Lovely day, a little breezy. I head out from home to Piermont thinking I'll end up in Cold Spring. Remembering that Sheryl got 2 flats last weekend, I changed my mind and decided to hit the bike shop quickly and then go to the bridge via 9W.
After grabbing a Powerbar, I go outside to sit for a minute and happen upon two guys from the city. One is sitting on the bench, I say, "Oh, I'm gonna sit with you" and he says, "Well I'm gonna get up, my friend needs to sit more than I do". (Hint #1) So I sit and the friend makes his way over and the three of us chat for a while. Now I've ridden with enough beginners to know that this guy has had it. There are several tell-tale signs your newbie friend is not enjoying his ride with you. One, the aforementioned needing to sit. Now. Right there. Or on the floor, or up against a wall. Basically any incarnation of sit that doesn't involve a bicycle.
Then we chat for a while and biker friend mentions they're heading back toward the bridge- I ask where they're from- Staten Island. Wow, I say, how far of a trip is this for you? He nonchalantly says, "70 roundtrip. His friend is silent (Hint #2). When newbie bikers fail to comment on the mileage or engage in any conversation other than, "Wow, bike riding is so much fun and so exhilerating" they're toast.
So, I say, which one is your bike? Biker friend points to his road bike and his friend's hybrid (Hint #3). Oh really, I say, noticing the shiny new hybrid. When did you get that?
Biker friend says, "This is his first trip on it". Newbie friend is still sitting on the bench NOT commenting about how wonderful his new bike is. (Hint #4).
We start to talk about the route back to the bridge- I ask if they're taking 9W or 501. Biker friend insists they'll take the huge rollers on 9W instead of 501 because it's got a large shoulder. He said he'd rather that over the flat 501 route with a final climb up towards the bridge. I could actually hear newbie's thoughts. They were, "Yes yes yes flat is good flat is good, yes, flat please, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ALLOW ME TO SAVE MY MAN-STATUS BY NOT INSISTING WE TAKE THE FLAT ROUTE BECAUSE I JUST CAN'T HANDLE THIS ANYMORE!!!!"
Newbie friend falls silent- I save him by saying, "He definitely wants to take the flatter route, I can tell." He sits in silence with a defeated face. His motions, including removing an apple from his pocket, are all slow. He nods slowly, he chews slowly, he laughs slowly.
Biker friend insists it's better to take 9W and asks if newbie friend is ready. Newbie friend is not (Hint # a million, he does not ever want to get back on that f'n bike.)
I head off before them and climb up to 9W- I stop soon after to make a phone call and a few mintues later here come the guys again. They stop with me, biker friend adjusts the seat of newbie for what is clearly the 30th or 40th time based on their speechless ballet of getting off the bike, tool removal, and subsequent adjustment. Newbie is still moving slowly.
We ride off together and newbie is almost immediately dropped as biker friend stands and mashes up the hill by the obseravatory. I watch newbie get passed by half a dozen riders- I attempt to chat a little by riding next to him, but he's defeated. So, off I go and as I pass biker friend he is impatiently looking over his shoulder for newbie as newbie's 20-cadence up the hill is just about enough to keep him vertical.
Man I felt bad for that guy.