APRIL 14, '98

Question: What's the best thing about being part of our group?
Answer: A ride like we had on Tuesday.

Picture the scenario: All day long, gray skies make Michiana as
gloomy as a White Sox clubhouse in late August. But God is a
pedal-cranker, I'm convinced, because no sooner did the late
afternoon come 'round that the overcast conditions gave way to
pure early-spring Michigan sunshine.

Hearty daffodils and violets are making their spring debuts.
Eight hearty BBC members made a debut of their own on this
evening's ride. The turnout was the best of the year.

Scott Thayer, our president, and Richie Forrester, our sergeant-
at-arms. Parliamentarian Mark Samuel. The rest? Ron Johnson, Jack
Stenger, Eric States, Scott Leben and Doug Fattick. Spirits were
high, folks, let me tell you. It was biking season and everyone
knew it.

From the ad building parking lot all the way out to Five Corners
the crew kept up a social double pace line. Spring is special in
this part of the world, if only because the landscape is way-dead
for much of the year. Yeah, it was a little cool when we started
(this is April/this is Michigan), but the steady pace could've
warmed up even the most anemic among us. (Those who are waiting
for "nice weather" needn't wait any longer -- it's here.)

At Five Corners, the double pace line became a single pace line.
The tempo was quickening. By Shawnee, there was some breakage;
Singer Lake further damaged the happy unity that had been enjoyed
before. At the Hinchman Bend, President Thayer and Sergeant-at-
Arms Forrester made a convincing statement via crankshafts: "Eat
our Dura-Ace dust." He and Rich made us all hurt and it was a
pain that did not stop until the ad building parking lot was in
plain view.

Maybe Mark's question -- posed through gritted teeth while
climbing the cursed Hinchman incline -- was emblematic of the
(good) pain we all felt: "I didn't know you could hear your heart
squeak..." Mine was crying.

But in biking, as in life, struggle gives way to accomplishment
and (in the BBC's case) congenial post-ride fellowship. We all
made it back in good form and decent time. It all went so well,
that it was felt that some awards were in order.

Swartzenneger "I Must Break You Award": President
Thayer/Sergeant-at-Arms Forrester.

Biggest Surge from Last Year: Mark Samuel. What's he putting in
his Wheaties?

Hearty Welcome Award: Eric States. Great to have him out and we
hope to see him every time. Become a BBC member: You get to learn
the secret handshake and -- special limited offer -- a free copy
of "The Quoteable Mark Samuel: Biker Lingo Dictionary."

Evening's Best One-Liner: Ron Johnson. When asked as to the most
painful part of the trip he quipped: "You mean there was supposed
to be one particular spot?"

AWOL Award: Jason Lange. While we were passing the Village
Hardware in downtown Berrien Springs, who should we see out in
front sweeping but "Meester Big" himself! Real men don't wear
brooms, dude!

The whole ride was fun and we hope to see even more folk out
there on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. This is the time of year for all
of us to get back into shape. Don't miss this train folks, it's
picking up steam.

Until Thursday, I remain,

Jack Stenger
BBC Chief Propagandist
P.S. All along Hinchman I noticed the springtime flora and fauna that makes this time of the year the best. Also I spied a graveyard, a horse farm, a caged dog, apple orchards and the quaint village of Hinchman where the faithful gather at the country Methodist church. All these things I noticed -- and something else: there was no trash anywhere along the whole road. Is this a great county or what?

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