Shelagh and I are not bikers. Not really. This may sound strange to some but we know that our biker friends are nodding knowingly. Trust me on this. We know bikers. We have friends who are bikers. We are not bikers. When we are out riding we are always passed by bikers. Often they just ignore us but sometimes they say things like “Are you OK?” , or “Do you need any help?”
So why do we do this? Permit me to share. A few years ago I was biking with my friend Joe. Joe is a biker. He loves bikes, he loves to bike and he is an ex-marathoner. I had found us an interesting bikeride in the Stowe area. It was fun but, as you can imagine, it was filled with many very steep and/or long hills. As we came into Stowe (around the turn towards Trapp Family Lodge, about halfway), I mentioned to Joe that there was a great deli, Edelweiss, just up the road where we could get excellent sandwiches. He responded to me that he didn’t think that he needed anything to eat. I was completely confused. What did need have to do with it? And therein lies the answer to my question.
We bike to eat. Wherever and whenever we bike there is a destination. At that destination there is food, hopefully good food. Of course, as the Spanish say, “el hambre es la mejor salsa”. (No complaints please – Google is willing to translate). We have changed over the years. Now more often than not we are going for savory rather than sweet, but otherwise we are the same old pseudobikers.
We have felt a certain undertone about the winter that we escaped. Do not envy that. If I could, I would stay all winter in Vermont, enjoying the cold and the snow just like when I was a younger man, recently arrived from Philadelphia. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible. I have become old and susceptible to the cold of winter. Its length and depth overwhelm me. I get sick. I get weak.
If you want to envy us, envy our recenty earned eating habits. We have become eating machines. In the beginning we coined a name for it. We would sit down for lunch or dinner and we would “Hoover” our meal. No need for conversation or other niceties. Maybe a quick glance at our phones and then “Look, all gone.” This has gotten a bit more civilized over the weeks but we are still eating everthing that we want.
Sometimes when we are passing time, and trying to sharpen our memory about where we’ve been, we will remember back each night of our trip, where we stayed, what the place was like. It’s kind of fun, and also a good check that we haven’t completely lost our minds. It seems reasonable that with a little bit of work we can remember where we’ve been. What gets scary is when we start remembering every single restaurant, every dinner and every lunch and have no trouble ranking them by their quality. We still feel dread when remembering those days where lunch can not be found although we have gotten better at tocking up on nuts, peanut butter crackers and Tastycakes for just such emergencies.
Seriously though, one of the great pleasures of the trip and been to eat like I’m a kid all over again. When we arrived in Philly this topic was brought up at dinner with Larry, Linda, and their friend Ricky. We decided to fess up. The previous night we had a large chicken cheesesteak stromboli and a Italian antipasti delivered to the hotel room. After a huge pancake breakfast with oodles of warmed maple syrup for breakfast we headed into Philly. On a detour from the bikepath we went to Lou’s, a classic Philly sandwich shop in Norristown for lunch. I had a cheesesteak with long hot peppers and an icecream soda. Shelagh has been trying to cut back so she just got a Reuben sandwich and then decided on the chocolate ice cream for dessert.
Now do you understand? Do you see who we are? Now you know why we bike.