Tuesday, January 6, 2009

BIKE RIDING AFTER MIDNIGHT

While in high school one summer I had a job working as a salad chef and all around kitchen helper at the Black Dog Tavern in Canton, Connecticut. The Black Dog specialized in stout steak which is made by taking a steak and marinating the steak in a bucket of Guinness Stout beer and burgundy wine. At that time, (1971) there were a chain of Black Dog Taverns across northern Connecticut. At the present time, I understand there is a Black Dog entity from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts which sells a lot of Black Dog logo merchandise such as hats, t-shirts, etc. but I don't know if they have any connection to the Connecticut restaurant chain. Currently, the Canton location is called Margaritaville and is located on Route 44.

I didn't have a car at that time so I rode the 8.1 miles each way from Simsbury, Connecticut to Canton on my 10 speed bike. The bike ride took about 40 minutes and consisted of some rolling hills and flat sections. One section of the ride took me by a meadow where several horses romped around and this meadow was at the bottom of a hill.

During my ride home from the Black Dog I would strap a small battery operated french arm light on my left arm and turn this light on when I heard a car coming in either direction so that they could see me. I preferred to ride in the after midnight darkness and rely on the moon and stars for enough light to see the road ahead. Some dark nights riding through the tree lined portions of the ride I could hardly see anything but was able to keep on the road by looking up and ahead to where the road was cut through the trees.

One memorable after midnight return bike ride I was barreling down the hill near the horse meadow when I saw something that I first thought was a horse. Riding silently, not having my arm light on and traveling around 30 miles an hour, feet locked into my toe clips,hands in racing position on my handle bars, I couldn't tell for sure. As I approached this thing in in road I saw that it wasn't a horse in the road. There was two teenage boys standing in the middle of the road about 3-4 feet apart from each other just talking to each other. Without warning them and riding too fast to stop in time and with not enough time to go around them I rode my bike right between them. I let out a yell after I passed between them something that sounded like FAAAAAAAAAAAAH and they yelled as well.