I was out the last two nights on the mountain bike in absolutely beautiful, starlit conditions riding the trails with my new Cree light. Amazing technology for a very low price. But, as I rode along the trails and daydreamed a little bit, I thought about the seasons of my life as the 58 year old kid. I was a bachelor until just about 34 years old, then I was engaged, married to a great gal, became a new father and currently just celebrated 25 years with the bride and 18 years with our son Jack. One of the interesting seasons was when I was first married and Janet still was a flight attendant for USAirways. Jan had to get used to living with the bachelor. For instance, when she spotted my toilet in the bathroom in my townhouse, she wondered what the hanger was sticking out of from under the lid. I said that it was to shim up the float device so that it wouldn’t leak. I said all she had to do was remove the hanger, do her business, and then replace the shimming device. She said,” This isn’t going to fly Mr. Bachelor.” We laughed and I had to figure out how to replace the device with a new device. I became an expert at toilet repair.
When Jan would go out on a trip, I was basically back to my old ways in riding after work and coming home after eating with the boys. My neighbors called me the married bachelor and laughed at my life having it both ways. Night mountain bike riding was a staple and I had several crews. The one group liked urban rides in the city parks of Pittsburgh with an intermediate stop at the Penn Brewery. After a couple of nice micro brews, we ventured to some more parks and over some rather harrowing railroad bridges. The lights are great but sometimes you couldn’t spot the holes in the boards that were the catwalk alongside the tracks. If you were not careful, the front wheel could nosedive and the ultimate over the bars onto the wooded walk was the result. Also, the final uphill at 180 BPM on the heart rate monitor with the beers in you was a little unnerving. But these guys were fun and by the time I came home, I had a good workout, some good comraderie, and my neighbors who were still up marveled at my life.
The other night riding crew was a more non-traditional crew to say the least. Mountain bikers tend to be free spirits and I ended up out in the woods in the eastern part of town later at night than I usually intended. This crew was fun, good riders, but stopped often to light up a few fatties and sit and look at the moon. Being a non-partaker, I liked the company and the ride, but was anxious to get rolling( not the fattie) and get back to my car and back to my house before it became insanely late. Again, the neighbors would laugh as I returned even late at night because from out of their window or out for a late night stroll, they lived vicariously through me as the married bachelor. ” What would Jan say if she knew you were out mountain bike riding at night, on railroad tracks,in city parks or suburban parks, drinking beer and carousing until now?” I laughed and said, ” she knows I ride. She just doesn’t know all the details.”
The Married Bachelor also went on ski trips when the bride was working. We had no children at the time and if she was working, sometimes I would get a wild hair and use my airline pass and book a flight to see some of my skiing buddies. I would run into some of her flight attendant friends who would ask where Janet was and I said…..”working.” They would laugh and say “nice life you have because of her labor, McCloskey.” I said,” Marry me, fly for free.” Only sometimes I took it to the extreme. But all in all, the neighbors would see me packing my ski bag and just shake their head and say, “what are you going to do when you have kids?” I said, ” I will cross that road when I come to it” and headed to the airport. Lots of powder, groomed trails, and fun with the ski buddies.
I was always dilligent in keeping in touch with my flying bride and oftentimes it was from somewhere out on a trail or in some watering hole with the dirtheads. But the transition from bachelor to married life was a little easier than most guys have it. Looking back, poor Jan had it worse than me. Gone during the week and coming back to a leaking toilet, or surprises in the basement because of the hole in the foundation that allowed visitors into the basement unattended. In my usual bachelor ways, I promised my bride that I would have that fixed and while she was away, I got an old 8 track tape box and jammed it up against the hole with some cement blocks behind it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t much to the dismay of the bride doing wash in the basement and being greeted by either a living species or a dead one in a trap. She was a trooper and the married bachelor slowly came around to being a respectable human being.
When Jack came along, things changed a bit. Jan was no longer flying and my riding was confined to the butt crack of dawn during the week before work and on the weekends. The skiing was altered in the same manner but married life was wonderful especially with the new boy in the house. Lots of adventures since then that included skiing, riding, baseball, basketball, and now the boy is 18 and off to college next year. We all wonder what happened to the time and as we look back at the seasons of our life, Janet and I have a lot of laughs about the married bachelor days and the transition to fatherhood and settling in with the bride. I am so glad I did it. I had a lot of fun in the single days but nothing compares to being married with a son. Now the rides are in the evenings again because the time constraints have eased a bit. As I make my way through the leaves and the cooler weather on the trails, I enjoy them with friends, or by myself, or better yet………with the bride who saved the married bachelor. Thanks for reading and …………..think snow!!!