Ride ‘n Dine

Last Saturday, I was suffering from a toothache and some other perhaps related discomforts, so Sally and I agreed to do an “easy” ride, followed by lunch.

Said easy ride consisted of a gentle two or three mile warm up, and then a seriously steep ascent of the trail we call Joint Point South. The ascent was complicated by waist-high weeds that all but obscured the trail and wrapped themselves around the drive train at every opportunity. At the top of the climb, I noticed that I could feel the throb of my heartbeat in the tooth and the harder I pedaled, the faster and harder my heart beat. So, we again resolved to take the easiest route to the top of the Crafton Hills fire trail. That lasted for about a quarter of a mile until another super fun trail that went straight up the ridge beckoned.

Riding relatively flat tracks on an e-bike is cool because one can go so fast (up to 20 mph). But, climbing a trail that’s so steep it takes everything you have in your skill set just to keep both wheels on the ground while you’re pedaling as hard as your lungs can process air into oxygen, leaning over the bars to keep the front wheel from coming up and weighting the rear wheel to keep from spinning out, now that’s real fun!

Our favorite lunch stop du jour is a little, strip mall restaurant called Bella Italia. It used to have a couple of tables outside so we envisioned eating with one hand and holding on to our bikes with the other. E-bike theft is so rampant that simply keeping one in sight isn’t adequate insurance against theft. We found that since the terror of Covid has mellowed, they had moved the tables inside and when we asked if we could either bring the bikes inside or move a table outside we were denied. The waiter (the son of the owner) volunteered to “watch” our bikes and acted like I was unreasonable to decline his offer. Later, when he delivered our food outside, he said he had looked up our bikes online and now understood my intractability.

I was prepared to forfeit the luscious eggplant Parmesan and go to El Pollo Loco across the street, but Sally had her heart set on Italian. So, we wrapped the bags of our carry-out food around our hand grips and pedaled a few blocks to a quiet street where we could sit on a large boulder to enjoy our lunch. We split the eggplant Parmesan sandwich and cream of broccoli soup. Then I divided the generous serving of tiramisu and handed the container to Sally. It slipped from her hand and mine and went splat on the rock between us. We reasoned that what with all the rain we had had in the last few weeks, any residual dog pee that may have been on the rock, had long since been washed away, and scraped it back into the container. I think Sally even licked the rock when I wasn’t looking. Seriously, the tiramisu from Bella Italia is THAT good.