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Issue #127, Diamond Lake, Crater Lake and the Boulder Thursday Night Cruiser ride, Colorado, June-July 2006. Haikutimes correspondant Jonathan Machen attends to the small details of mountain flora in the Indian Peaks Wilderness while tracking the societal impact of police-sanctioned mass Cruiser rides in Boulder. All images and writing by Jonathan Machen. Click here to see Jonathan's music video about the Thursday Night Cruiser ride in Boulder on YouTube. Alternatively, watch the video on Google Video.

every twenty steps
another columbine
fourth of july trail

mountain stream
swallowed by snowbank
ever so thirsty

bugs under hot tarp
sleepy boy tries to relax
no afternoon nap

randomly waving
at the swarm of mosquitos
his parents cursing

small cries and small sighs
from behind my right shoulder
running commentary

finger in his mouth
union pacific rail cars
now a distant thought

bluebirds and ouzels
elephant head, shooting stars
populating trail

river fun transformed
by afternoon deluge
picnickers scurry

water rivulet
snaking across window
swallowing raindrops

the fine line
between group joy
and group excess

bicycle freedom
constrained by
police scrutiny

jostling for space
on narrow campus walkway
three hundred bikers

acrid afternoon
monoxide sunshine casting
orange light on cars

tonight's cruiser ride
study of immobility
mosquito bites leg

three red lights
cruiser ride suffers
from critical mass

before i remembered
it was thursday
i heard the distant bells
rising above the traffic

along with excited shouts
like rapids around the corner,
alerting me to the fact that
the thursday night bike club

with several hundred
pedestrian-powered contraptions,
was about to ride by my house.

grabbing my recumbent
and joining the stream
of joyous bells, raucous

i merge with cruisers,
mountain bikes, unicycles,
velocipedes, high-wheelers,
folding bikes, twisted-frames,
choppers, quadra-carts and bmx'ers.

costumes abound:
he's wearing an orange wig -
she, pink bangles and striped tights,
a flapper outfit on a cruiser;
another with high-powered
speakers on his bike

moving stereo, mobile jams
grooving and rolling down the street
sinuous, like a sleepy taxi
with only implied direction
from the organizers.

i am now part of the pulse,
here to explore the notion
of group mind, how it
has the potential to be
so free and un-emcumbered.

we travel east along the bike path,
and in one spontaneous moment
divert to circling
lights in a vacant parking lot;

riders in front making the tightest,
smallest circle, those next
expanding the circle with joy,
our own localized
bicycle implosion

a black hole into which
a sudden party emerges,
akin to those elven parties
deep in the forests of mirkwood

springing out of nowhere
disappearing into nothingness -
the quantum physics of
roving bicycle parties;

gone in the blink of an eye
as soon as you catch your breath
to take a look.

one man's honking device -
an amalgam of
airhorn, foghorn,
steam whistle,
galactic burp, bells
and air chimes,
alerting us to the fact that
it's time to move on

to join the quiet jostling
evening dusk on the bike path
groovy with flashers,
spoke-pedal underbelly glow-lights,
color swatches, handlebar
jingle bars, strobes, pulses,
glow-worm frame-stripes.

muscle bikes next to pretty bikes
silent trikes, jumbo dykes
cruiser look-alikes

a man in a scooby-doo costume
prancing in front of the spiral
as it enters another cyclo-circle

getting crazy at the justice center
having a party
where we shouldn't be
one guy showing off his
evil kinevel daredevil
jumping tricks over a line of bikers.

the next week i am off
to a false start, creatively placing
my wife and child at the junction
where the bikers usually pass
for a photo opportunity.
the bikers never come by

after searching boulder
for an hour, i find them
leisurely honking, blinking
and cruising up west pearl.

entering the spiral
it's another spontaneous roundabout
we circle ralphie the buffalo
whooping and hollering

the spiral getting tighter,
bicycles and electrons
spinning around the nucleus
more riders on an involute course
twinkling lights and horns

until finally
the bicycle with a gigantic boom box
lands at the center,
a ringo starr drum solo
exploding as beatles guitars
accentuate our own rhythms.

solo/group kukai
jonathan machen