[CR]Morning Glories

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot)

From: "swampmtn" <swampmtn@siscom.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001 23:08:24 -0400
Subject: [CR]Morning Glories

The humidity finally receded today, after weeks of hot and sticky weather. The change was massive and highly welcome; you could feel the dry air flowing into the house, and you could see the change in the beige and salmon sunset and indigo night full of crystal clear stars.

This morning's Breakfast Ride was pretty nice. About 20 people. The air was already beginning to dry, although mist still hung low over the corn and soybean fields, and fog circled in the air above little forests which dot the countryside.

There's a rocky creek, twisting through a small field filled with grasses and wildflowers, surrounded on three sides by a woods of red cedars, where goldfinch and bluejays dance with monarchs and honeybees. Bury me there, please and thank you.

I rode the 1967 Paramount today - a bike so unused and perfect, I'll only take it out once or twice a year. It recently received a Titan chrome steel stem, Titan scalloped aluminum bars, and a joyful pair of candy-red Bluemels fenders, which compliment it's white paintscheme with red pinstripes.

The stem and bars are so old, the lettering faces the rider, so you can read the circular "Titan" script and the 4 names on the handlebar sleeve while you ride - M. Kint, A. Schotte, S. Maes and V. Steenbergen. Marcel, Albriek, Sylvere, and Rik... the four stars of Belgian cycling before Merckx - their names look up at you from Titan bars.

The Paramount is a twitchy, unruly bike to ride. It shimmies at speed, the narrow 38cm bars don't help at all, and my recent shoulder injury makes it even worse. However, once it's moving in a straight line, it's a beautful bike to glance down upon. Chrome stem and headlugs catch ever trace of reflectable light. Candy red fenders match shellacked red cloth tape. Fat Del Mondos roll happily on polished Weinmann rims.

The brake surfaces are knurled, so they make a zippy little song when you apply the brakes.

Last week I rode the Girardengo, which is as smooth, stable, and comfortable a bike as you'll find. The recent switch to Titan adjustable steel stem, GB steel bars, and nice fat 27x1-1/4" grey Vittoria "Phoenix 32"s have turned it from attractive novelty to favorite "rider". It has everything, including a frame that's way too tall, and rims so shiny they look like steel - a young racer on last week's pizza ride suggested I upgrade to some lighter wheels, chrome-plated steel rims being so heavy! He was kind enough not to tell me how the bike was too tall for me to ride. :-)

Tonight is the Morning Glory ride in Cincinnati - well, actually it's tomorrow morning at 4:00 AM (Absolutely Mindboggling). 2,000 cyclists will form a long line of red through downtown, up the expressway to the east, along the rolling of Eden park, and back downtown to the riverbank at dawn.

I won't be there. I discovered long ago that I can neither make myself stay up that late, nor wake up that early, so I will instead sleep-in. Still, I can imagine the cool night air, the thousand patches of illuminated asphalt, the quiet voices and squealing brakes.

I rode Morning Glory once, in 1987, with my then-soon-to-be wife. I was on a burgundy Paramount, and she was on a celeste Bianchi Specialissima. I wore a Gis-Trentino jersey and shorts, and she wore Murella-Rossin.

We'd dined late at Incahoots, and danced at Cooter's until closing time, then drove across town, over the bridge, and into Northern Kentucky, where the ride used to start. Back then there were perhaps 700 participants, divided into groups of 100, with staggered starts to reduce overcrowding on the narrow city streets.

That year we started with the last group. The line of red lights was already snaking it's way up Columbia Parkway when the rain began. At first it was just a fine mist, blown from the periphery of a storm... then came the lightening and thunder and hail and slides and crashes. We rode straight through, soaked to the skin, unable to stop without risking a chill. We finished downtown in the dull gray light of a rainy morning.

So sleepy.... so very very sleepy. We loaded the bikes onto the car, and drove 45 minutes back to Middletown. So sleepy, I fell asleep at a stoplight. So sleepy, I drove over a pile of broken windshields (Where did THOSE come from???). So sleepy, someone dressed as Wonder Woman came out of a drugstore and painted our bikes pink and yellow while we watched... "WAKE UP!!!"

That was 1987 - a million years ago. If someday someone asks if I have any regrets in my life, I can list one - "I regret being too sleepy to do Morning Glory." (That'll leave'em scratching their heads!)

Aldo Ross