Wayne Tefs, author of Bandit (Kristen Wittman)
I'm a rider, a cyclist, a roadie. I'm the dead man riding.
What does it mean? It means I'm out there, the guy in the bright jersey you squinch onto the curb. It means I'm invisible to motorists.
Horns honk, dust flies, just to get out of the city means 22 stop signs, 35 lights, 84 Bubbas in pickups giving me the finger.
F*#! you too, Jack! That's what you'd like to say. Would do no good anyway. They can kill you.
What can you do? Wave as if the honk was a friendly greeting. Watch their look in the rearview mirror. That's what gets their goat.
But then it's out of the city, no stop signs, traffic lights, the Bubbas thin.
To be on a bike on the open road: birds twittering, crickets chirring in the grass, smell of-what was that?-horse dung?
10 kilometers, 15, here's where there's sheep, BAAAA, you call out. One feisty little guy runs to the fence and lets you have it: BAAAA!! Good on ya, buddy.
I'm climbing Mount Manitoba this morning, a 30 K wind from the opposite direction. It's kinda like climbing a real mountain in France. Kinda.
No nice little village with a bar and an espresso machine just down the road. And-thump-not much of a surface compared to the side-roads in Europe.
The legs feel good. The sun warm on the back. Swish of tires. These new spokes are flat and the whistle they make sets a dog barking in a farmyard.
Sorry buddy. Can't see you but can hear you. You stay on your side of the ditch, I'll stay on mine.
Here's what used to be a thriving prairie village. The car dealership closed last year, the café where they did a good two egg breakfast the year before.
The farmers' kids are all in the city doing Reiki and Hot Yoga and playing in garage bands. And driving pickups.
Dying towns, dying roadies. Where now?
Wayne Tefs is a Winnipeg author. His most recent novel Bandit A Portrait of Ken Leishman is being launched May 25 at McNally Robinson Bookstore. His next book will be about cycling.
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