Ghost of Tom Joad

August 24, 2006

Read these words:

Now Tom said; “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy
Wherever a hungry new born baby cries
Where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I’ll be there
Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand
Or decent job or a helpin’ hand
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free
Look in their eyes mom you’ll see me.”

Holllleeeee hell that is just gorgeous.

Them be thunderheads up yonder west.

August 20, 2006

Sat out on the porch. Watched one mother of a thunderstorm roll in outta west, over the Rockies. Sure picked up pace when it hit the foothills, rushin’ in, wind howlin’, forked lightin’, sheets a ice-cold rain poundin’ the streets empty and silver, knockin’ leaves down to grass. 

Sat out on the porch. Rain came down, drank Corona, ate beans and tortillas, listenin’ to the Ghost of Tom Joad, from when Springsteen was a young fella.

That rain sure did clean things up.

A-yup, sure did. ; )

SWOBO is back.

August 19, 2006


On Aug 15, 2006, at 2:46 PM, BABA SWOBO wrote:

Hey Kevin,

Yeah, we remember those bio-pace rings. I bet they sell for top dollar in the streets of Japan right about now. Cheers – it’s good to be back. It’s good to be real. Thanks lots for the note.We remember those early days well. You’ve hit a chord that we sometimes forget.
BABA Swobo

On Aug 12, 2006, at 1:30 PM, Kevin R wrote:

Man. So I’ve been riding bikes for a long time, as long as I can remember. When I was 12 years old LeMond won his 3rd tour, over Laurent Fignon. I had watched it on TV and was absolutely hooked on the majesty and mythology of European road racing. That was 1990.

When it was time to use the family network to score deals on bikes, my bro got a Fisher Hoo-Koo-E-Koo mountain bike, and I got a steel Miyata 512 road bike. I think it had Shimano’s bio-pace. Remember that? Those oval chainrings? They actually put it on road bikes for a year or two. Crazy. You’d pedal in these ellipses.

I rode a lot. And time passed. I worked in shops and raced and breathed and ate and lived bikes. And one day, way back then, I was in Seattle with my dad, probably at least ten years ago or so. It was really cool in Seattle. There were cyclo-cross races and a huge road scene – crits, timetrials, velo, tons of stuff. All the courier guys had dope road-bikes and never, ever stood still. They were athletes, man. Guys rode by with total style on the bike, with insane cheese-grater calves, and would jam up wicked steep roads. I saw Serrottas, Lightspeeds, and Merlins. I was in awe. It was so frickn’ cool. There was so much more bike culture there then in Calgary, Alberta, where I was from and still live today.

And so while there, in the Seattle wet, I bought these Merino wool arm warmers, Merino wool Swobo arm warmers. And they came in this super cool and clever chinese food take-out style packaging and I felt that owning them legitimized me as the real deal – a hardman, the kind that loved the Spring Classics and cyclo-cross and pave and riding in inclement weather and all the cool things about road-bikes that the Lance Zombies just don’t get. I bought mediums and wore the hell out of them every fall.

And they still fit. I just put them on cause the weather’s going to grey and threatening to shower. They’ve ground down a bit from the asphalt in places, and are a little shredded, but they still work just fine and I still feel proud in those things, years later.

Glad you guys are back. Thanks for keeping it real. Kevin in Calgary.


August 6, 2006

I walk and reminisce. I’m transported, seven years old again. I’m jumping in puddles with my brother. We are laughing and wet, saving worms to the grass, the hand of God unlikely to the task but our own small hands eager to it. Popsicle stick boats jostle each other on their way down the gutter, prevented from the sewer by the eroding damn we have pushed together from branches and leaves. There is the sound of cars zooming in the distance and the pitter-patter of the rain on the nylon hood over my head.

A booming thunderclap brings me back to the present and I turn my face to the wind and welcome its wet. Good for the farmers, the thought tugging a reluctant smile from the corner of my mouth, but brutal for the homeless, as I step over a man sprawled under the awning, his legs akimbo and soaked. Two bucks go into his cup to maybe buy him some warmth, if not dryness. The smile on my lips spreads to the other corner of my mouth as I half grimace and reflect – that guy probably was a farmer. A shake of the head and I keep walking.