There’s a point in the book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by that most dapper gent, Tom Wolfe, which demonstrates a particular theory of group consciousness. Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, having just attended a concert by the Beatles, returned to their little ranch-ette/compound, and posted a sign, painted on a bedsheet, on their roof. The sign read “Welcome Beatles!” In their LSD-induced logic, Kesey and his followers believed that, by hoping, wishing and praying, the Fab Four would just drop by after their concert to party with the Pranksters. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
I am reminded of this story (having read the book as an assignment in my sophomore year of high school, some untold decades ago) from some post-mortem discussions of The Event – the Dapper Dan Dash / Shannon Tweed Ride. You see, there were some who believed that, if we post a few cryptic messages on Craig’s List, print up some rudimentary hand-bills, send out some pleas to the local Austin bike blogs, and do some underground word-of-mouth advertising, that Sir Lance-a-lot himself might show up to our little soiree. Well, it didn’t happen. After all, we weren’t sponsored by Radio Shack. OR Tandy Leather Corp. (Am I wrong, or weren’t these two somehow connected to each other in the wayyyyy distant past?)
Despite Mr. Armstrong’s obvious absence, I think we had a good experience, for the most part. While we did not take an official census, we believe somewhere in the neighbourhood of sixty to eighty folks showed up, rockin’ in tweed, various other woolens, caps, bowlers, top hats, goggles, just an assortment of stuff. Sure, we were in the midst of a record-breaking cold front, but the temperature at ride-time was a balmy mid-40s.
Speaking of ride-time, my own timepiece had lost its horological innards, replaced by a tube patch kit, and I was without means of keeping good time.
pocket watch - patch kit
We therefore departed at a fashionably late hour.
Unfortunately, our pace was a bit swift to my liking, and we ended up dropping various folks along the way. We went astray of our published route, opting for a stop at a different pub than one on which we had originally planned. While the atmosphere at this alternate establishment was certainly befitting of our theme, the “upland route” we took to get there was, ummm, a bit rough in some spots. What was really amazing was that Jason and his awesome bike stereo survived the route. Jason, you really went above and beyond. You must have consulted some ethnomusicologist from the University of Texas in order to come up with that playlist. Period ragtime, Depression-era hits, Al Johlson, Karlheinz Stockhausen for the steampunks, a smattering of Zappa thrown in, this guy had it all. Pardon, but I believe the phrase is “dude, you rocked.”
I guess I should have been prepared for anything after I saw my son, your co-host having just arrived from his previous ride. I was wondering just what he was doing with that wine-bottle cork, burning the end of it and rubbing it on his face. Then he explained it all to me – he was made up as an open-cockpit RAF pilot.
Our thanks to all for coming out. Apologies to all who had a less-than-smashing time. All errors in judgment/planning of this event were strictly those of the author. The Peddler Bike Shop and its staff should be held completely blameless of any shortcomings.