It’s a scary thing when you finally meet internet friends face to face. Online personas don’t always have much in common with the people behind them. I was a little bit apprehensive about going to the big bad city to meet the Large Fella. What if he’s an axe murder? Even worse, what if he’s secretly a carbon fiber & spandex racerboy wannabe?!
I put my apprehensions aside and drove east, into the sun, for three hours, admiring my bike’s new paint job through the sunroof most of the way.
I arrived at se casa de Large Fella and didn’t see any axes, carbon fiber or otherwise.
When you follow someone’s blog for any length of time, it’s easy to feel like you know them pretty well, and after a few minutes of drooling over each other’s bikes, it was like talking to an old friend. Conversation flowed easily from lugs-n-steel to cars-n-road rage to food-n-nicotine. Little Miss Chloe slipped out of her bedroom and began leading me around the house to show me her collection of fruit-scented magic markers, and the Easter eggs that she and her dad had colored the week prior.
While I was sniffing markers, Scott got his riding attire on, and we were soon rolling out along the Jersey City waterfront.
After pausing for a moment of silence at the Jersey City 9/11 memorial, we worked our way up the Hudson, cruising through the mean streets of Hoboken, and reappearing at the waterfront for a relaxation break. We discussed my philosophy on how to deal with road rage and assholes in general. My theory is that it helps to try to remember that every asshole was, at some point, an innocent child and was made into an asshole by the world. Assholes should, therefore, have our pity and not our contempt.
With thoughts like these I am sometimes able to delay the deployment of my middle finger for as long as 2 or 3 seconds.
Deep philosophical discourses such as these work up quite an appetite, so Scott radioed back to Large Fella HQ to ready the picnic commandos. We rode back to the house to pick up the ladies. Chloe got her piccolo attached to Scott’s bike, and Amy (Mrs. Large Fella) unsheathed the Bob Brown Copper Penny Custom, which is easily the most beautiful bicycle I have ever seen. When the noonday sunlight hits it, it looks like something an Aztec priest would have ridden into the sun to sacrifice himself to Huitzilopochtli, (if Aztecs had bicycles of course.)
At any rate, with panniers full of picnic goodness, we rode out to Liberty State Park. We chased some gulls, and ended up at a huge playground with some picnic tables. Chloe played on the monkey bars while the grown ups ate and talked about politics, religion, and urban design.
Chloe gave me a thorough tour of all the playground equipment before we packed the bikes up and rode back to to the house. At home base, we sat on the stoop, had a beer, and recounted the day’s adventure before I packed up the Trek and headed back to Pennsylvania.
It was a very nice day. Perfect weather, nice riding, interesting conversation, good company.