Schleppin' Wolf

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With 3 weeks until my wedding, I realized it was time to focus on getting in shape. The little red slacker devil on my left shoulder said, “All you need to do is arm and shoulder workouts since that is all that will be showing.” But, seeing the likes of Ray Ignosh and Andrew Kuklis (and their tan, fit bodies) at the velodrome in Trexlertown, PA this past Friday night motivated me to listen to the little exercise angel on my other shoulder, “Time to quit messin’ around and get serious!”

I began my fitness schedule with a ride on Sunday with my dad, sister and brother to celebrate Father’s Day. We picked a scenic route along the Jersey side of the Delaware River. We loaded our bikes into the “can” (my father’s work van) and climbed in. Somehow my little sister and I always get stuck in the back with the bikes and no seats. This “can” is a step up from the last one though. One, it isn’t white (and there isn’t any graffiti scrawled on the sides—yet.) Two, there are no unidentified materials dropping from the ceiling and three, there is a window (that opens!) in the back, so us second-class citizens can catch a breeze.

My little sister rarely rides with us so she doesn’t have tons of biking apparel like the rest of the family. I decked her out in a pink spandex jersey, a custom Bilenky cycling hat by alloneword, and some super sport glasses we found in the household/communal junk drawer. Dressed as she now was in fine Euro style, she was promptly renamed Alberto Contador.

Not five minutes into our trip, we heard sirens. My dad goes, “Oh, crap. They heard we kidnapped Contador”.

Luckily we didn’t get pulled over and forced to explain the two spandex-clad girls crouched in the back with four bikes.

On the drive there, my sister and I discussed a weekend backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail for 4th of July weekend. We decided that it could be my unofficial bachelorette party since I haven’t had one. Does that mean I get to wear an obnoxious sash and tiara?! Too bad the only other guests will be black bears, groundhogs, and chipmunks. We also came to the realization that it is the week right before the wedding. Conventional wedding magazine and wedding planner wisdom recommends that bachelorette parties be held no less than a month before the wedding—just in case the bride-to-be sprains her ankle etc. (And that is when just bars and restaurants are involved!) On the Trail, we’d have poison ivy, steep climbs, wild animals and scary humans straight out of Deliverance to worry about—at least according to the “ AT safety tips.”: How could this go wrong?

Through hikers on the Appalachian Trail typically have a nickname similar to a username or trucker callname. We thought long and hard for ours and came up with SchleppinWolf. Very fitting. And it applies to our biking style as well. We had barely biked a mile on this Father’s Day ride, when my sister’s pedal fell off her bike.

“Oh, #*@%!” says my dad. “Those were the test pedals.” Big fail.

We stopped for Thai food after 16 miles and had to haul our full stomachs the rest of the way. Uncomfortable as that was, it was not as bad as last summer’s 50 mile Bucks County cheesesteak and pierogie excursion. On that one, I could only manage intermittent single pedal strokes and then coasting on the flat as far as I could.

While climbing away from the river, I thought wistfully of the tandem my dad is making for my fiancé and I. It will be painted in old-school Phillies’ pale blue and maroon. My dad has reminded me that as stoker to Justin’s captain my forward vision will be entirely obstructed but I’ll still have great panoramic views on either side. And I’ll only have to exert a third of the pedaling force! Schlepperific!



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