The back-up Trek is a bomber, a heavy, lumbering thing with balloonish tires that meander down the road like a float in the Macy’s day parade. Riding it, I feel like a giant, inflatable cartoon character, loosely tied to my vehicle by ephemeral strings and bamboo poles. I can practically see the clown cars passing beneath me.
But all those absorbent qualities also suck up road imperfections and noise. It’s a smooooth ride, blissfully silent save for the almost reverent whirring of the gears. The silence is especially impressive in the dark of the early morning, when sounds are so close that my breath drowns out everything else. In the damp dark, with my lights trained ahead, I almost feel like an invader, a kid cutting through a fresh field of black snow. But I don’t leave a trail. The dark swallows up any trace of me.
In the course of my ride the day starts, headlights retreat to pinpoints and the surroundings emerge. Other people emerge too, converging on the path and bringing edges of reality with them. Their tribes are evident on the path, the fixie tribe, the blinky people, the students, the athletes, the greasers, the soces. I float by them, pulled by my invisible clown car, on my way for the bus and the bridge and the highway and the office to swallow me up and deposit me into my worker tribe.
The clown car will have to wait outside.