Sunday December 7, 2003 another perfect day for a
bike ride. The temperature
was in the high 20s °F when we started and it never did warm up much
beyond the mid 30s. The
constant sunshine made it very comfortable with just a couple layers of
clothing. I did learn that one thin pair of gloves was not enough at
the start on this type of day. I
know I am going to get a bit wordy, but this ride had at least one event
worthy of a complete and detailed description.
At first I thought I was going to be the only one of
the west of Adams group to meet up at Pete’s house with the other guys,
but it turned our Rich and Bob both joined me.
Bob got the opportunity to go to the Lions game so he was only
going to ride to Pete’s house and then turn around and go home to get
ready to view another Lions loss in person.
After we got Pete and Jason the four of us rode over to Steve’s.
The five of us decided to head south and go ride the trails at Bloomer.
We took Paint
(PCT) south and got off at the river junction in downtown Rochester.
We then cut over to enter Bloomer
on the north side. Believe it
or not Pete led us through the trails at Bloomer
and we ended up with a very nice ride.
I only got bounced off my seat a couple times, but I never did fall
so it was a success.
Since Jason hadn’t seen the velodrome
at Bloomer yet we
decided to stop and check it out. It
was closed and Pete and I got to the entrance first. Nobody was around except us five members of the RH PCT Bike
Club. Since there were steel
bars blocking the entrance I assumed this meant we weren’t supposed to
bring our bikes onto the track. It
is funny how different people interpret things differently.
Pete thought the steel bars over the entrance meant he was supposed
to turn his bike sideways and carefully manipulate it through the bars
like a puzzle and onto the track. Being
slightly below freezing and sun only hitting half the track a good portion
of the riding surface still had a thin sheet of ice covering.
Well, needless to say, once Pete got inside the velodrome the
common sense portion of his brain quit working, as it has a tendency to do
when he gets excited. I was
walking behind Pete as he mounted the “mountain bike” he was riding
that day. Pete started
pedaling fast on the infield heading toward the track, he got on the track
at the middle flat area and realizing to have any chance of staying
upright at the first bank he needed some speed, he overlooked one small
detail, ice. The rest is history, the bike went one way and Pete went
another. It was a beautiful
late morning on that December 7, 2003, a quiet calm engulfed the entire
park. The only noise at the
time was the rustling leaves being pushed aside on the cold ground as the
deer scampered about the park and a few birds chirped as they enjoyed the
warm rays of sunshine sprinkling through the barren branches of mighty oak
trees. I think even the
beavers chewing at the tree trunks along the Clinton River stopped for a
moment and cocked their heads skyward as the sounds of a slightly
overweight Pete vibrated against the artificial track surface.
As painful as the thud against the track sounded to me, Pete
verified the pain with his own, as only Pete could, scream of agony.
You know how some times when you see something happen and you think
it is funny but you really shouldn’t laugh because potentially someone
could be injured. Well this
was one of those moments and there was no way I could do anything other
than laugh. I haven’t
laughed that hard in a long time, it felt good.
So, Pete now has the distinction of being the only club member to
have ridden his bike on the track of the Rochester Hills Velodrome,
so be it only 1/12 of a lap with a very non-professional conclusion.
To this day I wonder if the ice on the track wasn’t actually a
divine intervention from beyond with his best interest in mind.
I hate to even ponder the results of Pete getting far enough to
attempt one of the steep banks. But,
stay tuned, knowing Pete as I have the past 30 years or so I predict he
may attempt this feat again. And
when he does I hope Steve is there not only with his still camera but a
video camera because I feel it is selfish not to share these moments in
more than just prose.
The rest of our ride was rather uneventful.
After we left Bloomer
we headed south on John R to Auburn then west to Rochester Rd.
Next we went north heading for the Hamlin Pub on Rochester Road our
chosen lunch destination. Rich
had plans to watch his son Brad play the piano so he skipped lunch and
headed home as the rest of us stopped for lunch.
After lunch we headed home. We
did make one side stop at the house of a fellow pinball collector, Rick.
Rick had picked up a couple games recently and Pete and I wanted to
take a look at them to decide if they were worth trying save through
restoration. The specific
game we looked at was a Bally “Boomerang”. The playfield was trashed, I decided I wasn’t interested in
this game, just too far gone. Allow
me to go off topic for a quick word on pinball.
For those of you that don’t know pinball is without doubt the
greatest electromechanical device ever invented.
Everyone should own at least one pinball machine for the pleasure
of playing and the sense of accomplishment attained from repairing and
bringing a game back to life. As
you may have figured out bicycling is actually my second hobby/past time
even though lately I have spent more time on my bike than I have with
The other interesting thing about this ride was Jason
brought along a hand held GPS unit. For
those of you that haven’t experienced using a GPS unit you are really
missing out. I classify my
portable Garmin Street
Pilot III as the coolest gadget I have ever owned. I have inherited a lousy sense of direction, almost as
poor as my fathers, and I used to get lost quite frequently.
For the past 8 months that I have had my Garmin
I haven’t been lost once. Now
I have a better chance getting lost walking in my own neighbor hood than I
do driving anywhere in the continental United States with my Garmin.
Jason started tracking our route from Pete’s house.
Click here to see a picture
of the output from the GPS unit, it shows our entire route from this day. And if you look closely you can even see a slight tremble
while we were at Bloomer Park, we believe this tremble came about when
Pete went flying off his bike and landed on the track of the velodrome, it
is amazing what those satellites can pick up.
|Group picture (from left to right) Rich, Pete, Jason, David and Steve||Pete making his approach to the velodrome track||Pete on the flat part of track trying to gain speed before hitting bank||Pete after the ice on the track got the better of him and his poor bike|
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