The Kingsbury Bagel and Bicycle Association (KBBA) is a loosely structured group of neighbors, all male, who ride on Sunday morning, every Sunday unless the temperature is less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit or it is raining punishingly. In those latter cases, we still meet for coffee. We are a carefree group, even the name is loosely derived. The only document we ever print is a telephone tree for Sunday morning calls. Wilhelm sets up a conference call to Jim, Steve, and me to decide on a riding route. Then each of us calls other members to say “we’ll meet at Shelly’s at 9:30 a.m. and we are riding to…..” Twice a year, we plan a weekend outing–one for a bicycling overnight the other for canoeing with an overnight on one of Missouri’s magnificent floatable rivers or a distant bicycle trip.
Our group of 19 or so individuals averages ca. 70 years of age with the most senior now 84. The professions represented include those in the arts, science, philosophy, law, business, architecture, psychiatry and medicine. We almost never talk shop. We often talk of our avocations: Jerome is a recognized bookbinder and volunteers much of his time to the Missouri Botanical Society, Chris reads to underprivileged children, I work diligently for a local environmental organization. Most of us love to cook because we all love to eat. When camping, we are drinking, singing and retelling jokes. They are my Sunday ride and the continuity of this fellowship bespeaks its importance to us. As individuals, we travel frequently, so the number of riders on a given Sunday will vary. Seth is in France much of the summer and Jerome in Rhodes. Floyd lives in Copenhagen most of the time now. Shelly wears a baseball cap under his helmet, carries 3 pounds of keys and has a very quick wit and an unbelievable amount of knowledge. An excellent artist, Shelly produced our logo. Albert knows everyone in St. Louis and is the campground dinner chef. Fred R was the breakfast chef before his recent passing at 82. Bill, an outstanding artist and professor who recently passed, knew the words and music to every Broadway show tune ever performed. In memory of Fred R and Bill, two of the founders of the KBBA, our organization donated funds for bicycle racks in our beautiful Tower Grove Park, the first bicycle racks in that park. Danny, our oldest rider, uses an electric motor assist bicycle. He went from slowest to becoming one of the fastest riders in the group, especially uphill. Alan and Frank moved to Santa Fe but still manage to join us on our longer trips. So does Larry (an architect in Washington, D.C.).
Our ride is rarely more than 15 miles at a speed rarely exceeding 10 miles/hour. An important item is where we will go for our coffee and bagel. Often, if someone cannot ride that day, they will join us for coffee. The coffee ritual lasts an hour with lots of simultaneous discussions and we are back home to wives and sweethearts by a little after noon. By any standards, this group is hilariously counter culture. No one wears matching anything in clothing. Old shirts, old pants, old shoes, weird colors and almost no Lycra although biking shorts often appear in warmer weather. The bikes are typically low to mid-range in price and performance and half the bike chains need lubrication and flat tires are not uncommon. We are not serious riders. We are serious coffee drinkers. But mostly, we are friends.