David Stephens, one of our church’s pastors, is over 65 years old but he runs, hikes, climbs and rides like he’s a teenager. He’s a real inspiration to me and I hope to age half as gracefully as he has. So when he included me in a group text a few months ago for a Saturday morning ride I agreed to meet him. David is always organizing something interesting.
I dressed in a colorful vintage road jersey, my padded shorts, socks, goggles, and drove to the beautiful town of Celebration, Fl. to meet them. The fact that the ride was in Celebration should have been a clue that something was amiss, its a picturesque little town, founded and designed by Disney, but not a place I’d expect to go for a good road ride. Oh well, I thought, they must have a plan. Dave rides with some pretty good athletes and maybe we were headed south to Davenport or maybe even a trip through the Disney property. I was excited to ride with some new friends and have an adventure.
I got to Celebration, parked, put on my clip in riding shoes, my gloves, my helmet and mounted my road bike to meet in the town square. I was early, but as the new guy, I didn’t want to miss the ride. Here’s who else showed up: three families with kids and about a dozen riders who were all retirement age (or well-above). They were all dressed casually and riding very nice townie type bikes, all ready to enjoy their monthly spin around town and then go have breakfast together.
And then there was me…
… dressed like an attendee at a Tour de France fantasy camp. An old guy on a road bike. With goggles. And gloves. And I’d but on butt cream. Wearing spandex on a very good day is a hard look to pull off and today, it was pretty close to impossible. (Although I’d like to think I carried it off with a certain aplomb.)
It was awkward, to say the least. I had to explain that yes, I misunderstood. Yes, I was willing to ride very slowly. No, I wasn’t going to be bored, it would be fine, I’d love to ride with all of you.
And we had a very nice morning. We took a lovely ride around Celebration, had a great time together at breakfast and I resolved to return for another ride dressed more appropriately and with a different bicycle.
Sometimes you can’t take things too seriously. I have a vintage 1974 Schwinn Varsity bike that I’ve begun restoring and it will be a great ride next time. In sneakers. No gloves. No butt cream.