When I was single digits (seven, eight, nine…) my mom would take me out of school on a Friday in San Francisco and drive up to our country home in Volcano where we’d spend the weekend, often just the two of us.
I kept my prized Stingray bike in Volcano, where there were way more opportunities to ride it than in the City.
For hours every day, I’d tear through the deserted streets of a much quieter town (picture Volcano, population 100, in the early 60s). I loved to hit the brakes, swerve the handlebars hard, and skid to my heart’s delight on gravel shoulders and the dirt parking lot behind the Post Office. Pretty much nirvana.
One of my strong memories is flying down Consolation Street, teeth gritted tight with effort, lips parted, pedaling my one speed bike just as fast as I could. Wouldn’t you know it, but a Bumble Bee flew between my lips, hit my teeth and dropped down between teeth and lower lip.
Yup. Stung me. Hurt like nobody’s business!
I bee-lined it home to mom at The Brewery in pain and a little shock. I pointed at my swelling lip and she calmly reached in and plucked said bee out of my mouth.
Of course I remember it to this day!
Fast-forward to 2023, I’m a little larger and in need of a bit more exercise. Getting onto my eBike for the first time, I become familiar with the surge of the motor as it kicks in. A little nerve-wracking, but mostly thrilling. My son-in-law films and I amuse him with my learning-curve antics.
I’ve had this bike for a few months now and love it. I’ve named it Hal. Don’t ask me why. I don’t remember.
We patrol Volcano mostly each evening at dusk. I’ve become the old town Constable, much like Corny Barone, who would slowly cruise around town as the self-appointed village authority in his old pickup truck when I was a kid.
Constable Adam. I have deputized Hal. We thwart evil and run ne’er do wells out of town effortlessly. But mostly, I just say hi to my neighbors.
The main difference now is that I cruise around with my mouth SHUT!
Adam Gottstein is a native of San Francisco who relocated to the Sierra Foothills in the mid 90s. Traveling back and forth between the City and a village of 100 inhabitants, the Delta was always a midway attraction. He used to keep a boat on Vieira’s Resort Island north of Rio Vista. He might again someday. Now in his 60s, writing might occupy more of his time. Contact, criticism, praise or general confabulatory discourse can start here: firstname.lastname@example.org