Patching the Lane
(“taking a holistic approach to organization and progress…”)
A much loved set of stories that flavored my childhood imagination was the Golden Book series…. as the youngest, smallest kid in a very large family in the early 50s, I was fond of the mermaids, elves and fairies in these tales and they carried their influence WAY beyond my youth. My favorite story was The Cannery Bear by Ray St. Clair … about a Grizzly bear who lives in a seaside town. He is always hungry and so much loves canned salmon he steals it from the houses and shops in the local village, often getting into trouble.
“….So he gave this up. He got a job in the local salmon cannery where they needed help so badly they’d hire anyone, human or not.”
And of course, he rides a bicycle to work.
As might be expected, being a bear, he finds cannery work difficult….he wears his shoes backwards, his overalls feel tight and uncomfortable, has a hard time keeping up with the other workers, and the foreman has trouble understanding him when he talks. Fortunately, he has a fairy godmother (a tiny pink “Fairy Bear”, with little wings and a magic wand, even) who watches over and tries to help keep him out of trouble.
I didn’t really start riding a bicycle half-seriously until my mid-30s. But it’s fitting that as a gal who now loves to ride her bike as much she loves to eat, I have stumbled on the perfect bicycle club for me in my “middle years.” One with its mascot and namesake a road named after a Grizzly Bear, and as its motto “Ride to Eat, Eat to Ride.” Possibly even more fitting that I’ve found myself with a “job” in the GPC Cannery, so to speak. And How — MamaBear! Madame La Prez!
As our 2014 Grizzly Peak Century approaches, Spring in the air and Green in the hills, I’m resuming my “longer/hillier” commute now when I can, to get my weekly base miles in for weekend fun and centuries of all stripes. “Coach” got us a new book recently, Tom Danielson’s Core Advantage (subtitled “Core Strength for Cycling’s Winning Edge”), and we’ve switched out Pilates with our morning “Tommy D’s”…..the main difference is concentrating on one group of muscles for a few months, then switching out to a different set… keep it moving, change it up, keep it rolling, keep it dynamic.
Even with this motivating change, the last few months this MamaBear has been feeling all raggedy (uh, yeah, you might have noticed?). Sometimes I growl. Topics and proposals brought up in the name of improvement and framed as “giving back” altruistically, often strike me as whacky or oddly self-serving (yet knowing the players, I believe are quite sincere). Volunteer means “volunteer”, dangnabit! Most of the existing guidelines are well crafted and carefully thought out. Room for some tweaking here and there, but impressively coherent – considering we’re just a bunch of folks who love bicycles! Don’t throw baby out with the bathwater, seems to me – so I hold fast, try to take a conservative line….then take a running jump for that slide down the hill and hang on tight for the wild ride.
The thing is, I love this club… still, Bumpy road and hidden traps encountered at every turn. Obvious solutions (to me, at least) morph into pretzel logic. The woods are wild with surprise and mischief. We love our bikes, and even more, it seems, we love our opinions! Oh heck, yeah!
At the March meeting, struck a major pothole. Sure, MamaBear had noticed a few empty chairs in the Den at every gathering of the clan, but had been so busy apart from the meetings, either riding her own bicycle or putting out the latest fire, she lost sight that there’s actually a rule about all this… until it was brought up at the March meeting that about HALF of the Elder Bears have been absent as much or more than they have attended. So MamaBear was called on to deal with it… and has now spent some time swatting a kindly but firm backhand up across those furry coats, also attempting to soothe and smooth them down again. Because of how the By-Laws read, there MAY still be some shaking up and turnover in the Den… but this MamaBear values stability and good will as much as Rules… so time will tell. It’s a democracy, this Den.
It’s a bicycle club, after all, so what does attending meetings matter if folks are out leading rides, participating in rides? Well, as an organization, we also take the commitment to show up at meetings seriously, at least for those members the club has selected as Board members. It’s part and parcel of the responsibility we accept when agreeing to serve on the Board. 11 meetings a year, always the 2nd Wednesday, so no surprises. Doesn’t sound like an overly onerous commitment….. and yet, it appears to have become unduly burdensome for some….
Realistically, we all get sick, we travel out of town/country (sometimes for work; sometimes for pleasure, often with our bicycles!), we have family emergencies, we get injured, we have classes which are necessary or at least useful for our professional development in our careers. The list goes on, and most of it reasonable.
Maybe you’re interested in how things are decided….in the childrens’ tale, the Fairy Bear bestows the Cannery Bear with wings and radar so he can help the fishing fleet find more fish… everyone is happy and the village prospers…even better, the Cannery Bear gets to eat all the fish he wants!
I might be able to wave my magic wand, but I don’t have a glass ball to predict the future…so I don’t know how our story will end. Please consider coming to the April meeting at the Noble-Aldrich’s Den (see the meeting location on page _ of this month’s WT). We’ll have fantastic Grizzly food (pot-luck style), a heck of a program (Nikki and Greg presenting a show about their recent cycling adventures in New Zealand), followed by business, and hardly business-as-usual. Speaking of “pot-luck”, I’m counting on a fun and happy “Teddy Bears Picnic” on May 4th AND for the rest of the year, no matter what, rain or shine!!
Ride in Joy, Ride in Peace.
Ride to Eat, Eat to Ride.
Sherie Reineman, Madame La Prez
“MamaBear” (aka, “The Cannery Bear”… or is it the Fairy Godmother Bear???)