Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Sticks and Stones: My Trackstand Unclipped

It is a marvelous facet of humanity that, at those moments when we think we are the coolest, we are, in fact, at our most buffoonish, and perhaps even most vulnerable. One incisive comment at these moments can turn the sweetest victory aside like a chamois turns aside a rider’s banana farts.

This is precisely what happened to me last night. Allow me to set the scene.

I was returning from a short ride with The Bobbler to check out the Grant Park crit course I’ll be racing on Sunday. During the ride, we ran into a handful of other riders out doing the same thing, as well as Twotone, who wasn’t on a bike, but merely airing his baby, Otto.

Otto took a long look at me and then cried a bit.

During our ride I was employing my “mad” track standing skills at each stoplight, as is my wont. Since I have declared myself against the practices of running lights and of slipping past cars, track standing gives me something to do while I wait for the light. Note that I have never employed it during an actual track event. In fact, I would probably have no small amount of trouble doing this since I am used to track standing with the riding surface sloping up to the left along the crown of the road, and the track slopes up to the right.

Still, as I say, it gives me a balancing game to play while I wait for lights, as well as a sense of smugness when I see other riders debasing themselves by taking the sidewalk.

So there I was, last night, riding home in the hot, wet breath of a summer’s evening, when I was confronted with a poem inscribed on a wall in front of me in the neighborhood known as Cabbagetown. I paused in trackstand mode long enough to read the poem — but not comprehend it — and then rode on to catch The Bobbler, who was a block ahead of me by this point. There were two cute girlies crossing the street ahead of me, and I could swear that I saw in their faces a measure of surprise that a man could stop a bike at will, read a poem, and then ride on with nary an unclip, let alone a dismount. I might even have imagined them to be impressed!

I don’t know why I would think any two cuties would be interested in such a maneuver, though. My poetry and my bike riding have both been met with equal disinterest over the years by Cheryl, and that’s when they’re not met with outright scorn.

Still, like any self-important oblivious buffoon who fancies himself interesting in this day and age, I began to compose the twitular transmission that I would broadcast about it when I got home. I came up with this, and sent it from my writing desk:

Just laid down a rock solid trackstand long enough to read a street art poem in full view of two Cabbagetown cuties. #hipstar

Pleased with myself, I headed to the rear of my windowless underground lair to start a shower. No sooner did I step away from the computer though, than my friend Carleton posted this:

Just saw some dork doing a track stand while reading some emo poem in cabbagetown. Sheesh #LATFH

Damn and blast! My moment ruined! Oh well, into each life a well-crafted burn must occasionally fall, I guess. I still think those girls were impressed, but now there is no way to know without polling the inhabitants of Cabbagetown for their whereabouts one by one. I can see the Craigslist Missed Connections post now:

You were dressed as a multicolored sausage, balancing on a two-wheeled thingy and staring at a concrete wall. Then you rolled away, but not before leering at my friend and me. Tell me what I was wearing!

2 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones: My Trackstand Unclipped”

  1. bob d

    I am pretty good at track standing. I taught myself to do it after watching a competition at my first Critical Mass. After practicing for hours and hours in the grass on my mountain bike I moved onto my fixie and found it to be much easier since I had laid down all the hard work of getting used to rolling backwards.

    The first time I tried to track stand w/o clipping out in the road I fell over and couldn’t get my feet out of the pedals in time. It was, of course, in front of a girl I was trying to impress. I always clip out when I do it now, totally defeating the point of track standing.

    Jim managed a track stand at a downhill intersection on his freewheel bike last night, I have no idea how he was rolling backwards, but he was. I think Jim is part wizard sometimes.

  2. ckdake

    So what were they wearing?