I’m walking home from the train after work the other day, and I see a shirtless guy, hanging from a tree limb, doing pull-ups, and the leaves are swishing against the ground each time he dips. He’s got the torso of a gymnast, ripped and defined. But he’s nearly bald, with a dusting of white beard on his cheeks and chin that stands out like snow against his dark skin.
He’s talking to his buddies, who stand nearby laughing.
“Yeah, I used to be able to do like fifty of them when I was younger.”
“Well, how old you now?”
He’s fucking forty. I’m forty-one. Maybe he said fifty. I hope he said fifty, for his sake, cause he looks like sixty from the neck up… Sort of like Stallone in those “Expendables” movies.
His build makes a certain kind of sense, since I’m pretty sure he just got out of jail.
It’s not the best neighborhood. But I live here because it’s cheap, and if I lived anywhere near where I work [Manhattan], I couldn’t afford to run my bikes. And the truck I use to haul them around when they need to go into the shop overnight.
But at least I can run two bikes I really like. I’m glad I don’t have to make do with the old FT500 I learned on or the VX800 I crashed…
Like the kid that was at the track last Fall on his Suzuki GS500E, a little, unfaired parallel-twin that normally serves as a first bike or economical commuter. But this kid was running what he brung, and was there to embarrass some weekend wannabes.
Out on the grid, waiting to be set loose, everyone excitedly/anxiously blipping their throttles and I look over. He’s looking at me, revving his little twin, smiling and nodding as it rattles away, revs rising and falling with glacial slowness, like a car, sounding very unimpressive.
I can hear what he’s trying to say, “Yeah, five-hundred cee cee’s of 1980’s powah… Suck it.”
He was getting murdered on the straights, but was all over much faster bikes in corners, the very definition of “it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.”
He made my day.