Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Tour de Zeke"

It is an extremely happy Bikeist who is typing this post for your reading enjoyment this Thursday evening.  Gone is the defeated, humiliated, rider who was stranded and shunned by cyclist after cyclist (yes, I do mean "cyclist" in the perjorative sense) on Saturday.  In his place is the triumphant rider who, finally, got his new frame on Tuesday!  Woo-hoo!

Big thanks to Tyler at Holland's Bicycles for getting Specialized to honor its lifetime frame warranty, and to Martin for stripping my cracked frame and expertly re-assembling my new one.  Try getting an on-line bike store to do that for you fellow bikeists!  Not going to happen . . .

The bike is gorgeous - not my signature, black, but silver with black racing stripes, so, close enough.  Even better is that it's an upgrade -- Specialized didn't have my exact frame, so they sent an "Elite" model instead, which has internal brake cables and "Zertz," vibration-dampening, inserts in the seat-stays (as well as in the carbon fork).  Very nice.

Best of all -- the creak is gone people!  So good to ride in blissful silence --

I took her for a quick spin Tuesday evening, right after picking her up, and did IB and back on Wednesday to see what she had (plenty), but the real Christening, for both me and the bike was this morning when we both did our very first "Tour de Zeke."

Zeke was first introduced to the San Diego, national, and international biking public via one of my most widely read blog-posts ever (  As detailed there, Zeke is a San Diego treasure -- a true renaissance man with an insatiable curiosity and a passion for bikes and biking.

I met Zeke as I have met so many of my local friends -- while commuting on the ferry to downtown starting back in 2001. He was on the ferry (and still is) every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  He was drawn into our circle of regular ferry-riders by his buddy, Al, a DA at the time, who consistently plays "Bert" to Zeke's "Ernie" (or Abbott to his Costello as the case may be).  While we were all heading off too work, Zeke, of course, was not.  He spent his Tuesday and Thursday mornings making his way around the bay at his own, particular, pace (to the beat of his extremely unique drum) while we all went off to change and/or save the world from the comfort of our offices.   There have been so many days that I wished I could just forego the office and follow Zeke around the bay instead.

Al, I'm sure felt the same way, but did something about it.  Already qualified for a 100% retirement, he stopped providing essentially volunteer prosecutorial services and officially retired to devote himself to adventure kayaking and some biking.  Thus, on Thursdays, we commuters had both Zeke and Al to look forward to as they brought their comedy routine on board before launching off on what we dubbed, of course, the "Tour de Zeke."  To our great amusement, Al, to this day, grouses over the greasy spoons and retirement centers that Zeke insists on dragging him to for breakfast each time they ride while Zeke prods him by asking him and the group seemingly naive questions about current events and the state of the world at large.  Great fun to witness their act in person!

Zeke and Al have been keeping their Thursday ride going for a good decade now, picking up a few groupies along the way such as Larry, the "Don" of Coronado biking, and Dan, the world's most conservative human outside captivity, whose existence can be attributed to nature demanding that someone like Zeke have a complete antithesis in order to maintain some sort of cosmic equilibrium.

Missing my ferry friends now that I'm working on the "island," and with the excuse of needing to Christen my new frame, I finally did what I've been threatening to do for so many years, and decided to go into work a little late and get my daily PT in by actually doing the Tour de Zeke.  So, rather than bike down the street to my office, I headed to the ferry landing where I found Zeke holding court with his usual groupies.  We all boarded together and had a fine conversation with the king and queen of the ferry, Terry and Gary, and Jeff (of Howie Wowie Bike Tours fame) about the 3rd and 4th Street "Traffic Calming Workshop" - a true "only in Coronado" type of event.  How much calmer can we make streets that are filled with cars that have to crawl on and off the base during rush hour due to congestion?  Hard to get much calmer than a standstill.  Zeke seemed enraptured by the entire conversation and controversy . . .

Once we hit the San Diego side, we disembarked, clicked in, and immediately began pedaling south.  Having done this ride so many times after work by myself, it was really nice to do it in the company of friends - especially in lieu of heading straight to the office.  The conversation continued as we rolled (at a non-breakneck pace) and discussed matters such as bike infrastructure, graffiti, and the ridiculous rent-a-cops at Seaport Village who try to accost bikes that ride through there -- even early in the morning when the shops are closed and there are no customers.  When we got to the site of the demolished Chula Vista power plant, Zeke lamented its demise, opining that the structure should have been converted to low-cost housing and the rest of the property left open for people to erect makeshift shelters wherever they pleased.  Dan pointed out that TJ had already unsuccessfully tried a similar housing experiment  on its hillsides.

We pedaled on, and Zeke made sure to dutifully fulfill his role as tour guide by pointing out obscure things along the way that even a regular bay circumnavigator like myself had missed -- such as the monument to the moron who killed himself by racing his motorcycle down the bike path on the berm in IB in the wee hours of the morning, and crashing into a ditch.  Never noticed that before!

Before we knew it, we were in IB and passing Zeke's place (always easy to spot thanks to the big, home-made windmill on top) on the way to Dos Panchos taco stand, where Al always complains about how wretched the food is (it's not) before inhaling a breakfast burrito along with everyone else.  We were met here by two other Crown City riders and, of course, Zeke groupies.

After breakfast, it was back to the bikes as Zeke headed back down the street to his windmill and we headed back north to the real world.  Again, great to have company as we traversed the Strand. Riding in a group, we seemed to make it back to Coronado in no time at all, branching off where the Strand meets Orange Avenue and melting back into the populace and the non-biking portion of our lives.

I quickly showered and biked (of course) to my office, which somehow survived the early morning without my glorious presence.  As the day proceeded, though, I almost began to doubt whether I had really been out there on Zeke's tour this morning -- it all seemed so dream-like -- probably because I've been saying I'd do it for thirteen years now and can hardly believe I finally did. 

Can't wait to do it again . . .

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