A few weeks ago, Eric informed me that I’d been getting off easy on the bike talk. He is a self confessed bike nerd, and with the Tour de France coming up, he warned me that there might be a significant upswing in references to professional cycling in our conversations.
Now, it’s not bit secret that I don’t follow sports. Or that I told a lengthy story about Darren McFadden where I constantly referred to him as Darryl, such is the degree to which I’m not really paying attention to sporting news. But, so far, I don’t mind the bike talk so much, mostly because he keeps it pretty basic and because he’s enthusiastic when he talks about it, which is kind of infectious. We’ve watched a documentary about a cyclist, and in a very Eric move, he directed me to a podcast about the Tour de France, so I could learn what all the jerseys mean. So, when he told me about the Tour de France Kickoff party at Lance Armstrong’s downtown bike shop, Mellow Johnny’s, I thought it sounded like fun.
The store is actually impressive, with a training center, and an elevator that can be used to transport ailing bikes down stairs to the repair shop below. I’m always kind of fascinated by subcultures, and not only is cycling a whole world unto itself, but Mellow Johnny’s is the perfect example of what happens when money and obsession come together to make what I’d like to think sociologists would call “bike porn.” There are Lance’s old bikes that he’s raced and a collection of signed jerseys–including the first polka dotted jersey I’ve laid eyes upon, which looks surprisingly clownish.
Whereas I’m hoping to one day get around to buying a bike and pedaling out to my local library branch or maybe over to Taco Deli once in a while, people can come to this store and plug into a machine that will tell them how much force they’re exerting with their right foot when they pull up on the pedal. And while I’m hoping to find my first bike since junior high on craigslist, I saw bikes that cost more than $10,000.
For the kick off party, they had a dj
and a crepes stand. Mmmmm!
What they didn’t have was a lot of space. Due to the weather, which has been fairly rainy lately, they moved the event into the store instead of having it out back. Whether they came for the the beer, the party, the bikes or some combination of all of those things, it was packed.
We did a tour around and then ducked out for some fresh air. We ended up walking down to river and chatting. About the Tour, about the new computer I bought, and finally this:
Eric told me he might make a quick trip to South Carolina soon, and his mom wanted to know if I’d be coming with him. Now, when I went home, my parents asked the same thing, and I’m left wondering if we’ve been dating long enough that we travel together. I suppose we could, although in both cases the point is not really the traveling; it’s about showing the other person off to all the people who are curious to meet us. I never actually considered taking Eric with me to DeQueen because the only reason for him to come is so that my grandmother can get a look at him. She’s dying to do that, which is the main reason I thought it sounded like a terrible idea.
Similarly, his trip to South Carolina would be quick and far from ideal in terms of being a vacation, but apparently his mother would like to have a look at me. When he told her I probably wouldn’t be joining him, she asked for at least a picture of me. He told her I don’t really like having my picture taken, and her response was, “Well, tell her she needs to get with the program!”
Apparently, I’ve been put on notice.