Thursday, October 15, 2009

Observation Affects Experience

Heisenberg tells us that observing the universe affects the universe. In much the same way, blogging about a ride changes the ride. Take, for example, the picture above. Mark Canizaro has mastered the "take a picture of yourself while riding" shot and has captured both me and Mike Kearsley also taking pictures. And, of course, we're all taking pictures because, as I explained to Mike, "these blog posts don't just write themselves."

Mike is on this ride because of the blog. Mike came into my shop a few weeks ago and introduced himself as a reader of my blog. Now and then, at the shop or when I'm out riding, someone I don't know says "Hi, Kent" and I've finally learned to not wrack my brain thinking where I know them. I don't know them, but they sort of know me from the blog. Being blog-famous is not at all like being really famous, it's more like being a member of a really obscure indie band. A very small subset of people know who you are. Mike is in that subset and when we got to chatting and I found out that he can often get free on a Monday or a Tuesday, I added him to my email list of potential riding buddies.

My pal Mark had some mission requiring his presence in Port Townsend, so he proposed an up Monday, back Tuesday ride. I sent out email to the usual suspects and got back the usual declines from the folks with jobs, family obligations or boats but Mike said he'd meet us at the ferry terminal in Seattle on Monday morning. "Whose Mike?" Mark asked. "Some guy who reads my blog," I replied.

Mark knew he was staying with friends in Port Townsend, so he was traveling light. I had a bit more stuff than Mark, but my camp kit is pretty compact. Mike, on the other hand, is new to this kind of travel. Mike was ready for adventure.

The trip was a blast. Much coffee was consumed. Many stories were swapped. Mike told us how his daughter saved his life, "she called me a fat man. That got me thinking, that got me riding." In Port Townsend Mike and I wound up camping out in the living room of my friends the Muellners: Jon, Carrie and Peri. I kidded Mike that he'd lugged the tent all the way from Seattle and he really should set it up and camp in the back yard but all the Muellners insisted we stay inside.

Mike was very impressed with Jon's bike shed and basement shop as well as his collection of bikes (several Bridgestones, two Rivendells, two Herons, a pair of Merckxs and a 650b Tony Pereira.) "My wife thinks I have too many bikes," Mike enthused, "wait 'til I tell her about this!"

The threatened weather never really came in force, but what rain we got did convince Mike that his heavy rain jacket was, well, too heavy. The whole trip had him questioning the weight of his choices. I told him about the first day of my fixed gear tour back to Minnesota, passing a heavily loaded bike tourist struggling up Rainy Pass. I knew that fellow was bring all those things so he'd be comfortable. As I passed him I thought, but didn't say, "well, are you comfortable now?" Of course, we all find our own balance and these trips are where we learn what we really need.

Sometimes what you need is a trip with some old and new friends.

Keep 'em rolling,


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