The Mountain Bike Life

Author: Brett and John Paul

He thought, without a doubt, in the old days he would’ve driven right by the brown wooden sign half-hidden by weeds that marked the Dorman Woods State Park’s entrance. But for the help of the Galactic Phone, as he called it, he would’ve sped by, for although on the trails his mind falls into comedy stand-up mode, in the car he becomes an oldies crooner. Del Shannon, The Temptations, The Ravens, The Big Bopper, nobody was safe. He was on…

“Everyone has a breaking point, and anyone that hits that point, pushes through it and keeps themselves moving will be a better person afterwards.” Those were the strongest words Dylan had ever read to describe a mountain bike trail. It wasn’t like he sought out killer climbs, he took more joy in getting through a technical rock garden or hitting a berm faster than he should, but the description of the trail he was planning to ride the next day…

Somewhere in Pennsylvania he felt something cool on his cheeks. He took his hand off the steering wheel and touched his face. Wetness. He was crying. Not sobbing or blubbering or talking things out with himself. He was just staring, stone-faced, straight ahead, tears running down his face. Then he was hearing the scratching sound. Intermittent. Every twenty miles or so. Maybe more. He varied his speed, accelerated, quickly let his foot off the gas at sixty miles per hour…

“Is he awake yet?” Ted asked. He straightened his tie in his reflection on the microwave door. “Not yet,” Andy replied, “at least I haven’t heard him.” “Or the printer, you mean.” Andy poured a bowl of scrambled egg batter into a pan. It hissed at him as he stirred it in. The sweet smell of onions and peppers caramelizing in the hot pan tempted Ted to call in late to work, but he had already eaten his usual oatmeal…

Dylan struggled to keep on Ted’s wheel as he wove his way up the steepest climb. The ground was mostly frozen, a little thawed, mushy and slippery here and there where the sun made its way through the pines and warmed the ground. At one point his foot slipped from the pedal, but he managed to keep enough momentum going that he didn’t have to stop. He didn’t mind holding Ted back. In fact, he felt like Ted needed to…

Dylan shook his head at a guy that changed two lanes without signaling, cutting him off. He couldn’t believe he was back in Jersey. He fumbled with the radio in Ted’s Subaru. The presets were whacked. Hip-hop, not the good kind, but the kind that’s 50/50 rap and R&B. Do one or the other, please. The next, a Top 20 Country station…and THAT guy is rapping. “What the hell?” he said to himself. He turned the dial, searching for someone…

“New York City? Really?” he asked, shifting himself forward in his chair, leaning in close to the two cups of coffee before them. “I’ve been there. It’s kind of like Disneyland with drugs and clothing stores that smell like pesticide. And the pizza isn’t all that, either. Not enough sauce.” “But,” she countered, “this is what young people do. They move into a big dirty city and muck up their lives enough to learn to love their crappy little simple…

“October is a transformative month,” Dylan explained from his perch upon the riding lawnmower. “How’s that?” Denise asked. “Well, things hit a wall fast. Kids go back to school, parents have to drive them around to soccor and ballet classes, parents stop riding. The fair weather riders hang their bikes up for the winter. And nobody is thinking about Christmas yet. And I instantly go from being indispensable and having to fight for one day a month off to being…

He opened the toolbox and pulled out a pile of rags. Spread one out on the floor. Then took a few more and strategically placed them under the first spin bike in places he knew would get messy once he took the cover off. The idea of getting out of the shop seemed great when the gym called, but kneeling next to the sweat-soaked spinners all day would bring its own form of discomfort. He pulled out a box of…

He snapped the press into place, lined up the cups, and began slowly twisting it all together. “That epoxy smells,” Ted said. “You know,” he replied, “twenty years ago I never thought I would be gluing plastic cups into what is essentially a plastic frame, with tiny little bearings that are somehow supposed to hold up to the stress of road racing and mountain biking, with a headset press, of all things.” “I can’t believe how loud they were, or…

1 2