Tales from Loren Beachy
A Lean, Mean (Cheap) Bicycling Machine
“Cyclists come in different types. Some bike as a practical matter to save on gas, until their DWI suspension is up, or because they’re Amish.” Scott Weisser, writer for the Goshen (Indiana) News, so categorized bicyclists in a recent column.
I would fall under the first and last categories there. Obviously I’m Amish so that explains part of my extensive bike riding, but I also come in very strongly in the “practical matter” category.
My family calls me a tightwad. I squirm at the idea of paying drivers to go somewhere that is too far or requires too much speed for the horses available at the time. Perhaps I have become a bit clingy with my cash. Add to that the fact that I am now lacking a full-time job since school let out and I become slightly stingy.
Take the other Friday night, for example. I was invited to a wedding supper located about thirteen miles away. The horses at my disposal were not conditioned well enough for this trip and it was one of those days when it rains easily. Because of the rain I did do some calling around, looking for a “load” going to the wedding. Paying a driver isn’t so bad when you’ve got a whole van load of people to split the cost with.
No load was found however, and I considered skipping the wedding altogether. I knew the groom well though. Plus, weddings are social events, and I do enjoy social events.
So, I donned wedding attire, borrowed one brother’s raincoat and another brother’s road bike and set off.
At the time I left, it was not raining or I might have been more concerned about the fact that the raincoat only covered me from the waist up. With approximately three miles left to go the rain commenced coming down. Not just sprinkles, but a decent soaker. With ten miles already put through I was not about to turn back now.
I removed my glasses, pulled up the hood on my raincoat, and continued eastward. These measures however, did nothing to prevent it from raining on the lower half of my body.
Upon arriving at the wedding and parking my brother’s slick red bicycle, I set off in search of my friends who had also been invited to the wedding supper. I found them, along with a slew of other young men, in a shop adjacent to the one where the wedding supper was being held. Metal siding and a metal roof covered this shop where my buddies were hanging out, and the rain may have sounded even worse from in there.
Soon after strolling into the shop, I met up with my friend, Jason. He married recently so I don’t see him as much anymore. Therefore Jason has to make up for lost time by doubly harassing and making life miserable for me when he gets a chance. It took only a short minute for him to find something to work me over with.
“So how did you get here?” Jason inquired. Such a nice guy, just making small talk with an old buddy.
“Bike.” I was already slightly wary of the storm to come.
“What! Are you nuts?” Jason’s eyebrows shot up and he began to scan me from head to toe. “Your pants are soaking wet!”
Nice work there, Sherlock.
“Hey Lynn! Get over here! This guy biked up here. Can you believe it?” Jason called in backup.
Lynn is another recent addition to the ranks for matrimony and is also very much in favor of giving me a hard time. “You rode your bike up here,” he chimed in. “Our church is allowed to have covered buggies, you know.”
You could have cut the sarcasm with a knife.
Jason wasn’t done yet. “Were you ever desperate to go to a wedding! There must be some girls here you’re after.”
Sherlock Holmes strikes again.
One comfort though is that while Lynn and Jason have always been better athletes than I, perhaps this way I can finally catch up. While Jason and Lynn are becoming plump, sedentary married men, I may yet morph into a lean, mean, bicycling machine.
Note: Beachy refuses to confirm or deny accusations that suggest he is after girls.