Sunday, May 3, 2015

happy birthday to me

Good heavens; my 60th birthday is imminent. It certainly makes little difference in any grand scheme of things, but I thought it was worthy of note for myself and a few friends. I've spoken to a number of cyclists who suggest you "ride your age in miles" for your birthday, an it sounded like a great idea... but I also have a number of friends who are not cyclists, and wanted to do something with them.

The Excellent Wife (TEW) and I came up with the idea of a ride and post-ride party. I decided not to do my age in miles because of time and exhaustion (I didn't want to be fallin' asleep as I was supposed to blow out candles), and because, as a bicycle navigator, describing myself as an amateur it too generous; I'm no good at it. I opted for a somewhat shorter ride.

TEW and I wish we were better at parties. We think we host reasonably well, but the preparations, and our expectations, loom large, and we don't do as many events as we would like. We've been working on this for months, and about a quarter of the energy we put into it came out as worry about who to invite, whether they would get along, would everybody just leave early, how much food is enough, what food is right, who eats what, how many chairs do we have, and other problems, some of which are probably sillier than the ones I've listed.

As for a route, I started months ago; my first tentative plans, I see, are from last August. I didn't settle on a route until December, and even then, I was tweaking it last week. I'm sure I overthink this stuff... but I'm so impressed by leaders who can fix their routes on the fly; I wanted to be sure I got this right.

We invited just under a dozen to ride, and many more to the party. As responses came in, some riders couldn't come; others agreed, and later could not; there were a couple to whom I mentioned the party and then forgot to follow up (please accept my apologies). I wound up with five. Parking at my condo is tough, so I had 'em park on the next street. Dave came in with his bike poking up out of the back of his new MG like a second roll bar:

(He got a great price on that car, and has apparently been having a great time restoring it.)

Laura OLPH and Ron also came in.

Snakehead Ed had decided to ride in, and picked a route that minimized his riding on the main roads that surround my condo (between Route 1 & 27, on heavily-traveled Finnegans Lane), but lost the route, and wound up having to ride on Route 1 for a bit; he rolled in (I didn't get a picture) and we took off, to do this ride.

Coming up Coppermine:

At the top of Coppermine:

We stopped at the bagel place that Snakehead refers to as "Princeton Airport Bagels", just below where 518 crosses 206. As the last time we were there, the owner keeps telling us he's got to get his bike out... but I doubt he will!

We took a long stop (I'd planned on it), and did the rest of the ride, some on roads that Laure either didn't recognize, or had only done another part, or had only ridden the other way. Despite a flat, we got back in time for Ron to get to work, and went in to the party... where guests had already begun to arrive: two friends of mine from high school, with whom I had lost contact for decades and only reconnected with about a decade ago when the invite to my 30th reunion went out (I had no desire to go to the reunion, but I was glad to get back in touch with Mark and Chris, below):

Donna, who grew up near TEW:

TEW had decided that my job would be to manage the grill. I was out in the back; here's Winter Larry, Laura, and my friend Al F, who's been turning me on to the composer Hummel.

Al's wife Rose, Terry C, Professor Jack (Laura OLPH's husband), and Snakehead's wife Cathy. Terry, Jack, and Cathy (and Ed, too, come to think of it) entertained us with guitars late in the proceedings.

Dale and Dave:

Sean, in the Cannondale shirt. Sean and I were discussing his latest bike project .

Dave has decided there needs to be more pictures of me in this blog, so he got hold of my camera...

...and got a few selfies in the mix:

Dave's another guy who'd be a lot of fun if he'd just loosen up a little bit.


I love the black "60"candles.

Managing the cake:

This is kind of how I remember TEW at the party; she was, I assure you, the reason it was as successful as it was. She was a blur of activity.

(That's Mayor Mack W and his wife, Carol, on the left, and Donna's husband Henry behind TEW.)

Cutting the cake:

TEW  correcting my mistakes:

Parties don't come naturally to TEW and me; we're tired (and a bit disoriented) this morning as I'm writing this. But it came off well; we know wonderful people, and they get along with each other well. I, for one, was surprised to see some of the people who were talking together.

I'm glad we did this; some of it goes back to my thoughts on bikes and friends. We should get together more often. Perhaps we should not make such a production of it (and perhaps we would do it more often if we did not). We have a friend, Taylor, from whom we've learned that the important  thing is to get people together. We need to remember that, and to do it. We hope you will, too. Remember us if you do!


  1. Jim and TEW,

    We thoroughly enjoyed the party. The fun and relaxed vibe made for easy conversation with old and new friends. Here is to more gatherings!

    Enjoy the rest of your birthday month, Jim!

    Sean & Dale

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Great party, nice blend of people, and NO KIDS!!

    Al and Rose