outside hope cyclery before most folks woke up

Al Morris stewed up a fun weekend in a place they’ve never been — a place a lot of people have never been — the ol’ steel town of mythical floods that aren’t so mythical. a tragic history to this town // thousands dead // several floods. you can read more on that somewhere else.

its hard to imagine what this town, or many other just like it, must have been like at their economic peak… the infrastructure is massive, and mostly brick… but where are the people? well, they don’t seem to stick around. at the city’s top out in 1920, there were 67,000 folks who called Johnstown home, now only 18,000. the city continues to shrink by an average of 12 percent per decade — but they built the buildings to last, and so they have. acres of abandoned brick factory buildings nestled in a deep valley — prone to those mythical floods.

only 18,000 people live here! (stolen from wikipedia, or my helicopter)

Arya and I left our sewing shop in Waterbury on Friday and headed west for the 7 hour drive. we decided to go last minute — some folks we’d not seen in a while tempted us out there.

home for the night off the highway

we got to the shop around 11am on Saturday … only a few folks were up, so we went for a ride. up and down. chunky. flats. not me though! I always get nervous about flatting in front of folks I don’t know for all the obvious reasons … but I quite enjoy other people’s flats (as long as they aren’t Ultradynamico), as it gives me some leisure time to smoke a bowl and offer advice from the peanut gallery. “it does not appear you’ve chosen dynamically” for example. that’s advice.

back from the ride and there were a few folks getting tattooed by Kevin Gates up stairs in the bike shop. Kevin is great. he even made a flash of my face, and I almost went for it… should have taken a photo of it

now it was time for the much hyped Punk Baseball for Hotties. if you follow Al on IG, then you are likely a curious fan, and interested in being a PB Hottie. I was. I am.

a group of us pedaled over to the ball field and got to warming up our arms … warming up after 20+ years of not throwing things or catching them in gloves. I’m still sore.

the game was great. my favorite part of the weekend. no score, and you’re up until you hit something. surprisingly all the punks had at one point in their lives played baseball, and we managed to play a semi coherent game! — ain’t that America!

then it was off to John Paul’s farm 10 miles away for the campout.

and then it was off to go swimming on Sunday! we had planned for a longer more meandering ride, but this weekend was more of a party than a Strava stacker, so we took the rail trail. I did not complain.

the hands of John Paul

was nice to cruise and hang with such a great group on an easy flat path. the water was fine. the company was extra fancy fine.

we left the swim hole early to get back on the road east. we had Monday off and wanted to break up the drive by riding somewhere on our way back. and we sure did! more on that next time.

thanks Al for putting this together! thanks Hope Cyclery for being such a pillar of this community!

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