomen’s duty in servicing the beauty factor in the human experience. Far too often people confuse wealth with ‘things’, when the truth of the matter is that authentic wealth is the confluence of God and the humanoid. This can occur at any moment. However with the onslaught of TV, the media and such foolishness as the "work ethic", it often takes extraordinary situations to crack the nut of human idiocy. This ride was just such a situation. Only the most twisted, perverted persons would not see the outrageous beauty of the day. Furthermore, it is critically important that people receive a dose of beauty in their lives to avert the onset of spiritual decay. This unfortunate condition occurs especially in people who spend too much time indoors under artificial lights. It is poison to the soul. It is in the natural setting that the person is cleansed and renewed. It is a fresh new baptism each time the person enters this sacred arena.

The single track leading towards the Holmes place offers breathtaking views of the rugged and remote Maacama Mountains. The trail is perched on a very steep slope. A downhill dab = death. Ravens, hawks and vultures soar peacefully above the peaks watching with curiosity the bikers who venture into this rarely visited realm. At the Holmes place, one can opt for the Pickett loop. However on this day, Linz and Eric headed directly down the Oat Hill Mine road. Time was tugging at this religious experience calling Linz to the post office. He would not make it in time.

Although the ride was not a monster, it yielded the serene sense of satisfaction for having made a quality decision to shine-on ‘work’ and enter the knowzone, that place where deep inside, one has the feeling of being the lucky, chosen one. The end of the ride yields the sense that one has done something of significance, perhaps much like the feeling that Big Wheel Bob had when he finally arrived home.