Tales from the Lardbutt Peloton, March 26, 2006
I guess that it was inevitable. You write a snarky piece about what happens when you mix wobbly Tri-Geeks and even wobblier Old Schoolers on fixed-gear bikes during a group ride. Being the most dangerous of all animals - higher primates with a fertile imagination and unlimited access to inebriants and bicycles - it was probably just a matter of time before someone in our midst came up with the bright idea that if the unholy combination of Tri-Geeks and Wool Jersey Old Schoolers riding together produced a memorable laff-riot of special behaviour, then it would be even more fun if you took it a step farther - actually putting Tri-Geeks on Old School fixies and turning them loose. Yessirrree! Take away their aero bars, lock the rear hub so the damn thing doesn't coast, and then just stand back and watch the wacky hi-jinks begin!
The sad irony here is that it was the apparent instigator of this brave social experiment, the most Old School Lardbutt of all, Slippery Pete, who bore the full brunt of the karmic payback from the Tri-Geek community.
For those of you who weren't there or may not remember, the infamous Special/Body-Bag Ride of 2005 began with a similar exchange of cycling cultures. A group of triathletes showed up one Sunday morning in December for the normal Team Lardbutt ride. Being winter, a number of us Lardbutts have taken to showing up to the ride on fixed gear bikes. Winter training on the fixie is, of course, the 'Manly Thing To Do'. So it was natural that the Old School Sultans of Spin felt compelled to make it very clear to anyone within a three county area that they viewed themselves as the Second Coming of Eddy, especially when compared with a bunch of lowly Tri Geeks. The results were predictable. Before the morning was out, each Old Schooler was made to look the fool, hitting the dirt in various self-inflicted and embarrassing ways. One, who shall remain nameless, actually took out a Tri-Geek on his way down, adding insult to injury. They were stopped at the intersection near the Pastry Shoppe, where our Old Schooler was trying to be helpful and give a Tri-Geek directions back to the Park when he had a pedal malfunction...
I suppose that cosmic justice demanded that if there was ever a Tri-Geek/Old School rematch, it would be an Old Schooler who would be taken out by an innocent-yet-embarrassing error from one of the Tri-Geeks. Mission accomplished. Slippery Pete's downfall came on the entrance road into Fort Hunt Park, before the ride actually got started. Accounts vary, but it appears that Pete invited a couple of riders to come out with us on Sunday, pushing the fixed-gear angle. They agreed, were riding over to meet us, when they tangled right outside of Fort Hunt Park. The end-result was that Pete got torpedoed and broke his ankle. Bummer.
There is some controversy over whether this was officially a Tri-Geek incident or just a riding accident. The two Tri-Geek suspects involved in the incident are new to the rest of us in the group, meaning that no one has actually observed them engaging in tri-geekery. Both were astride fixed gear bikes, and not tri-bikes, so there is that level of plausible denial. However, some quick detective work has revealed that, yes, this daring hit on Slippery Pete was probably the work of the ITGC, the International Tri-Geek Cabal.
The main give away - bottle cages behind the seat. Only a Tri-Geek does that. J'Accuse...
Anyway, after Pete was bundled off to the Emergency Room, we actually did have a very fine ride indeed. Given the length of the Saga of Slippery Pete, I'll just give the headlines:
Hideous carrion-eating vultures invade prestigious new housing development in Lorton - cyclists point and laugh (really)
Team Lardbutt given own table at the pastry shoppe
The last one was pretty cool. We rolled up to the Pastry Shoppe and were greeted by a set of table and chairs set up on the sidewalk JUST FOR US, complete with a sign (see picture). Some cynics viewed this as an attempt to remove us smelly, sweaty bikers from the more polite clientele, but it appears that it was a true mark of affection for the Lardbutts, an attempt to ensure that we got our own table where we could comfortably drink coffee, scratch, and break wind in peace.