Last week, between the showers, the puddles and the gritty streets two great memories bridged whatever gap separates us and rode along side for a while. They were unexpected but welcome company.
The first of them appeared as a curtain of rain drew back to reveal the first sunshine of the week. Looking ahead to navigate a minefield of sweetgum balls brought down by the wind the light caught a shower of droplets thrown upwards by the front wheel. As they arced forward, I was taken back to a summer long past when a sprinkler tick... tick... ticked its way through endless circles. Then my wheel picked up a little stone and as it pinged from spoke to spoke in search of freedom, I remembered us riding our bikes through that sprinkler in our bathing suits, by the swimming pool where we lived from June to September.
Back and forth we rode through the pulsing spray timing our runs, hitting our coaster brakes so hard the bikes slid out from under us on the wet lawn. If we stopped it doesn't register now. Perhaps someone yelled at us or we just grew tired and threw our bikes in a pile as we often did in the rush back to the water. Walk don't run around the pool!
It was the sweet smell of wood smoke that brought back the second memory. Slowing as I passed through a narrow laneway that connects two back-to-back neighborhoods, I found myself climbing the stairs to the cottage on Bark Lake. I must have been twelve when my friend Frank, now a pilot for KLM, and I spent a cool fall weekend in the Laurentians driving a boat, shooting a 22, chopping wood. One night in the pitch dark of that Northern forest we ran outside to watch a maelstrom of glowing red sparks stream from the chimney to settle as sooty mites on our jackets and faces. The smell never quite left that jacket.
I exited the lane, turned right into the wind and it was gone. Coincidentally the next day I got an email from Frank who lives in Holland. Among the details he just got a new Trek Equinox 9.0. Separated yes, different no.
I don't know if my grandfather ever rode a bike. His name was Carlo Salteri. He owned a grocery on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, he loved opera, football pools and Violet, my grandmother. Always a smartly dressed man, I think he would have enjoyed Rapha's new Italian kit. I wore the jersey and leg warmers for an abbreviated neighborhood loop Saturday with Juli shadowing me in the car for a few pictures.
The short sleeve jersey is solid black with beautifully inset tre-colore striping, a retro-styled short zipper and Rapha's customary attention to detail. A 69% polyester/31% merino blend provides the performance and comfort we've come to expect from Mottram and company. The matching* knee warmers stayed put under the Rapha Bib shorts with appropriate compression.
I wonder what Carlo would have made of all this cycling. It would have been great to watch the Giro with him.
*The knee warmers cool blue-black matches the bib shorts perfectly. The jersey black is a little more carbon. It's a small difference that in no way detracts from the overall impression. That said I do have a bigger problem with the theme. Where are the matching arm warmers, cap and socks Luke, Graeme?