Bike People & Boat People

The View from the Mantoloking Bridge looking north

Living along the coast is, to say the least, kinda awesome. We “shore” folk are of a different breed than you “inlanders”. But, to go one step further, there are these other people that exist around these parts that exist almost like a cult. A cult that is similar to the one us cyclists belong to. Who are these other people?

Boat people.

In Winter Yacht Basin (Part of Barnegat Bay)

Boat people, like cyclists, always seem to be going somewhere, but at the same time are really going nowhere. They/we get in/on our mode of mobility and wander out into/onto the madness for a few hours and eventually return to the P.O.B. (point of beginning). Be it a big loop, out & back, lollipop loop or casual meander, Bike people and boat people do the same thing. The only difference: The level of suffering.

We both suffer the cost of our mode of movement. While bikes can cost into the $10K neck of woods, your average water craft can wander into the $100K range. With bicycles, lighter is better as is with boats (the less mass to push through the water). With bicycles, like boats, our power is at the back. We keep our water and beverages in the middle. Our controls are right between our hands with navigation, communication and entertainment if we so choose. Boats can go pretty fast and so can bikes, the engines are just different sizes but they have to be kept healthy. Maintenance, oh yes, both must be maintained well or you’ll find yourself stranded somewhere. The only difference here is that one will just inconvenience a family member or friend and the other will cost you some money and in a worse case scenario, some face time on local TV.

A few years ago, I wrote a song called “Boat People” (copr. 2003). Look for it on the next Theodore John CD “Akoo”

Boat people, living large at the marina.
Boat people, hibachi, margarita.
Dip the toes in the water, maybe drop a hook and a line.
Boat people, they’re living the life.

I will say this however… The views are definitely different. From a boat, the world is flat, you can see for miles and the same level of energy is needed to get to you there. With a bicycle, the views change and you get a different vantage point than the boat people… at the expense of expelling a boat load of energy to do so. (see what I did there?)

That be the Atlantic Ocean over there.

Boat people like to just park it sometimes. And whether it is at the Marina or at some tucked away cove, what ends up happening is a rather interesting boat people party. Case in point is a local boat people hang-out called the “F-Cove”. What started out intending to be a waterfront development it ended up being nothing more than an “F” shaped lagoon that boat people come to party and enjoy each others company, perhaps even show off their new boat toys.

Look at the fool, floating by in his inner tube.
S.S. Little Maria is her name.
She’s got no sails, got no galley to cook.
Everything he needs is in a cooler tied to his foot.
And the dog is swimming after him, umbrella and a drink.
If Maria loses air he says, Maria she will sink.
I’m talking ’bout Boat People….

Heading into the “F-Cove”
I wonder where the big “F” is?

Sadly, the only time us cyclists get together is if there is a planned ride or cycling event where we will gather. Then we disperse and go about our ride. If we ride in a group, sadly, many groups forget they are on public roads and have a tendency to block traffic. I have always made sure my groups stay single file where other vehicles are present. I apologize for the asshats to ignore protocol and slow you drivers down with inconsiderate riding practices. We aren’t all like that.

Eventually, we both have to bring ourselves and our toys home. For the boat people, they simply return to their paid parking spot at their primary party facility (the marina) and rope it up.

Why do I always end up at places like this?

For us bicycle people… we bring it all the way home. Whacko’s like me actually keep our toys in the house. No slip fees but we do have to pay close attention to dirt, grease and grime on the carpet.

Larry…… You older folks might get it.

So boat people and bike people are nearly the same. Both have to deal with salty water, actually and the other sweat. Both have to deal with traffic. Both are pretty pooped at the end of the journey.  Sometimes people want to tag along, sometimes you go by yourself. Both name their machines and we always look forward to the next time we go out.

I want a hole in the water, that I can throw my money in.
Like those boat people, I want to fit it…..

Sail safe.