Friday, December 11, 2009

My Friend Kramer.

In the Spring of 1981 my friend Kramer and I did a ride together we will remember we will remember for the rest of our lives.
I first met Kramer at The Charles River Creative Arts Program in Dover in the Summer of 1977. He came that year as a "camper". I was teaching 4 different film classes a day and had a bicycle shop of sorts in the basement of the main building.
I remember Kramer appeared in my bike shop one morning and didn't want to leave. His love for bicycles was over the top and I could see it was exactly what he wanted to be doing that Summer.
Over the next couple of years our friendship grew to be like brothers. Kramer's Dad would drive him out from Cambridge to ride in the country and trusted me with his son to go anywhere I felt was safe. I'm sure the stories he returned home with were enough to allow our fun and friendship to continue.
Some of our first off road adventures long before "Mountain Bikes" started to appear, were spent together. Kramer's energy was endless and his love for riding was infectious. We road everywhere and in all types of weather.

I remember Spring came early in 1981. I was 28 years old and Kramer 14. I was working at The Bicycle Exchange in Harvard Square. The Bi-Ex was closed Sunday's and Monday's and I had been going off and doing overnights on the bike almost every weekend. I had a customer tell me about an American Youth Hostel in East Bridgewater that was a large church with an indoor swimming pool. It had a Pullman Sleeper Car along side for bunks for the summers large crowd of bicycle tourists.

The Hostel sounded perfect for a ride for me and my young friend. It was just far enough away to allow for a good length ride south into Rhode Island and then spend the night for cheap at the hostel.
I called ahead and found out that we would be the only travelers staying at the hostel that night and when we got to town to call. The Fellow in charge would meet us, let us in and get us set up.
Kramer arrived at my place on time. I was getting my bag attached to my bike when the bracket for the bag broke. This was a problem, because without the bracket, I was not going to be able to carry the clothing I would need when we got to our stay for the evening.
After tring to fix the bracket, I decided that instead of bringing a bag, I would just leave everything at home and travel light. I would carry just the things to fix the bike in case of a mechanical or flat tire.
The plan was to do the ride, get to the hostel, shower, call out for a Pizza and sleep in our cycling clothing. The next day, ride home.
Kramer would do anything I came up with without argument. He liked the Idea of not having to carry bags to slow us down. If I wasent going to carry one, he wasent going to carry ether. We just took off.
The weather here in New England in Early Spring can be quite nice for cycling. You can ride hard and hardly sweat, so our Idea of sleeping in our cycling clothing was going to work fine.
We got to East Bridgewater in day light and found the church/hostel. The fellow running it showed us where we going to sleep and where the shower and blankets were. He gave us the key to the church and while he was leaving said, "Don't lock your self's out!" He then left for the evening.
Although the shower was huge, we decided to take turns using it. I remember the size of the hot water tank being larger then anything I had ever seen. The water pressure was super strong and volume of water like a waterfall. You wouldn't run out of hot water even if you tryed. Perfect for the finish of a long ride.
I finished my shower and got dressed back into my cycling clothing. By that time Kramer had explored the whole church and extra buildings attached.
Kramer said, "Check This Out!" I followed him into the Congregation with his flash light in the dark. In the church with all the pews were two coffins with Mummy's. Really. Perfect to add that extra strangeness for our stay alone in this huge place.
He also showed me the pool that was dry and the door leading to the Pullman Sleeper Car.
"And, Check This Out!" He took me across the whole complex and up a flight of stairs to a huge room. When he turned on the light, I saw racks and racks of clothing on hangers that was an on going Thrift Shop the the Church had for the town. The thought seemed to cross our minds as I remember at the same moment. We would dress for dinner and go out in style.
Of course, suit and tie would only be appropriate! Polished shoes too!
Our restaurant of choice that night was a Pizza place within walking distance.
Although the food was only so so, The Company was Great! We both knew that the story would become one of our favorites to tell for years to come!

Happy Birthday Kramer!

1 comment:

  1. That is an excellent story! And I so remember and appreciate some of our adventurous rides and the fun long Saturdays working at the Bi Ex!


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