That ubiquitous misquote from Shakespeare's play Henry IV – it's actually "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown..." – seemed like the perfect way to introduce this more permanent post of another poem I'd used to preface the emailed ride notice for one of our local recumbent group's field trips in May 2009. One of the running jokes in our group is the cutthroat competition among a few of our female folk to be its Prima Donna. One of my very favorite femme fatales, Barb, is very much one of the contenders in this catfight, which is of course largely imaginary – with the possible exception of Christy...

Another ongoing attempt at humor plays on the fact that for almost five years now, ever since John and I began our benevolent regime as the junta of this group, it's pretty much been left up to me to decide where and when almost all of our rides start and which route we'll take, and then to spend a bit of time and energy on most rides making sure that as few folks are lost along the way as is practical. Before that it was more or less chaos, with whoever showed up trying to get some input and reach some level of last-minute consensus, which was then communicated poorly if at all to the rest of the troop, as cyclists proceeded to charge off in different directions at radically different rates of speed. Of course, some guys only came to the rides so that they would have something to bitch about all next week.

Before each ride down through the years, I have usually asked a few other people for suggestions for each of our rides, or for affirmations and/or – to use the more touchy-feely term – validations of mine, but their responses are typically tepid at best. I'm honestly not sure if I've been doing an acceptably mediocre job of bringing a bit better organization to our rides, or if it's just that nobody else hates it quite badly enough to step up and 'bell the cat' himself. Anyway, lately, for whatever reason, I'm not exactly feeling supremely confident that what I'm doing is what most folks really want, and I've been trying hard to get other folks to take turns in selecting a ride venue and route, becoming the de facto dictator du jour. That seems to be coming around, very slowly, and we've also acquired a new running joke: that I might feel threatened by or jealous of whoever actually does volunteer to host one of our group rides. This poem plays on those themes, as it introduced a ride set up by lovely (if occasionally a little late), mild-mannered and disarmingly charming Barb, starting from her home in Simi Valley:

Please, if you can, come out and play,
Two days from now, on SATURDAY
At half past nine (and I can state
With confidence: Barb won't be late!)

The Prima Donna of our group
Has asked us all to ride a loop
That starts where she and Bob reside,
From Simi up a mountainside...
(Or maybe it's more like a hill
Just tall enough to give a thrill
To those who live to ride down slopes.)
You'll love this route – at least one hopes!

But if you don't, don't take my name
In vain, because the babe to blame
This Saturday is Mrs. Bob;
She's taking over my old job.
Now I'm not jealous, not a bit,
Not pouting, folks, not in a snit
That I've been brusquely swept aside
For this Almost Impromptu Ride...

But still... I feel compelled to note,
Reviewing that last line I wrote,
The acronym for that is AIR,
And I believe it's only fair
To point this out: Since Barb's in charge –
Big Mama, Goddess, living large –
Her ego being stroked and fed,
She's earned this title, folks: AIR Head!

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Last updated 3.6.2009