I’ve been feeling kind of “blah” the past couple of days and I can only assume it’s related to the parade being over. I mentioned on this blog about a month or so ago that I was gearing up to gather area cyclists to participate in the High Springs Christmas Parade in a show of support for cycling as a fun and healthy activity for the whole family. The centerpiece of my plan was the introduction of Queen Bicycle 2007 in her capacity as goodwill ambassador for all cyclists in Alachua County, and her attendant entourage.
And so, the parade came to pass on Saturday night and we actually pulled it off, but not without its share of mishaps. Part of the reason I’m feeling down is that I didn’t organize the getting-to-the-parade part of the whole deal well at all, and so lost the Gainesville Cycling Club who were going to turn out in their cycling finery, I’m sure, to help promote our cause. But I’ll never know what they wore, because they couldn’t find me, and vice-versa. As I found out later from the GCC organizer, they ended up with the High Springs BMX Club, and so paraded with them. Thank goodness they were able to participate, but it doesn’t alleviate the guilt I feel in not getting them to the right place.
We had still not found a rider for the Royal Pedicab (a bicycle rickshaw) transporting Queen Bicycle 2007 by the time of the parade start, but at the last minute our friend, Frog, took on the mantle of Royal Pedicab Driver. This was no small feat. Being a shy, retiring type, he was looking forward to just riding his low-rider chopper bike in the parade but was unable to get it to the truck in time for our departure. In despair, he was about to bail on the whole enterprise when DG stopped him and said, “Frog, you have to go to High Springs and ride the pedicab.” This is not something I’m sure Frog had counted on; like I said, he is a shy and retiring type and did not want to be thrust into the spotlight as Royal Pedicab Driver. He also did not want to really leave the city limits; I think it took him more than a couple of rich, chocolatey Ovaltines to get him into the Royal Volvo Stationwagon to drive the 20 miles to High Springs.
But he came through, God love him. And he rode the whole parade route. Even though Queen Bicycle 2007 herself is a lovely, wafer-thin creature, the pedicab was pretty darn heavy. I know, because I rode it home 3 miles from the pickup place on Friday night, with DG trailing behind me in her car to make sure I wouldn’t crash the darn thing. My upper thighs are still wailing at me. Frog came through, though, and he is a hero in my book.
As we came up the main drag, I realized that I do not like throwing candy at people. I had purchased a passal of SweeTarts, Starlight Mints, and Brachs assorted candies to give to people, not throw at people. I tried that a few times and almost put a couple of eyes out. I ended up just kind of skipping the candy like stones in front of the children screaming “Merry Christmas!” – I sussed that that was the code for “give me candy, now.” DG found the happy medium of handing the candy to individual children by the handfuls, and then when she ran low she would go to individual children at random like, “I choose you!” and give them one candy each.
We got to the parade announcer’s podium and I heard our group’s little introduction over the PA: “Alachua County in Motion was formed in 2006 to promote cycling as a fun, healthy activity for the whole family.” And, at that moment, my son and another child were performing some primitive form of bicycle jousting, using their helmets as the jousting poles.
And then it was over. We turned the corner and suddenly we were meandering back to the parade origination. We had circumnavigated the entire Main Street of High Springs, Florida, and completed our first parade as Alachua County in Motion. I hugged everyone and thanked them profusely, not the least of which was my husband, who patiently endures my crazy ideas.
I feel a little better blogging about it; I’m trying to shake off the blues, here, and writing always helps. We’ve already chosen our Queen Bicycle for next year and perhaps there will be some sort of coronation before then. As I try to snap out of this downer I find myself in, there is a glimmer of thought in perhaps putting in an application for UF’s Homecoming Parade. And maybe have a fleet of pedicabs for all the children who want to ride in the parade, to alleviate the bicycle jousting. And thank goodness the UF Homecoming Parade doesn’t allow candy throwing.
Thanks to Stacey for the great photo!