I've applied for over thirty jobs, and done yonks of chores around the house. When we were volunteering at the Event last weekend, Don Sprague mentioned to The Excellent Wife (TEW) that I ought to come out on the Old Guys rides again, the ones that Dennis Whitney and Al Porter lead on Mondays and Fridays our of Etra, and Wednesdays from Byron Johnson Park in Allentown.
For a while when I was working, I was off every other Wednesday, and I'd ride with those guys. At the time, Erich Woisetschlaeger was alive, and he'd lead a ride-to-the-ride from Etra down to the Byron Johnson Park, a distance of about ten miles; after the regular ride, the folks who had gone with him would (usually) ride back up to Etra together. Erich was a peaceful, humble person with a great sense of humor (often at himself). I miss him, and there are ways I wish I were more like him.
With this in mind, I got to Etra early. I didn't know if anyone would be there, and I was so early I decided not to wait, and rode down to Allentown myself. At the corner of Sharon and Gordon, there was construction just starting, but I was able to get through.
I got to Byron Johnson park about a half-hour early for the 8:30 start. Few of the riders knew of my job loss, and as they heard about it, the guys I knew were supportive and friendly (after all, I'm not the first person who's ridden with them regularly while job-searching).
Dennis asked me to sweep for this large (22? 23?) group (I bet it was partly so I could feel useful; these guys are remarkably perceptive). With that many, I just hung out in the back and kept track of the few who got behind me, rather than keeping count of everybody.
We went down to Pemberton.
(after that, something dodgy happened to the camera and none of the other pics came out, although it seems to be working now). This group has a range of abilities; some were way off the front, and others were struggling to hang on the back. I made sure we didn't lose anybody, and met a couple of guys I didn't know.
At the Wawa in Pemberton, I held forth about steering tubes and stems, and I hope I didn't put anybody off too much. Then, on the way back, I heard a BANG and found that life-member Mark had a flat; we were close enough to the park, and it was late enough, that the rest of the ride went on, while I stayed back (and stayed out of his way; he did fine) while he changed the tube.
I got back to Byron Johnson Park with Mark, and got invited to ride with the guys again on Friday. And I probably will.
Then back to Etra, alone again. When I got to the construction at Sharon & Gordon, the road appeared blocked... but there was a grassy lot on the corner, and I just rode across it to do the turn. On the rest of the way, I remembered Erich, and thought about which of my sins I'm sorry for, and which ones I'd like to revisit for further consideration and maybe reframing.
This ride page includes my solo rides to and from Allentown, and the ride with the group.