Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Old Man

My dad would have turned 68 today.

He was a founding member of the Grumpy Old Bastards Bike Club (peak membership: 3), and a staunch proponent of the widest tires he could get his hands on -- "fat-tired bikes for fat, tired guys" is how he described it.

We used to ride together in the evenings, after dinner -- he had a theory (the "Seven o'Clock Calm") that the wind would always die down around seven. It didn't always pan out, but now, whenever I hear cicadas, I remember rides with my dad.

At 45, he had his first heart attack. He barely survived a second at 50, and was taken by the third one at 55. A life of smoking and obesity was just too much for his cycling habit to overcome.

One of the last places we went together (though I didn't know it at the time, obviously) was a bike shop.

I miss him every day.

Tailwinds, old man.


Pondero said...

Touching, and well-told. I need to call my dad...

Anonymous said...

It's good to stop and remember dates like this. It's been very close to 18 years since my mom passed away, and it's nice to have the small reminders of her around.

Time does flow by, of course. I had to check, but it's been about 8 years since we did a ride along the I&M canal. Really ought to schedule another bob ride like that.

gotta ask... were you one of the original G.O.B. club, or are you an honorary member now?

Steve in Peoria

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Steve -- I was an honorary member back in the day. I would probably qualify as a real member now, but the club pretty much disbanded with the loss of its founding member. It lives on in spirit, I'd say.

Man, that I&M ride was a good time. I agree, we need something else like that. My sister and brother-in-law were threatening to do the Tour of Hog Heaven in Kewanee this year if C and I would make the trip with the tandem -- maybe that's an opportunity?