Saturday, November 23, 2013

Forty Years Ago I Moved To The Mountains, The First TIme.

        Done with college, finished with the BA, finished with the BS, I headed for the hills with my bicycle and my big green duffle bag, I moved to Bodfish on the Kern. This was as simple as it gets. I found a small cabin for which I bartered with work,  pruning fruit trees and repairing sheds on a small ranch on Erskine Creek.
         Soon after this migration to the shores of Lake Isabella, I walked into the office of the local weekly newspaper and offered to write a column recounting my human-powered adventures in the hills outback of reimbursement necessary. Little did I know, this name...Bodfish would attach itself and follow me around for the rest of my life.
         I developed a knack for riding my bicycle, sleeping bag attached to the backrack, beyond the end of the pavement, in every direction from Lake Isabella. These outings were always worth twenty column inches of adventure.
         I froze my phalanges in Philistine Canyon, developed butt sores just beyond Saddle Springs and soaked same in Miracle Hot Springs. The desert and Sierra all wrapped up in a single package and my bicycle would take me anywhere in one tenth the time...hiking with a pack or walking behind a mule was of no interest to me.
        Off road cycle-touring didn't seem like a big deal to me, I seldom flatted a tire and always had plenty of water. Jeepers and motorcyclists were always curious and generous, but few and far between.
        Three years later, when I settled in Chico, Ca. and staged a bicycle ride in the Upper Park of Bidwell...which I originally planned to call the Bodfish Bump, but advertised as the Bidwell Bump in my Pedal/ Pedestrian Advocate newsletter, local cyclists thought I was "off my rocker".
         We staged it in August of 1976 and the temperature "in the shade" that day was 106 degrees. A dozen fool-hearty souls participated and everyone won a prize. The sport of "Mountain Biking" was birthing all over Northern California but I maintain, this is the only fat tire event in which everyone won a prize.

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