The End of Kiko’s Patron (Reflections Back to Queens)

We went and got the kids helmets for their bikes yesterday  Lennox rode her training wheel bike all the way to the bike shop in woodside and back.   Not bad for a pink-made-in-china-confection under a five year old: at least two miles. Another great meal at La Flor Cafe.

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Here’s the latest installment of Kiko’s Tale, the last that Mike will be dominating for a while. Kiko will be back soon, but I’ve got to set up the bike racing, which I’m still waiting to hear feedback on. If you ride, formally, with clubs and packs check this for realism and send me a line.  Today in my writing I had Kiko meet a new friend who will flesh out delivery culture, you can expect to see Kevin the Chinese delivery guy in a few days or a week.   And of course, if you want to start from the beginning, go here.

It was one of those bikes that make you worry about the guy who brings you your pizza as he rides off on it.  Mike, taking his food back into his apartment thought about how the bike was bought: the owner goes to Target or Wall-Mart and buys the snazziest looking bike on display, without any help from either a sales person who knows about bikes or the kids –no, men– who will ride them.  “If it has springs the pizza will be cushioned,” he tells himself as he buys two or three bikes in boxes and brings them back to the shop for the busboy who’ll ride it to assemble (without instructions in Spanish, or Chinese, [Mandarin or Cantonese] or Bengali, or Korean). 

Sandwiching the crates in the back of his SUV (whose gas guzzling got him to buy the bikes in the first place) in direct disobedience of the warning instructions on the side would be the last time that this man had to lift them, Mike thought.  Did the owner notice the suspension of his truck cringe under just three of these heavy bikes?  Did he realize that Pedro and Pablo and Juan would ride the same distance as the Tour de France on these bikes before they disintegrated?  Did he realize that he was buying, essentially, disposable bikes?

Snapping out of his reverie he thought about more of the details of the rider.  The bike couldn’t have weighed less than 35 pounds, without the basket.  I mean, he had a chain around his waist that must have weighed 10 pounds.  Mike did a quick inventory of the delivery guy and figured with clothes, bike, basket, and whatever was in the bag in the basket, he couldn’t have been freighting any less than 50 pounds.  Fifty pounds of gear, and chains and sprockets for riding the bike through suburban bike lanes, on a frame that flexed like a Mariachi’s accordion, and he beat me up the hill. 

On his rides from Queens to meet the Manhattan boys in Central Park he worked on his technique, warming up and practicing his aero positioning. He knew it was less efficient going up the hill, but holding it as he climbed helped him to focus on his breathing, heart-rate and cadence.  Mike knew he was in perfect position hunched over the bars, elbows back cutting through the morning breeze without wavering in spite of his 90rpm.  He went through a mental checklist, and everything he had done to soundly thrash the pack in Central Park, he had done climbing the bridge out of Queens.  And yet the delivery guy had served him, passed him like a statue on a pedestal.  Fuck!  He thought of this guy riding past him all the way home.  It was about 7 now, what was the guy doing?  Bringing Spanish omelets to early rising (and lazy) apartment dwellers in Manhattan?  FUCK, beaten up a hill by a guy in street clothes, my a guy who rides in bike that doubles the weight of my throwaway tandem that I got when I was dating Clare: FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!


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