Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Setting aside the cornucopial bacchanal of the Turkey Day table and a day at home with our families to laugh, cry and remind ourselves why we don’t do this more often, the opportunity to express gratitude for the gifts we’ve been given, unwrapped and unconditionally, is just really nice.
There’s a chill in the air here in the Northern U.S. Warmers of the arm, knee, leg and toe variety have become de rigueur. Wood smoke wafts on the wind. We are grateful for neoprene and fleece linings, for street lighting and the warmth of home.
The economy has been bad on a global scale, but our wheels keep rolling. Our goods are durable. If anything, a down economy gives us more reasons to ride, to save on health club membership, to save on gas, to remind ourselves what’s important. Global bike sales have actually risen over the last two seasons, evidence that the bike can play a part in the new “green” economy. We are grateful for the solutions hanging in our garages and for the ability to ride places where others will only drive.
Ours is, by any measure, a luxury hobby. RKP readers are generally affluent enough to express opinions about the high-end component offerings from SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo. While not all of us would call ourselves rich, we move in a world of choices that most of the world doesn’t have. We’re grateful to be able to argue over component groups as if there were a correct answer, and to debate the merits of the various frame materials as if we were building the next space shuttle. We’re grateful for the ability to take the bike too seriously and for the good sense to laugh at ourselves when we do so.
Thanksgiving is a family holiday, and it occurs to us that the bike is most often a way to get away from family, even if, in the end, it helps us to be better fathers/mothers/daughters/son/brothers/sisters/people. We are grateful for this time off the bike to reap the dividends it provides and to share it with those we love.
Finally, we are grateful for this big, stupid, amorphous, unwieldy internet that brings us all together and grows our cycling family across the continents and time zones into its own great big, stupid, amorphous, unwieldy but wonderful mess.
What are you grateful for?
So there’s this yearly battle between my mother and my wife at Thanksgiving time over the sweet potatoes. My wife makes them. She follows a fairly typical recipe that involves lots of butter and brown sugar. The end product is cloyingly sweet and serves, I think, as an excellent counter point to mashed potatoes with gravy. My mother prefers a more esoteric preparation, hewing to her more savory conception of the Thanksgiving Day feast.
I love Thanksgiving, because it’s a food holiday. If you put food in front of me most any day of the year, I will probably eat it, but on Thanksgiving, like most Americans, I take that approach to an extreme. I will eat those sweet potatoes no matter how they’re prepared. I’ll even eat the ones with the marshmallows on top that gourmands turn their noses up at.
I have been known to eat half a pie on the day in question. And that’s only because people are watching. Otherwise, I’d eat more.
This week’s Group Ride is about food. Do you keep it together all season and then go off the rails, a la Jan Ullrich, once the weather turns cold and the wood smoke wafts in the breeze? Most of us go off the rails at some point, whether it’s through caloric debt (I make horrible food choices when I’m famished), or out of sheer boredom with the ascetic lifestyle we cleave to otherwise. Is there a food that, even when you go off the rails, you won’t eat?