The Bikin' Fools
For the phone to ring before eight o'clock on Sunday is unusual. It usually is something interesting or important. It was Shawn announcing that he and Jim were on their way to Boggs for a mountain bike ride. The weather for the entire winter had proved to be something less than nice. It had been cold and wet for the entire season, offering only a few nice breaks. It had been the first winter that Eric had actually employed the wind trainer on several occasions. On this March 14th, the day dawned gray, miserable and wet. A bike ride would be a perfect antidote for the dismal conditions.
The Gray Ghost was quickly readied for another outing. The tune-up consisted of a good blast from the WD-40 can: Presto, 'ol reliable was ready and eager for another romp. Shane and Dave were rumored to be interested in the exercise. They mentioned that they would meet us at the campground. Jim and Shawn arrived in Middletown, gathered their gear and the three piled into Eric's Toyota truck as Tanya drove the bikers to the campground at Boggs. This would avoid the need to shuffle back up the hill to retrieve the stranded vehicle, or the ride would need to be a loop within the demonstration forest.
The skies had been dark and threatening. As the three bikers and Tanya sped towards Boggs, the first drops of rain began to fall on the ground. By the time they were up to Cobb, the rain was steady. Dozens of cars were at the helicopter pad. This was strange. None of them had bike racks and there were no horse trailers, humm ..
At the campground, Tanya dropped off the riders and split. The three decided to wait for a few, to see if Shane and Dave would appear. It was cold, raining and inhospitable outside. The trio decided to hold a safety meeting inside the only structure in the forest, the one-holer located just to the edge of the campground. Upon the termination of this event, still no Dave or Shane had arrived. The three decided to not wait any longer. It was cold and they wanted to get the juices flowing.
The standard romp was elected; Berry's, Crew, John's and Big Springs trails. This offering of single track is premier in the world. The conditions on the ground were ideal. The ground was wet and sometimes muddy, but the traction was predictable and good. There would be no other riders seen. Again the Bikin' Fools essentially had the place to themselves, their own private bike park. It would be about five miles of superb single trackin' through the idyllic setting of the forest. Jim set the pace with Shawn on his tail. Eric brought up the rear, doing a credible job on the level and uphill, but on the downhill portions of the ride, the dynamic duo flashed out of sight. Jim not-to-be-beat Korte and Shawn disc-brakes Seidel set a blistering pace. The only option was to take it easy and freeze-ass. Only one other humanoid was seen. It was a hiker with a dog, a dog with the urge to bite the heals of Eric as he flashed past. Although the owner held the dog in check, momentarily, the dog "got away" shortly after Eric went by. Extra incentive for speed fueled Eric's ride as the pesky dog barked at Eric's rear wheel.
The three flashed Big Springs trail. All too soon they exited onto the fire road at the springs. There was no reason, no sunshine to stop and take a break at this perennial rest stop. It had continued to rain and by now, the three were wet. Any stop would eventually lead to a shivering miserable time. But Jim had expressed interest in stopping at a dry place, if we could find one and change his socks. Eric mentioned the presence of a cabin just down the East Ridge trail. It sounded good and the three shredded down the ridge road, catching big air on the water bars and splashing through some large puddles.
When they arrived at the lower turn-off to the cabin, careful investigation revealed there were no inhabitants at this very remote site on the crest of the East Harbin ridge. The structure had a porch overhanging the structure that offered nice shelter from the elements. Not only that, but there was a large stash of firewood and a Weber grill. It took only seconds for the Fools to agree that a fire would definitely be a welcome happening. There was paper, but no kindling. Although it presented somewhat of a challenge, a fire was none-the-less brought to life. Soon the warm energy of the fire began to heat and dry the bodies and gear of the three intrepid mountain bikers. A makeshift clothesline was hung over the fire. Gloves, socks and shoes were festooned around the fire as the trio huddled near the Weber, soaking up the warmth while the rain pelted down just a few feet away.
A historic discovery was made! Hanging at the cabin were the wheels from Bob Wheel Bob's bicycle. It was originally thought that B.W. Bob had ridden a Penny Farthing, but it turns out that these large wooden wheels prove that he was riding the original 'safety bike'.
The cabin held a very idyllic position on the mountain. It was remote and had a spectacular view of lands to the east. The dirt roads that led to the cabin were in poor repair or impassible altogether. This made the cabin seldom visited. It appeared that the owner(s) arrived on horseback rather than by vehicle. The isolated setting lent the place to vandalism from punks on motorcycles. To counter any attempts to steal from the place, there was a sign on the door: "There is nothing to steal, no tools, no guns, nothing of value."
We were not interested in violating the place at all. The bikers were appreciative of having this place to escape from the elements for a few moments. The fire felt so good, the fire was "Daved" again. Upon the disovery of a machete, smaller pieces of wood fueled the fire into a serious blaze. Each "Daving" of the fire lasted about twenty minutes. The hot coals radiated great energy. The legs and hanging clothes steamed with the energy of the fire. There existed in the pile of wood, many cut-off tool handles. These hardwood items, added to the fire made for even more energy output. This wood "Hammered" the fire into a pleasant, friendly event.
The three bikers were enjoying this outing immensely. It could have been grim, yet the magic of the fire not only saved the day, but also turned the lousy conditions into a blessing. After several "Davings" and a couple of "Hammerings" of the fire, the bikers were finally warm and dry. The rest of the ride down the ridge to Middletown was routine. A trip to Perry's Deli was the only item left to do before the three sat back, relaxed and toasted the day with a fermented beverage. The Bikin' Fools had turned the cold, wet day to a scintillating romp in the woods, one to remember.