GWBR – Part 1: We're Back!

The Great Western Bicycle Rally is great!
It's maybe the best bike event in the state.
For twenty-five years now we've gone there in May
To visit with friends while we camp out and play.

The town where it's held, Paso Robles, is neat;
Adults are hospitable; children are sweet.
When thousands of cyclists invade every year,
You'd think that we'd turn this small town on its ear,
Along with the car show that fills up its square
With hundreds of hot rods and their people there,
Plus others enjoying Memorial Day –
Most people get only one Spring holiday.

But somehow or other we all co-exist,
With nobody screaming or shaking his fist.
The mood up at GWBR* is always relaxed;
Anxiety's low and tranquility's maxed.
The fairground's renamed for this ride of renown;
For four days it's simply called Bicycle Town.
And that's the right name: it's a cycling retreat;
This weekend is BIKES – what we live, breathe and eat.

        *pronounced gwubber, of course!

For most of us Friday's the day it begins,
We enter the fairground with big happy grins,
Where finding a campsite is job number one,
To set up our camp while there's still lots of sun.
We dig out our tent – all the stakes, poles and bits –
And try to remember how everything fits.
We finish unpacking the van - so much stuff!
We always bring way too much more than enough.

But soon it's the place that for three days is home:
Two sleeping bags under a small fabric dome.
A cooler, a campstove, a table and chairs,
Our trikes, all our riding gear, toolkits and spares.
Some flags or a windsock to make us unique,
(As if tadpole tricycles didn't shout: GEEK!)
When camp is set up we just sit down and think
'We're here and we're ready! It's time for a drink!'

We don't wait too long till we head for HQ
To sign up and see which door prizes we drew,
And what I've been dreaming of most of the year:
The Swap Meet ­ where bargains on bicycling gear,
Like maybe a vintage old wheel truing stand,
Or some other knick-knack that's even more grand,
Are waiting like treasures in row after row,
For someone who wants them with money to blow.

Then after the swap meet has seen its last deal,
It's time to make plans for our evening meal.
Just north of the fairground there's food (slow or fast)
Where boaters, hot rodders and truckers roar past.
By crossing the highway you'll risk your poor neck,
But folks, Good Ol' Burger is well worth the trek,
For fries and big onion rings soaking with grease,
A hamburger ­ man-sized, not some tiny tease.

For most folks at GWBR, high calorie food
This weekend's not something that we must preclude
From breakfast or dinner or in-between snacks.
We're eating to ride, so restrictions are lax
On carbs, fat and proteins, and foods with no name;
Just splurge and enjoy it, 'cause now it's fair game.
Till Tuesday at least we can eat what we please,
Cholesterol, lipids, starch, sugar and cheese!

That first night at GWBR is roaring with noise!
There's traffic and trains and some hot rodding boys
Who blast past our campsite all night, with a sound
That rattles the dishes and quivers the ground.
We're sleeping in snatches and missing our beds,
With big comfy pillows to cover our heads.
But finally dawn comes and campers arise
And walk to the bathrooms while rubbing their eyes.

GWBR - Part 2: What to Do

POW Index

Last updated May 6 2005