Monday, June 29, 2015

The Adventures of CycloMonkey

[ Interactive Map of CycloMonkey's Travels ...or... Scroll to the bottom for links to the stories!]

Monkeys are not native to North America. They are found mostly in zoos throwing feces, in silent movies grinding organs and tagged for sale along with Smurfs, unicorns and talking Elmos. If they are lucky, they can find work inciting rallies at baseball games. Clever as the dickens, they sometimes escape their captors and pursue their individual quests. That's how I met CycloMonkey.

Of course CycloMonkey is not his real name, but he endures it. CycloMonkey is from back east and lived in some high security laboratory. The sight of the Empire State Building triggered some genetic PTSD and he had to get out. He made a daring, nighttime escape of which he doesn't want to discuss. He spent a summer accompanying a long-haul trucker named B.J. MacKay before parting ways in Winslow, Arizona. Too hot and too dry, he hopped in an open freight car and rode the rails to Bakersfield. Wishing he was still in Winslow, he immediately found a blue-haired old couple driving an AMC Eagle heading for "The Mystery Spot."

Early one morning while enjoying a banana latte, he heard the siren sound that calls all monkeys and men alike: the sewing machine symphony that is the peloton. Yes, the high cadence sound of cyclists. Not the fixies and beach cruisers so common on the coast, but carbon masterpieces with dérailleurs and other French-sounding parts. Randonneurs. Monkeys are drawn to all things yellow - bananas, men with yellow hats, the maillot jaune. And perhaps there is a genetic reason as the more advanced of our own species share this trait. But I digress. CycloMonkey sought out my vehicle after spotting my ultra-hi-viz cycling kit, attached himself with his four velcro hands to the side-view mirror and waited. After my 200km ride in Santa Cruz, that's where we met. Although we couldn't communicate with words, I could see in his opaque, plastic eyes that he wanted to follow me wherever I might be going.

The years of itinerant living must have taken a toll, for he collapsed in the back seat for several days until my son borrowed the car. Sensing mortal danger, he relocated under the passenger seat and lived there for several months. Slowly he gained confidence in himself and trust in me and began to venture around the jungle that is my garage. Finally, he decided it was time to ride. The stories of his rides will be linked below, but each time he gets more comfortable and willing to go farther. We've got some plans but it's obvious to both of us that my middle-aged lifestyle will not be enough for him.

It was one of those moments where each of us wanted to bring up the subject without hurting the other's feelings. I broke the ice. I could sense the relief. Yes, we (well, just CycloMonkey) should see other people. He's not looking for a lifelong human companion, at least not right now. He wants to go with someone who travels. And if they've got another friend who likes to travel, then he's happy to go with them ...and then someone else. And I'm fine with that.

Want to Ride with CycloMonkey?

CycloMonkey has a free and independent spirit. He longs for adventure. He belongs to the world and I am not his master. But he can't drive and doesn't have a credit card. Despite four thumbs, he can't even text. If you would like to take CycloMonkey on an adventure, please contact me. We can arrange a drop-off or send-off or a FedEx tracking number. All I ask is that you keep him safe and dry, share the adventures on Instagram (#CycloMonkey), write up the story so I can continue it here and let me know where he goes next. 

If you love something, set it free. Then blog about it.

Come back to this post for updates! be continued.

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