I like to treat myself to a ride on Fridays. (Oh, who am I kidding, I like to treat myself to a ride every day.) It’s a warm and sunny day today, and since there’s still snow outside of the city that would no doubt be melting, I decided to stay clean by heading down to Central Park.
Salmoning tourists aside, the park wasn’t too crowded, and I was riding at a steady pace when up ahead I saw a gentleman on an old brown road bike. I couldn’t tell you just how old exactly, but let’s just say it was old enough to have a metal spoke protector on the rear wheel. As for the rider, he was wearing loafers, jeans tucked into socks, and possibly a brown bomber jacket, though I may be remembering that wrong because it seems like the sort of thing he should have been wearing given the rest of the attire. The only thing racy about him was his position on the bike, and his modern helmet.
I was traveling just a tiny bit faster than he was, and as I drew closer I did what I usually do when I want to pass someone unobtrusively, which is to move all the way over to the other side of the road first so it’s clear I’m just happening along and not trying to show them up or something. However, shortly after I passed him, I became aware that he was on my wheel. I changed my line once or twice to confirm that he was indeed sitting on me intentionally, and indeed he remained affixed to be like a barnacle.
I had no intention of playing breakaway in the park on a Friday afternoon, and so I swung off and slowed down dramatically, making it clear he was free to go in the same way you might open a window and liberate your pet parakeet. However, my dad-jeaned riding partner did not spread his wings and take flight. Instead, like a hostage with Stockholm Syndrome, he eased up too, meaning I had three choices:
- Try to pass him again, which he’d no doubt take as a challenge;
- Keep riding more slowly than I wanted to, like when you’re stuck behind a senior at the grocery store;
- Submit to this stupid game of racey-racey, which I had no intention of doing.
Fortunately, before long, a pair of brightly-attired Freds on state-of-the-art crabon Fred Sleds came along, at which point I knew I’d been saved. Sure enough, faster than you can say “Pinarello Dogma,” my erstwhile companion was on them like pubes on a chamois. This left me free to continue on at my own pace, though they remained in view for quite a while, during which I enjoyed the sight of this odd threesome, two of whom looked like they were dressed for a Gran Fondo, and one of whom looked like he should have been driving a ’94 Ford Explorer.
Anyway, all of this is by way of wishing you pleasant weekend. Ride safe, and beware of wheelsuckers on sleeper bikes.