The plans for Heyride to visit didn’t develop until Monday for his Friday arrival. It started with jokes of him coming out to join me on a local group cyclocross ride around the foothills and got solidified when we realized Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine were playing a short drive away. He brought his cross bike out, Meriwether frame #8, and we got ready for a big weekend.
The prospects of me heading to a group ride with a bunch of people I didn’t know was a bit daunting. I’m the shy quiet type for the most part, but the host of the ride, Isaac, is one of the nicest guys I’ve met so I knew I had to go and meet some of his friends. When we got there, 2 miles as the crow flies but over an hour drive, I knew nobody except Heyride and Isaac (who had randomly met at the Specialized dealer camp at Copper Mtn, Colorado this summer). I recognized a guy I hadn’t seen since the 1st World Singlespeed Championships in Rancho Cucamonga – Stevil of AHTBM. He wasn’t in his orange inmate jumper this time around so I wasn’t sure until we got to chatting. He had no recollection of proclaiming that singlespeeding was dead and that “fixed-gears” were going to be the next cool thing. I’m pretty sure he was trying to mess with me. The Intergalactic Pilots were born soon after, and singlespeeding certainly did not die. From then on we were the second group of guys in one-zies but I’d argue the fastest 😉
So anyways, the ride is called “Chillbilly” because the weather can do anything this time of year in the Sierra Foothills and Isaac’s house is in the middle of nowhere. I can say that with confidence since I also live in the middle of nowhere. I heard that last year was a downpour but this year was sunny and 55 degrees, perfect fall weather. The route took us out the back door of his house and linked up some great narrow windy paved and dirt roads for a total of about 40 miles. With 50 or so people on the ride it was a bit of a cluster trying to stay together, and the group got separated right off the bat. The group Heyride and I were in finally caught up with the main pack when the carbon rear triangle on a Bianchi removed itself from the lugs and the rider had to stop and ponder. I can’t believe he didn’t completely yard sale. Robert of Blue Collar Bikes did some quick thinking (since nobody was carrying quick-drying epoxy for some reason) and made the bike a singlespeed so that the chain tension would hold the frame together. Classic. After the ride food and beer was served beside a bonfire and I met some great people that i’ll hopefully run into again.
Sunday, we headed up to Truckee for a little ride and were greeted with bluebird skies, temps in the high 50’s, dry trails and only sparse snow up high. We didn’t get up there till the crack of noon so a 20 mile loop on the Tahoe Rim Trail and Dirty Harry’s off Martis Peak was all we could pull off. Heyride borrowed my 29+ frame and it seemed like he liked it. He was pretty much flying on the downhills railing the many bermed turns and rock dropoffs. The cornering traction, floaty feel, bigger centrifugal force, and huge fun factor just make you want to get one. It sells itself, I had nothing to do with it.
After the ride we headed to the local brewery for a pint and onto Sparks, NV for the show. I’ve been wanting and waiting to see Jello and his newest band since they formed a few years ago. One reason is that I am a huge Victim’s Family/Hellworms/Saturns Flea Collar fan and the guitarist/singer Ralph is in Jello’s band. To add to the bonus, Larry the bassist from Victims Family is also in Jello’s band this time around. Hell yes. I was too young to see the Dead Kennedy’s live in the early 80’s so this is as close as I can get to making up for that. They did not disappoint and along with playing some of their best tunes from their 2 albums, they also played 4 DK songs that just blew me away – California Uber Alles, Holiday in Cambodia, Chemical Warefare, and Natzi Punks F&*k Off. Jello never tires of trying to inspire others to work towards what they believe in and to promote social change. His energy is contagious and he never gives up, it’s not an option.
After breakfast at the Truckee Squeeze-In it was home to the ranch where we hung with the pups and Mrs. Meriwether before he had to fly back to snowy Colorado. We’ve been in California one year now and it was great to have Heyride come out and visit. Maybe it’ll become a yearly tradition, and get some other Pilots to join and make it a new adventure.