Friday, June 20, 2014

Goths on Wheels

“Right, let’s ride!” And with that he pulled out of his bag (and mounted to the front of his bike) a small stereo speaker, which was, of course, connected to his phone. Oh this modern age. And from that speaker road forth some high-quality goth music: wafting melodies along the lines of New Order, Joy Division, Gogo Bordello, with a little weird thrown in, like silly showtunes for no readily apparent reason. It was pleasing. I swallowed my fear, and drove my bike off the curb, into the bike lane, and onto the street with all the angry traffic rushing around me.

We took a path that cut through the heart of the city, sticking to streets crowded with cars and traffic, many of whom have a real hate for bikers. It seemed dangerous and reckless, while being at the same time perfectly safe. Just knowing that there were cars on either side of me, while I rode down the center of streets made the fear somewhat more present, while at the same time filling the moment with adrenaline.

To help with the fear I stayed close to the front of the pack, trailing the other member of the ride behind me. In my leather jacket, short black skirt, and stockings, I felt rather like a goth on wheels. The wind in my hair, the fetid exhaust smoke, the freezing cold wind in my face, the push toward the top of the city from the center; it filled the entire trek with a sense of wonder, a sensation of being so alive. Face flush, hands shaking, my entire body warm with peddling and moving. Even though this was my third workout for the day, there was little fatigue, only a sense of powerful motivation to move, to keep up with the leader, cutting through intersections in a slightly devil-may-care way, peddling along with the music, moving and smiling and taking in the entire city as we wound our way to dinner.

When we finally reached out destination I felt resplendent, wound up, worked up, oversexed even, and I just wanted to keep going, and going, and going again. It was lovely.

For the next dinner, I rode again; sadly no one joined me. Most recently it was another troupe of three, with our leader back from Australia, and me (again) dressed every bit as goth and feeling, every bit as goth on wheels. Divvy proved to be more quarrelsome on this ride, but the bikers were patient in their waiting, and we ended up on Michigan avenue before I could get a bike. Being so close, we decided to take the lake path, rather than cutting up through the heart of the city, and just as before, the wind was cool, the city covered partially in clouds and fog as we rode. The light, the textures of the city, the sounds and the smells inspired much picture taking from the three of us, annoying the fuck out the hardcore 50 mph bikers commuting down LSD, and getting dirty looks from not a small number of runners as we rode by, Depeche Mode blaring from the speakers and all our gothness fluttering in the wind.

Just as before I finished flushed and satisfied, and worked up to a certain extent. Even with the Divvy frustration it was wonderful and worth it. Now, I find sometimes that it haunts my dreams, and I wake up to the feeling of wind in my hair and the swirl of Chicago behind my mind’s eye. It’s a dream, beautiful, hard to wake from, making life hear just that more livable for the moments that I stay.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Overcome Fear with Groups

In my quest to make friends in Chicago, I continue to go out and do things. Sometimes this results in me meeting new people, and on at least one occasion I’ve managed a new friend. I try not to get bogged down on the glacial speed it seems to take to meet anyone or make significant new connections. I keep doing it though. I have worked to not allow myself to become disengaged because of the lack of engagement from others.

As the weather has defrosted a touch, but not really, I figured riding a bike would be a nice way to meet people. Actually, I discovered the Sex on Wheels group, and it seemed like we might have something in common. The group rode on a somewhat regular schedule, so I decided to join up for the next one happening on a night that would theoretically be warm enough for me to ride and not have an asthma attack. The goal was to ride around five miles from downtown, then uptown toward my regular somewhat weekly dinner with the kinky folks, with my love picking me up after for the drive home.

The issue, then, of course, became one of having a bike. That problem was partially taken care of by the city of Chicago, which offers the Divvy bike service. However, the Divvy bike presented its own special sort of challenge. The bikes generally were only used for thirty-minute rides, and anything over thirty minutes would cost a bit extra. There was also the challenge (sometimes) of getting a bike as popular locations tended to run short of bikes sometimes. However, the overcharge fee was relatively low, the bike ride was only around 4.5 miles all together, and it would be a chance to meet new people.

Of course, the breezy May afternoon on which I was slated to take my first ride was frigid. I had a jacket and gloves, but it was still barely above fifty, and close enough to forty that I was mildly concerned that my asthma my try to reassert its authority. All things being equal though, I figured I would live through it, so I got to the site early, found a spot near the Divvy bikes to sit and wait for the rest of the gang, and did just that.

Within a few minutes a handsome gentleman dressed all in black, with black hair, black fingernails, a black topcoat, on a black bike, pulled up.

“Are you here for the ride?” he asked.

“Indeed, I am.”

“Lovely. Where is your bike?”

I explained my situation, which he smileed politely about, and we exchanged a minor amount of pleasantries, mostly about Australia, as he was headed in that direction soon, and I had been before (still a little upset about the lack of midget tossing). We waited for the final member of the troupe that planned to arrive and I grabbed a bike off the rack before the ride was scheduled to begin.

“I am absolutely terrified,” I said out loud, more to myself than anyone else.

“Really, why?”

“No idea. Never ridden on the streets in Chicago before.”

“Are you going to be okay?”

“I’m fairly sure. I find when something scares me I like to do it in groups.”

“Really. Does that work?”

“Got me over my fear of sex,” I smiled back.

“You were afraid of sex?”

“Not anymore.”

“Because of groups?”

I just smiled.

Our troupe’s dear leader smiled back.