GWBR – Part 4: The Social Scene

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.

Once back at the fairground from hot sweaty rides,
All showered, shampooed, and in clean clothes besides,
The riders – new neighbors, old friends and the rest –
Feel proud we were out there and facing the test
Of cycling for hours, of straining our knees,
While baking in sun – almost ninety degrees –
But afternoon's cooler, the hard work is done;
It's time for us all to enjoy some more fun.

No trip up to GWBR is ever complete
Till we've made the rounds of the fairground to greet
The folks that we miss, but just see once a year,
When all of us gather to socialize here.
Some kids that we know – who had not yet been born
When we met their parents while riding one morn
Some twenty or more distant years in the past –
Have grown since last year, and they're having a blast.

Each evening at GWBR there's something to do;
On Saturday night it's a hardware review –
A bike show where riders display their new wheels,
All polished and waxed to enhance their appeals.
And everyone votes, sipping wine with some snacks,
Or chatting and just sitting down to relax
And watch as the cylists are milling around
Digesting the cookies and punch that we've downed.

On Sunday we ride up to Wilson's to eat;
It's quiet and classy – a nice little treat.
Then back to the square, which is filled now with cars,
From out of the past – or they may be from Mars.
We cruise through the hot rods – a rolling survey –
Enjoying the strangely obsessive display
Of somebody else's compulsion for toys,
A bit like our own – well, except for the noise.

The car show is fun but we came here to ride;
Which way should we go? It's not hard to decide.
"Let's sample some wines," I hear someone suggest;
We head to the south and then loop to the west.
Ascending the hills out that way's pretty hard,
But then there's a sort of a special reward –
That long steady drop back down Route Forty-six
Is where the speed demons up here get their kicks.

On Sunday night bikers are drawn to the smell
Of flesh being charred by a small piece of Hell,
A huge roaring fire that's where everyone meets
To cook out and gobble up barbecued treats.
Then off to HQ where they give the awards –
With medals and trophies as token rewards –
And door prizes – bikes, tools and all sorts of gear –
The final event of the rally each year.

A few last goodbyes and we head to our tents,
Tired out from the weekend's bike treks and events,
Where sore but still happy we climb in our beds,
And sleep very quickly envelops our heads.
If Sunday night's loud (as was Friday) I swear
We're used to it now or we're too tired to care.
The night – all too quickly – dissolves into dawn;
We wake to the sounds of the camp with a yawn.

On Monday we go for one last little cruise,
Not fast and not far, just enjoying the views
Of tree covered Vine Street, a trail by the pool,
Just tooling through town – Paso Robles is cool!
Then finally back to the fairgrounds we roll
To pack up and join in the freeway patrol,
Back home to the jobs and the lives we have here,
But we will be back – up at GWBR next year!

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Last updated May 6 2005