First: Kansas City is in Missouri.
There might be a Kansas City Kansas, but there is no way it can be as cool as this town.
Rode with (flyin’) Bryan Reckamp.
That meant: stops. No rushin’ roulette!
Barely out of the gate we passed a woman with a RAGBRAI jersey on, and within about a half hour met a gentleman at the tiny “Malta Bend” (town) diner who was her husband. Fred ‘n Jean Long. She’s a long haul rider, 3x cancer victor, and he is her personal sag! WOW!! Lady, please please get yrself a boastcard from ACG? PLEASE? The world needs you badly.
Lunch in Lexington, a town so charming, so historical and so loaded with excellent architecture that I really nearly rode into a couple parked cars and one wrong-way local cyclist…At the Enigma cafe…a proper tea room with super-healthy food. Real shortbread, too.
And so we sprawled around in there, yakking it up with Abbie, one of the two owners, who are going to some day be swamped because that coffee Jon and Bryan had was the best on the trip..and the tea I had was perfect too…a young girl sold me some sunflowers for my handlebars (she’s saving for a bike!) and as we left, a huge gaggle of tourista ladies swarmed in, replacing our sweaty swarm with a perfumed cloud of propriety and patience…
We proceeded onward, just Bry since Jon was on a solo mission today. The itinerary went as follows:
1. ‘We’re stopping to sit under the next tree’…( this was during a hot stretch in field after field after rolling field of experimental “335 t-9” corn). Check.
2. ‘I know a great place for barbeque, Albert somethingorothers, kinda required eating…’ Check.
3. Obligatory stop at Tastee Freeze–on principle.
4. There’s a cool coffee shop in the art district. Check.
5. ‘oh, yes, there’s a bike shop I like a lot’…
Basically , this was a do-over of a great visit BR did a year and a half ago.
As we pulled up to the bike shop–set wayyyy back off 18th Street in the art district–I read “ACME” on the sign, and he was setting up to take pix of the bike pile welded to a phone pole, and the giant rusted quarple-tandem that is a bike rack..
and I realized that I knew the owner (Sarah Gibson). We’ve been pen pals since…oh, very very long ago. Let’s say 1986, when I first got a computer…no, maybe 1987 when I founded WOMBATS.
I practically flipped, but suddenly I knew I was screwed because, despite our deep and meaningful correspondences…I uh…couldn’t recall her name.
Bry googled around lookin for a clue for a few precious minutes while I tried the A-Z jukebox technique (“A…abby, anne, aurora…no, B …betty, no…C cindy cathy, oh fuck well then D? E? EFF? FCK ME)
“Aww, let’s just go in and find out. She’ll forgive me…”
And she was sitting in the garage-door opening, as I was thinking “please be open please be open” after all it WAS around 5 pm…
The shop is unique, and needs to be written up for a magazine…which? Why, Karen Brook’s latest baby, the spin-off from Dirt Rag. Urban Biker, or something –sorry Kar, forgot the title. Sarah and I just blabbed non stop an’ I jumped around the store admiring the BIKES SHE BUILT HERSELF (insert picture here some day) with the neat-o plasma cut steel head badges –picture a teardrop shaped peace symbol.
But we had to leave. We gave her the address of the “event” (42 below hosts little bashes at the big city centers, we all work like mad to promote the great brand, share t-shirts with the assorted bikers who come..) –Grand Falloon it’s called.
And lo, at least a dozen local biker types came! Michelle the seamstress for whom ‘good taste is other people’s problem’, Corrina, the messenger/social worker, and Jones, who generously shared his beer with me until the food was unveiled…oh, yes and F.C. who rolls a mean, elegant –with filters, even!