By John Wagner
I am a Randonneur and I am not going to Paris-Brest-Paris this year. Four years of preparation (a brevet series + 1200k each year) and waiting for PBP 1999, but alas, it's not to be for me. The curse of an imperfect body and years of abuse have taken it's physical toll. The demands of randonneuring have put both personal friendships and other interests on hold. On the one hand, I am truly disappointed about not making the PBP pilgrimage. On the other hand, a wide range of other opportunities now become available. I look forward to a different kind of sum- mer; a less intense summer.
I don't have to withdraw a lump sum from my savings account to pay for the trip. I don't have to renew my passport. I don't have to endure hours of discomfort cramped in a plane with no sleep, lousy air, bad food and crying babies. I don't have to disassemble my bike, box it up, reassemble it, lose a few braze-ons and seatbolts, box it up again, and reassemble it upon arriving back home. I do have to decide how to spend my PBP dividend of time and money.
I sold my racing sailboat the "Bates Motel" for lack of use and gave away my mountain climbing gear for the same reason. However, I've always been a cyclist in one form or another. From the day I first put a chain saw engine in the frame of my English 3 speed bicycle at age 15 my love for 2 wheel vehicles has led me to PBP and into BMW motorcycledom.
In July a motorcycle rally takes place on the east coast for the BMW clique. The setting is Rhinebeck, NY, close to where my family lives (requisite visit,) and home to a historic replica WWI Aerodrome. The vintage airplanes stage terrific mock dog fights on weekend air shows. This August a wonderfully inspiring 83 year old gentleman/friend and I plan to ride our mo- torcycles to the black hills of Sturgis, ND for a week long festival. With 20,000 Harley "Hog" types turning out perhaps Ralph and I will be the outlaws?
I should go visit my winter ski vacation buddy living in Colorado who has a houseboat on lake Powell and has been bugging me for years to "come-on-down." I could climb Mt. Rainier with other friends and go sailing our San Juan archipelago.
Loaded bicycle touring is my all time favorite pastime, I long to retrace past tours across Washington, out to Glacier Park, MT and through the magnifi- cent Canadian Rockies. There are the back roads of northern California. Hum... not going to PBP brings so many choices. I could end up doing nothing at all.
I look forward to hearing the adventurous tales and experiences of those returning from PBP and to share a few of my own. Take good photos and enter them in our PBP Photo Contest. The finalists will be posted to a website and we will print the winning photo in the newsletter.