This poem's not a sonnet;
      Please, critics, don't pounce on it;
It's just a little ditty 'bout the Doo Dah Parade.
      It's held in Pasadena;
      My wife (the ballerina?)
Says ridin' feels like dancin' at the Doo Dah Parade.
      As we'd loop and twirl, ev'ry boy and girl
      On a bike or trike was smilin'.
We swerved and we veered as the spectators cheered.
      I know it might seem silly:
      Recumbents willy-nilly,
But it's a thrill adancin' at the Doo Dah Parade.

      It's held in late November,
      And we'll always remember
The fun we had while dancin' at the Doo Dah Parade.
      We sported fake tuxedos,
      And signs proclaiming credos
More rowdy than religious at the Doo Dah Parade.
      In the downtown park, the creative spark
      Seems to some a bit perverted,
But it's mostly clean fun in the bright mornin' sun.
      That sun ashinin' o'er us
      Made plastic black fedoras
Turn into small scalp saunas at the Doo Dah Parade.

      We rode down Raymond, movin'
      Southbound, as we were groovin'
To music by two loud bands – twangin' Doo Dah Parade.
      We boogied with bravado
      Right down to Colorado,
Turned right and kept on dancin' at the Doo Dah Parade.
      On the Boulevard we were laughing hard;
      We were lucky no one hit us.
I could hear my wife squeal as she lifted a wheel –
      A gigglin' ballerina;
      Those folks in Pasadena
Laughed right along and cheered her at the Doo Dah Parade.

      Photographers were trollin',
      With video arollin',
Recordin' all the action at the Doo Dah Parade.
      The streets of Pasadena –
      A bumper bike arena;
We all rolled on adancin' at the Doo Dah Parade.
      With figure eights and pirouettes,
      We were whirlin' and atwirlin'...
As we darted and dashed, almost nobody crashed.
      Adodgin' and adancin';
      Crisp fried tortillas glancin'
Off our recumbent cycles in the Doo Dah Parade.

      Beneath my fake fedora,
      I sashayed – not the hora –
Just rollin' on my tadpole in the Doo Dah Parade.
      Our cycles swoopin', spinnin',
      The riders all agrinnin'
Our trikes and bikes all swirlin' through the Doo Dah Parade.
      As tortillas flew, and marshmallows too,
      All our tires got good and sticky.
We had started at noon, and it ended too soon...
      With Orange Grove approachin',
      The end was fast encroachin',
And left us reminiscin' 'bout the Doo Dah Parade.

Our local recumbent cycling group's second Doo Dah was, for me at least, all in all, an even more fun experience than our first last year. It was good to have a bit better feeling for what was likely to happen when, and how everything worked. We decided against pre-staging offsite this year, and neither traffic nor parking was any kind of a problem. We all managed to get together at Memorial Park, and Rich's Burley cargo trailer nicely held all the extra tees, tools and gear we'd brought along once the parade got underway. It also served as the platform for the big yellow banner announcing us as the Humanoid Envoys from the Recumbent Dimension (aka the HERD).

But... before the parade starts, it's always a ton of fun to cruise through the queue and see what all the (other?) crazies are up to this time around. There were two other bike groups, but their equipment was sadly obsolete: two high-wheelers and a bunch of mid-twentieth-century fat-tired flyers like the ones I used to ride on my paper route, way back when Viet Nam was still France's problem. At least those bikes were about as practical as most of the cars, which included a Beverly Hillbillies' towncar lookalike, a nerdy Nash Metro and a whole bunch of Edsels, one of them a station wagon. Other rolling rarities included: a humongous rocking horse – well, unicorn actually; a Segway towing an Evolution of Man exhibit; and of course my personal favorite: that Marilyn lookalike riding her Pink Porta-Potty!

But – with the possible exception of our group – Doo Dah people are way more interesting than their machines. Nobody could look at The Shirleys without smirking; you had to like a cute group of kids in Dr. Seuss costumes, and of course all the dancing girls – some very lovely, some much less so, a few not even very authentically female, I feel relatively certain. How did anyone ever come up with The Bastard Sons of Lee Marvin as their group theme? Our bunch was pretty conservative, dressed in tuxedo tees with plastic hats, yellow HERD sashes and photo name badges with phony diplomatic titles, like doggy doc Deena's Interspecies Counselor and Spiritual Advisor. And YES, that teaser about Christy was the real deal: she wore an above-the-knee satiny black pleated skirt. Oh, and wasn't her rhinestone tiara just the perfect touch crowning a scrufty old baseball cap? But the big question is: How in the world does Rich manage to charm these women who truckpool with him into these things?

Our cycles, with tadpoles the dominant species this time around, wore yellow safety poles with the same photo flags and placards we used last year, along with recumbent plug posters taped wherever they'd fit. As we waited for the parade to start, a group of WWII warbirds – three fighters and a big bomber – did a flyby, and the trio buzzed up Raymond in a low level pass with colored smoketrails. Or was that a show of force by Homeland Security? Anyway at last the parade entries started moving off.

We didn't quite manage to hook up with that great surf band, Chum, that we rode with last year, but we were close enough to swing by and wave every now and then, as we inexorably expanded our riding arena to roughly a fourth of the whole parade route. There was a group of women on roller blades orbiting around Chum, and although most of the skaters would have been happy to intermingle with our spinnning spokes, one of them was a bit uncomfortable (and outspoken) about it. So... for the most part, we kept our place ahead of them, between the Bassett Hound bunch and the funeral marchers mourning the death of Pluto (the former planet, not Mickey's mutt). Those dogs were amazingly good sports about wearing their silly costumes – including one in a coonskin cap – but most pooped out – oops, I mean, tired – after two blocks; then the humans pulling them in trailers also got slower and slower as they waddled down Colorado.

Susan took full advantage of her station as stoker on their tandem to liberally apply Silly String to anyone who came within range. She admitted however that ten cans is probably not a reasonable quantity to bring to Doo Dah; next year she's thinking maybe 20. We didn't get the gummy red stuff all over our tires this time around; for 2006 it was ooey-gooey, mushy marshmallows instead. I'm guessing they would reduce max speed on a tadpole by about 3 MPH at least, although I'm not sure anyone except Dmitry – on his first ride with our group – actually reached terminal velocity during the parade. His Trice was an orange blur most of the times I saw it.

Except for Susan, the rest of us had to be content with 'recycling' tortillas. I have no idea why so many of the event pix show me holding one; I think I only tossed two or three during the whole parade – well, maybe four... per other cyclist? While scooping up a tortilla on the outside of a sharp turn, Stephen learned a valuable lesson about trike handling dynamics – try this at home, maybe, but not in front of 100,000 spectators! Still, neither he nor his Trice suffered any real damage, and hey – it turned out to be his ticket to 15 seconds of fame on the Channel 9 news.

Uncle Fester's bubble machine was cool; I made a sharp arc around it at every opportunity, whizzing through the prolific stream. The Pumpkin Head man – eight feet tall with scraggly oversize hands dragging the pavement – was a winner, maybe the perfect embodiment of the way most folks think their ex-spouses would look if outward appearance reflected inner personality. I'll be the second (after Pete) to admit that I am perhaps comparatively uncompromisingly exclusively heterosexual, but I have to tell you: that six-foot-four-inch... uh, person, I guess, to be safe... with spike heels and bouffant blonde wig has nice legs. Eat your hearts out, ladies.

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Last updated Nov 23 2006