Updated: Apr 15
There is a ride that I love from Austin, Texas heading out Fitzhugh Road to Johnson City. It was pretty good in the winter, but I liked it best in the heat of the summer. The road is rolling and exposed with little-to-no water refill stops. You can make this ride last 100 miles, so it can make for a pretty tough day. I love it because of its openness. Some of the views seem to go on forever. This, plus the fact that it was quiet out there makes this ride what I called a "problem solver.” Whatever issue I had on my mind, this ride solved it. I’d talk to myself while suffering on this big ride and remind myself just how small we all are.
When you arrive at Johnson City, the road T’s into another and there's a convenient store on the left. It is a great sight to see. I lean my bike against some pre-cut firewood outside the front door and tap my way inside. Of course, I get everyone’s eyes - how often do you see a shiny brother with tan lines in a skittle outfit? No judgement here... I would look too. Am I over it? Hell, I’m used to it - almost expecting it. My loved ones say people stare because I look good and / or I'm intimidating, but I am not sure I agree. I am focused on only one thing as I refill my bottles... and that’s the A/C!! It’s blasting and I don't want to leave anytime soon. It then hits me that it’s a long way back home. I pay up and clank out only to see what I think is a potential admirer of my bike. He seems to be having a moment down memory lane perhaps, so I give him some time. I think it has to be the bike as its 91 degrees outside. It sure as hell ain’t the firewood.
He finally notices me and faces up. I am captured by his appearance: blackened John Deer hat (aren’t they normally green?), suspenders (with buttons), t-shirt that reads “They Surrendered I Didn’t" and some of his upper teeth have checked out. It is in this moment I realize that I have met a “Bubba” an endearing Texas term (I think I’ll stop there). Right away I do a visual safety sweep (black man’s DNA) and notice what had to be his truck. The gun rack looks pretty tight, but I am happy to see that it's empty. I’m also smiling that he does NOT have the tin confederate flag license plate, but disappointed to not see a hound dog…
My focus is now back on him as he speaks out… “How much is dat der bicycle…?" I struggle in moments like these as with a 481sl, ZIPP wheels and Campy Record my bike is pushing the value of his truck by a rough factor of 10. So I play it smart and say “It’s about $2,000." Bubba looks at me square - in complete amazement. He then gets down on all fours and looks underneath the bottom bracket then visually traces back towards the rear wheel drop out. He nods his head and confusingly stands up with his mouth open in shock. It's at this moment that I learn that his lower teeth have also checked out for the most part. I now have a traditionalist on my hands.
So there we are eye to eye…..his next words had me smiling all 50 miles back to Austin... “You stupid shit - it ain't even gotta kickstand awn it."
Off he went nodding his head in his pick-up truck knowing for a fact that he just met the dumbest “biker" in America.
Good thing I said it was only $2k.