To feel like a kid again. Tried and true. This is part of what Cranked is about. The joy of bicycles, the good times they bring, the great memories they leave. What do we owe to bikes? Monday this week was a great day, it was certainly the combination of good friends and excessive fun on bikes that made it great. Let me tell you about it.
The day started out just like any day, only that I made plans to hang out and hit the dirt jumps at Greenlake with Hotte. I’m unemployed right now, so I roll out of bed rather than the usual sprint out the door to work. Eggos for breakfast-—with Eggo syrup; a healthy intake of sugar and aluminum. Grabbed the Montague folding mountain bike to head to the jumps. I amazed myself by getting there in less than 20 minutes. And this is where the true nostalgia for these salad days began: meeting Hotte at the jumps. Myself riding the Montague, Hotte on his more capable Transition Trail or Park, we hit the jumps with great repetition, desperately seeking the euphoric feeling of air beneath our wheels; if only a few inches. After an hour or so of this we decided to grab a six-pack. Typical of my memories of high school, this jaunt consisted of some hitches. One, arguing with the clerk at a 7-11 about something he—or she (possibly a heavily bearded lady)—was probably in the right on, and then two, having some mechanical issue that took abnormally long to repair; in this case, a blown tire on the Trail or Park. Flat repaired at a gas station, where the beer was purchased as opposed to the 7-11, where we were “shockingly” refused service. The phrase might be trite, but the day was working out to be nothing short of “good times”.
Returning to the jumps, on this beautifully bright and temperate day, we were met with “pros” or rather bmx’ers who were skilled enough to actually get more than six inches of air and ride the gap jumps complete with impressive tweakings of the bike. Having a guy on the “inside” I didn’t have any of the apprehension of looking the part of inexperienced poseur. Hotte rides these jumps almost daily and therefore knows some of these guys. James showed up and the bmx’ers now had three big wheelers to contend with, especially considering James’s 29’er. They still rocked the gaps. We convinced one of them (Tommy?) to roll the Montague and give it some real air for a change. 10+ inches at least!
Six pack mostly consumed, we continued to hit the tabletops and I finally felt the sensation of a complete jump, from lip to transition—-smooth like scotch! The desire to take the Montague on some of the trails at Woodland park was there, but the lure of the dirt jumps prevailed. (Another day perhaps?) James took off to meet someone, with the promise we’d meet up with him at Browers. Hotte and I stayed back and rolled more jumps for awhile, but the time to go meet James arrived. Just one more run before we split. Okay, just two more runs. Alright, I gotta at least hit them once more. And on and on… until we finally took off with a stoke and a roll down Stone Way “hopping” curbs and carving the hill. BIG beers were consumed at Browers throughout a lively discussion as to the next issue of Cranked until we departed and continued the hang out down by the canal where we practiced our “manuals” and “bunny-hops” on and off the sidewalks. Skilled freestylers we aren’t; forever trying to fulfill some preconceived status of über-stunt-biker; what’s it matter if it’s done with a smile and laughter?
Returning home was definitely where thoughts of the life sans-resposibility really rang. This ride was fantastic: it had the sensation of something from a video game. Euphoria indeed. Thoughts of the great day slowly seating themselves in my head. Sprinting with my thighs nearly hitting my chest, seat still slammed down, riding with tucked knees. “Do your knees hurt?” Yes, they do! But we roll on and even stop to hit the I-5 MTB Park on the way. It was a sprint to the finish, and a great feeling throughout: feeling like I was in high school again; instead of skateboards now it’s bikes. The only thing that was missing was having to sneak back into my apartment to avoid getting “caught”.
Like I said, this is part of what Cranked is about, this is what’s in my mind when I think about the magazine, and this is a feeling I don’t experience nearly enough myself anymore. Up or down. This enjoyment of bikes is the inspiration for the magazine, and I’m glad to know that many people have told me they love the magazine for this very reason. I need to get out and ride more, really enjoy these machines of joy, these bikes we all love so much and the excuse they provide for good times. Polo, dirt jumps, commuting, training, working–do ’em with your friends and a smile, and you’ll never forget it, but you don’t need me to tell you that.