The Bikin' Fools






The May ’03 moonride continued a long standing streak of hard-to-believe events. Thirteen enthusiastic participants experienced one of the nicest moonrides on record. The combination of friendly riding on Boggs Mt., a supreme dinner, scintillating single track down the West Harbin Ridge and the total lunar eclipse conspired to bend the needle at the top of the funnometer.

Mike’s van hauled ten bikes and riders as far as Hildebrand Ave. near Middletown. At that point the energy surrounding the phenomenal occurrence shorted out the ignition and left that part of the ride wondering what was next. Shawn was only able to get cell phone service by standing in the middle of the busy Highway 29. Eric was able to decipher only two words from the scratchy transmission; "sssscccchhh… broke… schhhhccchh… down scccssscchhhccc….ssssccchhh Hildebrand… sssscccchhsshhc…."

A rescue unit was quickly dispatched and the ailing van was assisted the last couple of miles to Middletown. A slight rearrangement of the transport situation only slightly slowed the event. It was a necessary time warp to accommodate the perfection of the evening. Five bodies stuffed into the Subaru, five in Lindsey’s VW and three in Sean’s pickup. The timing was perfect. As the caravan of vehicles climbed up the steep grade to Boggs Demonstration Forest, the deep red sun approached the horizon. The color was spectacular. Perhaps it was seen through the lens of anticipation as the crew sensed the beginning of an evening of innocent fun and camaraderie.

Twenty six wheels rolled out of the parking lot and into history. Kevin (Daytona) Carlin would be this evening’s rookie. He would shred with notable strength considering this was the second bicycle ride of his entire life. He is no stranger to two wheels, having raced motorcycles as a professional. Lindsey would shift into big-big only once before completely destroying his drive-train. There would be only one flat during the evening, that occurred while Shawn and others were waiting for the slower contingent to catch up.

Single speed Matt thundered across the terrain in his usual fashion, bikeshop Matt was on hand to add valuable assistance in technical terms. Grant made an appearance for the special event. Jim Korte maintained a nearly perfect attendance record. Auriah and Lucy made their second event together. Only the Freedom Connection was notably missing, despite an eleventh hour appeal by Sebastion to convince Zee Frenchman that it would be worth trashing his marriage to attend. However, Michel selected his loyalty to his beautiful wife over this once-in-a-lifetime ride. What a guy.

The ride up the mountain was in the fading light of the day. There was a sense of eagerness to get to the special campground to witness the total eclipse of the moon. According to the charts, Northern California would be right in the middle of the best viewing. The band of riders shredded past the public camping area and up to the end of road 500. From there they reconvened at the special spot. It was a level area with a commanding view of the lands to the east, Mt. St. Helena to the south and Middletown directly in front. It was expected that the moon would appear red in the shadow of the earth. However there was no moon to be seen. Perhaps, it was reasoned, a thick haze layer near the horizon shielded La Luna.

Preparations began immediately for dinner. A raging campfire was built and massive amounts of food and beer appeared from the thirteen packs. The happy bikers milled around the fire as the temperature plummeted into the very cool zone. Still no moon. Lindsey ate Boef Waddel, others feasted on a variety of meats, potatoes, corn on the cob and vegetables. Kevin cooked pasta on his mini stove. Mike baked another apple soaked with maple syrup. The taste buds sang the hallelujah chorus. The sharing of food with friends and fellow bikers made the dinner event special.

"Hey" an excited voice called, "Check it out!" Heads turned to the east to see a crimson red sliver of the moon. The view was awesome and unusual. The sky was completely dark by this time, the afterglow of the sun was long gone. The surrounding woods were pitch black. It would have been very difficult to navigate. Slowly more of the moon appeared in the dark, shaded color. It would take another hour for it to fully appear out of the shadows.

Eventually the moon grew to its normal brilliance. The landscape was illuminated with the mystical lumens and the bikers had steerage in the night. The group eventually cleaned up the camp, put out the fire and headed downhill towards the doghouse. Shortly after the doghouse, the group turned off on the Chutes trail. Only Mike was the taker for the plunge down the nearly unride-able main chute while most of the others opted for the more sane dogleg around this notable biking feature.

The West Harbin Ridge trail was in fine shape for the first part. The riders reveled in the singletrack that snakes along the highest part of the ridge. It was at this point that Lindsey had the misfortune of the stick-in-the-derailleur dilemma. It tweaked the hanger and components so badly that it was difficult to determine what was going on with the rig. Eventually several technicians were able to turn the Bo-Ti into a single speed and Lindsey continued with his usual flair. Meanwhile at the lead group, Auriah said; "Hey someone’s got a leak." Sure enough a slight hiss could be heard coming from Shawn’s tire.

The trail deteriorated slightly with some overgrowth in the brush, yet the going was swift and fun. The two groups reconnected at the Tea House turnoff. It had been decided that the group would split into two parts. The tub-o-philes took the Tea House trail and the others continued on the West Harbin Ridge. The group to the hot springs filed down the mountain somehow loosing Lindsey on the way. It was not an issue since all trails at that point lead to the same place. The others dealt with baby heads and loose rock, but swiftly descended to the pasture above Harbin Road. There, in the moonlight, the several bikers performed a flanking maneuver across the grassy pastureland. The sight would have alarmed the folks at Homeland Security.

Despite any outside perception of the ride, the participants knew the truth. It was an awesome evening under special conditions with special bikin’ enthusiasts. The combination of ingredients created another epic ride with a special performance from La Luna.


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