The Ride to and from the Edge of the Earth:
June 2009 Moon Ride
Story by Megan Whyte
"The sea is calm tonight,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits "
from "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold
With another passing of the waxing and waning of la luna, the Bikin Fools embarked upon another night of biking revelry. Actually this particular adventure was planned for members of the female persuasion, not as savvy as the tenured affiliates of the membership: Katherine, Megan, and Leah. A romp near the coast and through the redwoods seemed a promising ride for all to enjoy, despite the limited experience of the latter. The usual suspects, Lindsey, Mike, Michel, and Shawn, also invited Aaron, a new and enthusiastic rider from Calistoga Bike Shop. Mickey the dingo, also had the opportunity to trot alongside the Fools. Absent from this cast was your usual chronicler and photographer, Eric, who had an alternative plan involving a sailboat, his lovely wife, and a moonlit lake, but thats another story.
Aaron looking like a lunatic
The adventure began at the Belladona, where all involved converged to plan transportation and meeting spots, and to share BBQ foods and the ever ubiquitous frothing brews. Leah, still at work at 7:00, called to say she would meet up with the rest at the Guerneville Safeway by eight. With plan ready, the group drove west into the sunset, bikes and Fools crammed in the van and a Honda Civic. An hour later, and all present at the starting point, the b.f.s geared up and pedaled eagerly on the dirt road toward the coast. With the moon rising at their backs, and not a cloud in the sky, nor danger of thick fog and icy winds, they all were sure that the ride would only bring moonlit bliss and monthly spiritual fulfillment.
Michel enjoying the moonlight festivities with aplomb.
Two of the three femme fatales expressed some trepidation at the thought of riding blind on the steep trail into the dense redwood forest at the end, but were assuaged by the idea of Shawn poking holes in a glow stick, allowing a trail of phosphorescence to guide the newbies to safety. Pedaling commenced up the road toward the coastal bluffs.
Les femmes experiencing lunar fun factor
Break time at the rock formations allowed opportunities for lunar photos, safety precautions, beer guzzling, and bladder expulsions. With the moon fully in the sky, the light casting moon shadows, visibility was at its peak. The group sped toward the sea. The moon threw light onto the crashing waves, and the steady auditory undulation of the tide made time for another quick repose at the edge of the cliff; but Shawn, quick to point out that one needs to add 10 minutes lag time per person, urged our departure from the precipice.
The bluff trail quickly turned into a narrow wooden boardwalk that eventually led to a wide parking lot. Again all in a group, the riders turned east, away from the calming majesty of the sea, toward the hill that would take them to a nearby ridge. With granny gears set, the slow progression of Fools up the unrelenting hill got blood pumping and calories burning. Surely another break was warranted at the zenith. The tortoises huffed and puffed their way to the top and were met by the hares lying on their backs, gazing up at the mystery of the man in the moon. A band of errant, yipping coyotes, heard in the distance, did not go unnoticed by the sole canine in the bunch. Stories ensued about coyotes luring their domestic brethren into their pack, so Mickey was ordered to stay close, a superfluous demand, as he clearly had no desire to leave the safety of his own.
Mickey communes with the coastal coyotes
On the ridge trail, the hills clouded some of the light of the moon, making for leaps of faith on the part of the novices. It was soon discovered that the trail was smooth riding, bereft of potholes and dangerous rocks. With vision diminished, auditory and olfactory senses were heightened. Hearing the trail and placing faith in the bikes, the ride through proved exhilarating. Leah commented on the "head workout" of the ride, as one must set aside all on which they rely to fully enjoy a full moon ride.
Shawn and Lindsey smile back at the moon
Shawn and Mickey were in the lead, followed closely by Lindsey and Aaron. Michel stayed back a bit guiding Leah and Megan, allowing them to hear the crunching of the flora when Michels bike went off the trail. Katherine followed behind with Mike taking up the rear. The sounds of giggling and screams most certainly distracted the nocturnal creatures from their nightly business. Glowing pairs of eyes watched the riders make their way from the ridge trail into the dense thicket of redwood majesties. With the glow-stick idea abandoned due to worries of gunky mess on bike and bike clothes, visibility eluded the Fools. It was at this point that Megan and Katherine thought it safer to walk their bikes, only to discover sharp bike pedals leave aching bruises on shins and bike shoes are no substitute for sturdy hiking boots. Better to mount the bikes and let gyroscopic forces guide them into the abyss.
A solo camper reluctantly leaves the warmth of his campfire to seek a moments refuge at the latrine, stationed at the base of the trail. A dog and eight bicyclists emerge from the darkness of the wood, whizzing past him with no lights to guide their way. Fools, he thought.
Theres always a gate
With the moonlight ride now over, the ravenous and thirsty cadre of bikin foolery sought a place to rest their tired limbs. Mike announced his knowledge of a clearing, mere meters away, down the dirt road. Two picnic tables and a fire pit welcomed the lunatistas. Salmon, tamales, sausages, jalapeno peppers, portobellas, and pork loin wrapped in aluminum foil could be heard sizzling over the fire. The aromas of the food soon made Mickey forget about his fear of fire. He sat pleadingly, looking to all those that would offer a taste.
Michel, Mike, and Katherine building the Bikin Fool obligatory fire
As the clock struck two a.m., the Bikin Fools loaded themselves and their bikes into the great maw of the white van and drove east, toward home, with promises of soft mattresses and blessed sleep. Until next month.