Jim Utz is the real thing. The kind of guy you could follow to the moon and back. He even knows a good bike route where there's not much sattelite traffic. On Saturday June 16th, 35 members of The Fucking Bike Club showed up to follow Jim as far as The Skyview Drive In in Belleville Illinois.
Nevermind what you might have heard. East St. Louis Illinois has it's own post office, zip code, and some of the nicest people in all of Southern Illinois.
We almost rode past this little Bar-Be-Que, but thankfully one of the ladies who was there partying ran out into the street and demanded that we come back, hang out and enjoy some grilled meats and cold beers.
East St. Louis Summers are no joke. Sometimes the only way to beat the heat is to swim naked in broad day light at a rodeside golf course lake.
Just on the other side of town lies the daunting Alp D'East St. Louis. Its the kind of hill that makes you want to grab hold of Peat Henry's seat post and hope he doesn't notice you until you're at the top. I don't know how many people Peat actually pulled to the top, or if he ever put his hands on the handle bars, but eventually we all made it to the top. At the top of the hill was a big house where a kid was riding a dirt bike around the front yard. John P. asked the kid to ask his dad if he had any cold beers to sell us.
Dad didn't have any cold beers. But he did let us cool down with the garden hose.
We made to the Drive in with time to spare, so we went down the street to check out a bike shop that is chock full of cool old stock bikes. The bike shop was closed but the bar next door was open.
At the bar we had some beers and shoulder rides but absolutely no 60 cent tacos.
We watched 'The Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer.' Unless you are at a drive in with 30 of your friends, plenty of cold drinks and delicious snacks, on a beautiful summer evening, I wouldn't recommend it.
Thankfully, the movie eventually ended and we made our way to the Swansea Metro Station.
Then we had a Metro Link party all the way back to St. Louis.
By the time the Metro Link made it back to the Central West End Station, our group was down to about 20 people. Of that 20, 12 or so went to a party in South City. The party was nothing to write home about and the cops kept comming by and telling us to stay inside, where it was an honest 159 degrees Farenheit. About the time the clock struck 2:30 those of us that were still together started brainstorming a pool to crash. We weren't having much luck thinking of anything until John Patterson suggested Castlewood State Park for an envigorating late night swim in the Meremac. Two minutes later John, Peat, Rose, Monica and I were pedaling west into the night.
We made a quick stop at a 7-11 in where Abdoul gave us free Taquitos and hung out with us on the sidewalk dinning room. He also tried to give Peat a Band Aide for his bloody elbow.
4:00A.M. swimming in the Meremac. Next time we make the ride to Castlewood in the middle of the night we need to remember to bring someone with a headlight. The ride down the last big curvy hill into the park in pitch darkness was one of the scariest things I've ever done. It was also totally bad ass.
Sunrise in the Park. At 5:30 a maintenance worker showed up and was unloading picnic tables for a father's day, father-son fishing tournement that was schedualed to start at 7:00. He said had hoped that the fathers and sons would catch some fish but it was unlikely now due to the unusually high number of swimmers at 5:30 in the morning.
Bucolic Castlewood State Park at dawn.
Peat Henry atttacks a Monster Breakfast Sandwich with the zeal of young man who was been up all night riding his bicycle and having adventures.
The Fucking Bike Club LIVES!