As we have been enjoying our daily bike riding, we have become familiar with some of the people we pass going and coming on the trail. There are regulars that we encounter, and we have given them nicknames. As a group, we call them the "Die Hards" - they are out there all the time like we are. There is no disrespect associated with these names whatsoever – merely association by what we observe as we have our “passing” and brief encounter with each one. In fact, the names are given with a certain amount of affection to these people that have become part of the bike riding ritual.
Toothless – This was our first. There is an old guy that sits on a bench by a water fountain right before our last underpass and just before the “10 mile mark.” He has very weathered, sun-bronzed skin and is often shirtless. He has a beautiful shock of white hair. Often he can be seen eating a take-out meal and reading a book. He also rolls his own cigarettes. After several times of riding by him I said “hello.” He looked up and gave me huge grin, showing that he is, indeed, toothless.
Tonto – This guy wears a bandanna tied around his head and no helmet. He always has on a sleeveless shirt and we see him on every trail we ride. He is one awesome, strong rider!
Sweatshirt – When we first saw this guy we just could not believe it! It is 108 outside and he is walking in gray sweatpants, an orange sweatshirt and a black ski hat. Seriously! And we see him almost every day we are out. I decided to say hi, and now he always says “good evening” and smiles at us. He has been riding a bike lately, and yes, with the same outfit. He is very nice even though I don’t understand why he wears such hot clothing in the summer while working out!
Speed Demon – He is fast – the fastest one on the entire trail. He is so muscular. He is so strong! I marvel at how easy he makes it look when he zips past us as we are struggling along. Amazing guy!
Mario – This guy has a cool mustache. He always has a huge smile on his face and waves hello to us.
Chester – Yes, this gentleman loves to show off his chest hair by having the zipper on his riding jersey ALL the way down. I don’t understand it. He is pretty old, and all of his hair (on the head and chest) is iron gray. Actually, there are more guys than this one that do the zipper thing with their jerseys. Hmmmmm, wonder if I should try it. NOT!!!
Henry and Henrietta – What a cute little couple. They wear white from head to toe, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and helmets, complete with camelbacks. The only skin exposed is the neck and face – well at least the parts not covered by the huge goggles and helmet straps. They stop about every mile, dismount, and drink from their camelbacks. I think Henry is just a little bossy and he always rides in front. I saw him setting the bikes out in their front yard on one of the trails we ride up north. They are cute, but it is kind of weird that they dress like that. Oh well, to each his own.
Wonder Woman – Oh my! She has the most awesome body ever. When she rides past I tell Rod, “I want to look like her some day.” He just smiles at me. She has beautiful muscles, is tan, is slender, is so fast on her bike. And she is a whole lot younger than I am. Oh well… I can dream, can’t I(?
Captain America – Yes, he rides with Wonder Woman.. Wow. They are an amazing couple and I love to see the beauty of the human body that is so well defined and cared for. Rod says that the Captain is trying to look like him. I just smile.
Dynamic Duo – Words can hardly describe how cool these two guys are. They ride a tandem bike. We saw them for the first time at the drinking fountain at Rio Vista and heard the lead guy praising his buddy. The lead rider is amazing. His partner (the guy in the back) is blind. He says it is a privilege to ride with him because he is so strong and he always pulls more than his share. I got a big lump in my throat as I listened to them talk. They are FAST. They are STRONG. Then we saw them a few weeks later as they whizzed by us on our 50 mile ride. We caught up to them over by Sunny Slope High School as they were resting under a shade tree and asked them for some directions because we were in unknown territory. We took off and were riding pretty hard and they passed us like we were standing still. These guys are so inspiring!!
Energizer (as in the bunny – there are bunnies all over the trail) – This little gal is so darling! We see her all over the place. She always smiles and says hello to us. She is young, cute, strong and fast. She makes it look so easy and she just flies past us. We always watch for her and miss her when she is not out.
Tattoo – Not much explanation needed. Her arms are really tatted up and you simply can’t miss her.
Brutal – We see him almost every day. He is often on his phone while he rides. A few weeks ago there was a really strong wind. We had just turned around and were enjoying the wind at our backs. Here comes this guy just struggling into the wind. He calls out to us “This wind is BRUTAL!” We had a good laugh and we now we call him “Brutal.” He always waves to us.
Pac Man – This guy has such an unusual face – very round with a distinct mouth. I know if he turned sideways he would look just like Pac Man. Sometimes he wears a helmet and sometimes it is just him with his very round, bald head and distinct mouth. He is a powerhouse!
Tourist – Would you go for long rides with saddle bags on your bike, AND a backpack? Maybe he is practicing for a actual bike tour, who knows?
Jingle Bells – You can hear him coming up from behind. Yes, he has actual jingle bells on the bottom of his bicycle seat. I think it would drive me nuts to have that constant jingling the whole time I was riding. I like my ding, ding bell.
Shoes – as in fluorescent green. Need I say more about this runner?
Colonel Sanders – complete with the beard and moustache. Cute guy. Always smiles at us.
Iron Man – we talked for a while with this guy one day. He has ridden all over the valley. He is a die-hard rider. He radiates confidence, but unlike the real Iron Man, he is friendly.
Tucson – this guy is old – probably 70. He is the first one that told us about el Tour de Tucson, the big event we are working toward. He has such strong, skinny little legs and a round little pot belly. He was very friendly and wears his colorful jersey when he rides. Today he was looking over the railing and called out to us “I just saw a road runner!” Nice man.
The Witch – I could not believe my eyes when I saw this phantom coming down the lane. HUGE hat – I bet the brim was at least 2 feet wide on each side, and then a helmet on top. The hat had holes cut on the sides for the helmet straps to go through and clip under the chin. This skinny, wrinkled, gray haired old lady was riding this big old fat tired bike like nobody’s business. She had on a long sleeved shirt to cover her arms from the sun and the shirt tail was flying all around and flapping in the wind. Yes, there was a basket on the bike, but no Toto dog. I could hear the music – da ta da ta da da
Fossil – need I say more? Yes, old and wrinkled – but he is out there riding the trail. There are a couple of these guys out there that I really admire. I hope I can still ride when I am that old!
Just for the heck of it I am throwing in a picture of my marvelous biker tan! Ha! I haven't been this "brown" since I was a little girl.