Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mad-keen cyclists

Apparently “mad-keen” is Australian for very enthusiastic. I learned this on a MassBike supported ride across Massachusetts with my friend Larry Reed and almost a hundred other riders. One rider came from Australia and described her parents as mad-keen cyclists. As a result of their affliction, they had lots of excellent spare parts around home, which they put together on a spiffy carbon frame and gave Courtney a fine bicycle to bring to America.

We also met a fellow named Rashah. Well, that’s not really his name. He got the nickname after a year of backpacking around Europe. When he finally settled down and got a job in England, his boss declared that he was so skinny that he looked like a rasher of bacon. That was my second foreign word of the trip. I’d read of rashers of bacon, and always thought a rasher must be some English unit of measure. However, my Merriam-Webster dictionary says it’s ”a thin slice of bacon or ham broiled or fried; also: a portion (as of bacon) consisting of several slices «eggs with a rasher of bacon».” But our guy is a New Englander, so he threw away the final r and became Rashah. He sports a wide moustache that curls up at the ends and wears stylish one-of-a-kind bicycle pants.

Since I’ve already started singling out characters from our ride, I must conclude with Erika, who went from running a vegan restaurant to opening a meat market. She’s into food, and she’s happy to prepare whatever people want to buy. She’s also a strong cyclist, an avid fund-raiser for charity, and a brilliant conversationalist.

I’m happy to describe all three of those people as mad-keen cyclists. Larry and I are pleased to describe ourselves that way too. We rode hard, ate and slept well, and repeated. We enjoyed the ride and the roads we traveled, and we had a great time chatting with the extremely diverse group of people who came together for this trip. I wasn’t sure, when I saw folks gathering, that I’d have much in common with many of them. It turns out, of course, that we found a great deal in common and the commonality went far, far beyond bicycles. I enjoy meeting new people even more than I enjoy riding my bike, which means that I couldn’t help but have a great time.

Climbing Sugarloaf

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