Guest Post: Life and the Wind, by the Trailer Park Cyclist

10.20.2011 | 10:00 am

A Note from Fatty: Hey, remember Tim Joe Comstock, The Trailer Park Cyclist? He wrote a story for the “Proudest Moment” guest post series. A lot of you liked it. I know I did. So when he sent me this new story, I wanted to post it, even though it’s not exactly a “I’ve Never Suffered So Much” story. Enjoy!

When you live in a Crappy Trailer Park in Florida that sits alongside Old Highway One, it is only natural that most of your rides are of a North-South orientation. The Intracoastal Waterway parallels the highway and makes for a Riverside Ride that has very little traffic and affords some awesome views of the water and of the sailboats and cruising yachts headed South for the Winter. (As a side note, I once calculated that the daily gallons-per-hour fuel consumption of one of those big sixty footers would be more than my average monthly income for the past couple years. Weird.)

But I seldom concern myself with the imbalance of wealth in America that we seem to hear so much about these days. Not me.

What I’m doing is riding my bicycle. What I am concerning myself about isn’t the MPG of those big old Cabin Cruisers or where I stand on the economic scale. I already know about all that stuff and I don’t care.

What I’m thinking about is The Wind: Is the wind blowing from the North or the South?

Around here the wind pretty much blows either from the North or the South most of the year. And I like to Ride Long on this North-South road. My monthly Sunday Century is like this: if I can predict the wind, I’m Golden. I can ride an Heroic fifty miles into the wind, then grab a couple beers and some honey roasted peanuts and then blast home with a sweet tailwind that makes me feel like my bike should be named Shadowfax or Pegasus and maybe I might live to be a Hundred Years Old after all and maybe I might yet Grab the Fleece and then all this Life will have made sense and maybe it was all worth the effort.

But Ya Never Know.

If I could accurately and consistently predict which way the wind is going to blow, I wouldn’t need to grab the fleece, unless I wanted to use it to polish my yacht. And if I had even the least clue which way the wind was blowing, I wouldn’t be living in a crappy trailer park in Florida. But that is why I have me darlin’ little 1981 Schwinn Super Le Tour and why I ride all those miles: For me, A Long Day On the Bike is the Golden Fleece.

One lovely Sunday last Summer I chose North.

“The wind shall be out of the North,” I said.

Are you sure? said the Voice.

“Yes, Voice,” I replied, sounding confident (even to myself). “It’s been North all week, it is North now, hence: North.”

Hence? said the Voice.

“Hence,” I said. I made my preparations, which doesn’t take all that long. I throw a spare tube and a pump into my cheap Goodwill messenger bag, I throw in a couple bananas, I throw in some trail mix (if I have any), I check the pressure on the tires and then I step off the porch onto my bicycle from the top step, so that my feet do not touch the ground (a little Magic thing) and then I pedal off, against the wind.

On my century-voyage North I have a goal to reach: it is a simple little roadside market by the Ocean in a place called Flagler Beach. Once upon a time in the Pleistocene Era of my pre-historic life my First Wife and I were out riding around in our grievously beat up old ‘68 Plymouth Fury convertible and we broke down. It was cause for sorrow, to be certain. In those days, like now, small woes could become catastrophic, due to some of that imbalance of wealth stuff.

But in those days we were young and glad to be together wherever we were and rather than worry about it overmuch, we instead walked over to this goofy little roadside market and bought a bottle of Boone’s Farm Wine and we drank it sitting at the concrete tables out front. It was beachside Florida in the wintertime and the Sun was doing that Chilled Sunshine thing that we sometimes get here in the winter. The Atlantic Ocean was right across the road.

She and I sat close together to ward off the chill and we laughed a little and we watched the waves dance in the waning light of day. She always went barefoot in those days. We watched the blue light on the water turn to purple and we drank some more cheap wine and then we walked over to the little motel across the way.

He will turn twenty-six this year.

So no amount of headwind this hot summer day here in the Here and Now was going to stop me and yes, I rode hard and fast and strong against the wind those fifty miles North, then I rode a couple more miles to a little westbound road that I know about and that I knew would dump me back onto Old Highway One. What I didn’t know was that when I got there I would find myself turning South into a Headwind. The Changing Wind of Change.

Sometimes this is what Life (and the Wind) does when you are not ready. The wind changes. It blows from a different direction and you are not really ready but if you are ready enough it will be alright. If you are ready enough you will be alright and ready to face a Florida afternoon headwind that blows hard , blowing hot and hard and blowing road grit and memories into your face and I knew that I had fifty miles to go.

Looks like you screwed up again , said the Voice.

“No I didn’t, Voice,” I said. “And shut up. I got fifty miles of grinding to do.”

I think you enjoy the suffering.

“This ain’t suffering, Voice. This is riding my bicycle. Suffering is not riding.”

And so it goes.

Tim Joe Comstock, the Trailer Park Cyclist, lives in a trailer and rides bicycles.


  1. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 10.20.2011 | 10:24 am

    Great story, and I agree….. “suffering is not riding”

    Ahhhh! Boone’s Farm Wine ‘take me home, country road’ I think many of us can relate.

  2. Comment by jacked | 10.20.2011 | 10:28 am

    So by TJ standards, I should have ventured out into yesterday afternoons winds and rain. The ones that were producing “maximum wave height building to 28′ ” on Lake Huron.
    I am such a wimp.
    Ride on Tim Joe, Ride on!

  3. Comment by Christopher | 10.20.2011 | 10:44 am

    I love your stories, though this is only the 2nd I’ve read. Great writing to keep me captivated. You need your own blog or a regular guest post spot on this one. Special thanks to fatty for giving a platform for great voices and people in this world.

  4. Comment by Jenn | 10.20.2011 | 10:50 am

    Nicely done. Very. Ride on!

  5. Comment by Bikemike | 10.20.2011 | 10:59 am

    we riders on the east coast of Florida salute you. The wind is our friend.

  6. Comment by Jeremy | 10.20.2011 | 11:18 am

    Good story. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Comment by Justin | 10.20.2011 | 11:24 am

    I could read an entire book of this.

  8. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 10.20.2011 | 11:31 am

    @Comment by Christopher | 10.20.2011 | 10:44 am
    TimJoe heard and obeyed….

  9. Comment by Derob | 10.20.2011 | 11:33 am

    This is the best week of Fat Cyclist ever.

  10. Comment by zeeeter | 10.20.2011 | 11:40 am

    “He will turn twenty-six this year.”

    Lovely! :)

  11. Comment by Steph Bachman | 10.20.2011 | 11:54 am

    I love old Tim Joe.

  12. Comment by Mike C | 10.20.2011 | 12:00 pm

    Excellent story. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Comment by KM | 10.20.2011 | 12:08 pm

    If you don’t have your own blog then I agree, Fatty needs to make you a regular contributer and share some of the wealth he makes off this website? Regardless, sometimes an article is written and it’s message is perfect for what’s happening in your own life. Such is that case today, thanks. If I’m ever down in Fl and come across you riding north or south, I’ll buy you six pack. Hell make it a case.

  14. Comment by KM | 10.20.2011 | 12:11 pm

    I stand corrected, you do have your own blog. I’ll subscribe to it today! The offer for the case of beer if I ever come across you is still good though.

  15. Comment by SR | 10.20.2011 | 12:11 pm

    Moar Tim Joe plz.

  16. Comment by Rich | 10.20.2011 | 12:15 pm

    Thanks davidh-marin, ca for the link. You should all check out TimJoe’s blog. His post about the dog days is absolutely hilarious!

  17. Comment by Mary | 10.20.2011 | 12:54 pm

    “Sometimes life (and wind)….” such a true and beautiful analogy. Thanks for sharing. I, too, live in Florida and choose to ride into the wind first, as much as possible! It’s very similar to the–give me the bad news and then the good news mentality.

  18. Comment by Bee T | 10.20.2011 | 1:24 pm

    Old Tim Joe rocks. Well played, sir, and very nicely written.

    Fatty, the caliber of these pieces is just superb.

  19. Comment by Kristina | 10.20.2011 | 1:34 pm

    “ready enough” about describes my life right now. great piece, Tim Joe.

  20. Comment by Lin | 10.20.2011 | 2:08 pm

    I love your writing, Tim Joe. That’s all. I love your writing.

  21. Comment by Jonnie J | 10.20.2011 | 2:35 pm

    Talented writer. He ought to start selling books and equalize that economic imbalance he refers to!

  22. Comment by Liz | 10.20.2011 | 2:42 pm

    Excellent! I do appreciate all the blog entries about tough climbs, but I live near the water, too, and to this brand of suffering I can relate. Thanks, Tim Joe. May the wind always be at your back.

  23. Comment by Cali_Lady | 10.20.2011 | 3:01 pm

    I just love reading guest posts on this blog! A big thanks go out to everyone that takes the time to write and submit their story…and thanks to Fatty for posting them! Happy Reading!

  24. Comment by DeanS | 10.20.2011 | 3:32 pm

    You are good Tim Joe, very good.

  25. Comment by Dan.weise | 10.20.2011 | 3:48 pm

    Excellently written and an enjoyable read. As was already stated, there are so many times I read a post and find it applies to my current situation and draw inspiration from it.

    Thank you all!

  26. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 10.20.2011 | 3:52 pm

    So as we go into week 2 of guest blogging, what do you think about getting Mama Nelson to give us a post? I bet she would have a great story in her about suffering,
    she’s Elden’s Mom after all (Hah!)

  27. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 10.20.2011 | 4:29 pm

    Sweet! Love the talking back to the “Voice”.

  28. Comment by Nancy S | 10.20.2011 | 4:48 pm

    I love the “magic” of not touching the ground when you depart on a ride Tim Joe! I’m gonna figure out how to do that by next spring (I’m in Minnesota, the road bike is already on the trainer), Great post!

  29. Comment by Stephen | 10.20.2011 | 4:49 pm

    Somebody get Twin Six to make a shirt showing a guy suffering on a bike with the text “suffering is not riding”, and give this guy a cut.

  30. Comment by VA Biker | 10.20.2011 | 5:30 pm

    That was a great read. Thanks for sharing. Put a smile on my face just before heading out for an evening run. (Ack!)

  31. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 10.20.2011 | 8:45 pm

    “He will turn twenty-six this year” may be the best turned phrase I’ll read this year … and maybe next.

  32. Comment by The Flyin' Ute | 10.20.2011 | 11:33 pm

    You are right Joe. Keep riding and Writing!

  33. Comment by Sam | 10.21.2011 | 12:51 am

    Simply superb.

  34. Comment by Dee | 10.21.2011 | 3:26 am

    If Fatty doesn’t gift this guy a new bike for writing one of the best posts ever, I am so out of here. Seriously.

  35. Comment by The Swell Guy | 10.21.2011 | 5:36 am

    Bob Seger should be proud. Hemingway would be proud. I am proud. Cycling Magazines should notice. Book Publishers could notice. I have noticed. Well done, TJC!

  36. Comment by Dustin | 10.21.2011 | 5:49 am

    As someone who used to live in FL along US one this post really hits home. I rode southbound on the way out 90% of the time and boy did I always hope the headwind was on the way out! Nothin like a strong tailwind to take me home. Great post!

  37. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.21.2011 | 6:10 am

    the wind just changed for me, but you are an encouragement – thanks, Joe C.

  38. Comment by Sandra | 10.21.2011 | 7:00 am

    This guy could write a best seller… LOVE it!!!

  39. Comment by Jacob | 10.21.2011 | 7:23 am

    Dude, I love your writing style. When I found this blog I read some of the older posts to see if I wanted to keep reading it and your last post here was probably the best post on the blog (until maybe this one). And that’s not insulting Fatty. I added this blog to my Google Reader because of him. You’re just really good at this writing thing.

  40. Comment by Jacob | 10.21.2011 | 7:34 am

    Oh, and I don’t live that far off of Hwy 1 either, although you’d have to aim for a 500-mile-bike ride to get far enough down the road to get anywhere near me.

  41. Comment by MK | 10.21.2011 | 8:44 am

    Wow….That reminds me a little of a writing style Steinbeck seemed to be trying to unearth in his Monterey books, with this probably snappier and surely less contrived (imho). I’m sure lucky to read it, and glad to know about Mr. Comstock’s work. Thanks too to Fatty for broadcasting – this is a welcome respite from some of the louder stations, e.g. the BS (those are initials, not an abbreviation for an obscenity) about $300 blazers, or
    half-baked libels against pro bikers past and present.

    Long time reader, first time commenter here, thinking… ….just….wow!!

  42. Comment by Ryan Surface | 10.21.2011 | 10:10 am

    Great post as always Tim Joe keep’em coming Velo Brother

  43. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 10.21.2011 | 10:31 am

    @Comment by Dee | 10.21.2011 | 3:26 am

    I would caution Fatty on the ‘Bike Gift” idea. By reading TJ’s posts it’s clear he is a strong rider-100 miles on a LeTour!!!(way back when I had hair, maybe, harder today) He might enjoy that new ride for a short while, but then his writing would suffer, an he’d sell the bike for beer.

    It would be like rewriting ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, but with a 32ft Chris Craft.

  44. Comment by steve | 10.21.2011 | 2:01 pm

    would somebody please give this man a lucrative book deal already!

  45. Comment by Trailer Park Cyclist | 10.21.2011 | 4:05 pm

    @Clydesteve: Why not drop by the Park, Steve? Plenty of wind change stories there and I would like to hear yours. TimJoe

  46. Comment by Trailer Park Cyclist | 10.21.2011 | 4:31 pm

    Everybody else; Thank you so much for your kind comments. Nobody here but us bike nuts! Now listen: I know I am preaching to the choir but this site, this work being done by The Fat Cyclist is…well, you guys fill in the blanks. Fatty, thank you, man. I owe it all to you. Tim Joe

  47. Comment by TK | 10.21.2011 | 4:39 pm

    Awesome post. FYI – I just started reading Tim Joe’s posts on and every dang one of them is as good as the two that found their way to Fatty’s blog. The TPC blog is now right next to on my bookmark bar. Amazing stuff.

  48. Comment by Denine | 10.21.2011 | 10:02 pm

    I’m now a follower of and yes TJC, you do need an agent and a publisher!

  49. Comment by John | 10.23.2011 | 4:21 pm

    This guy is a true poet. Another priceless dispatch.

  50. Comment by Brian in VA | 10.24.2011 | 4:29 pm

    Best read, anywhere, this year. And I’m a voracious reader. “He turned 26 this year.” Hemingway would have written that phrase but not as well. Subscribing to your site.

    Brian in VA


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