[CR]My Pal Yoram (long)

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Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2008 13:18:44 +0200
From: Amir Avitzur <walawalaoxenfree@gmail.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: [CR]My Pal Yoram (long)

My Pal Yoram:

At age 14 I got hit by a drunk driver while walking home from an amusement park. There were no sidewalks in those days, but the gravel shoulders were very wide. Another driver scooped me up off the side of the road and took me to the hospital where I spent the next few days. One of my friends had the presence of mind to write the license plate number on the gravel. A year later, the little old lady who hit me was dragged to court for wreckless driving and lost her license for 3 months. At that point her insurance company agreed to pay me damages for the whopping total of $600 (a third of which went to the Lawyer). That's what paid for my first and still favorite bike, a Follis 472. The shop put me in touch with someone at the local club and I started riding with them on the weekends. After a few more months, I got adventurous and would go out on really long rides alone or with a friend. Pennsylvania was full of lovely country roads, so there was plenty to explore.

After that came college and I was able to take long rides only in the summer. Once I got married and had kids, bicycle touring stopped altogether.

Eventually the kids grew up and I had free time again. At first I started mountain biking, because that's where all the riders were, plus the riding skills needed were new and interesting.

But eventually I got back on the road, with an old 2nd-hand Bertin. I rode loops in the park in early morning, and loops in the countryside on the weekend. As more and more riders moved from mountain to road bikes, I started hearing stories about a guy who would start riding at night and go as far as his legs would take him. Often that was several hundred kilometers per trip ... my kinda guy.

Eventually I tracked him down and joined him on a long ride: Tel-Aviv to the Kineret and back again. He road slow, but had plenty of stories to tell along the way. It turns out that he was doing this for years, and knew all the late night coffee shops and eateries along the way. Israel can be hot during the day, so he would start in the evening and ride all night. When it would start getting realy hot in the daytime, he would find some shade and nap for a few hours. When he got home he wrote a trip report on an internet forum. His forum was the most popular internet forum of any kind, in Israel, for a few years.

As time passed, I joined him on more and more rides, to Jerusalem on the holidays, to the desert to watch the annual meteor showers, loops in the North, loops in the south, ... on most rides we were alone, but on some of the "events" dozens of riders showed up. Yoram was a character, he was an ex-army NCO, an ex-electronic technician, an ex-insurance salesman, an ex-machinist, you get the idea. By the time we met he had been unemployed/unemployable for a year or two. So he put all his energy into biking. Through his forum, new riders got advice on the best place to buy the latest and greatest wonder bike. They also found a friendly place to drop off their old steeds. That's how Yoram got lots of hand-me-down bikes, which he promptly restored to working order. Eventually he had built up quite a stable of old Raleighs, Peugeots, Pinarellos, Bottechias, ... which he would eventually sell to pay the rent.

For me, every ride was an adventure ... not only were the roads new, but his bikes changed from ride to ride. Some rides came to an abrubt end after a few punctures or after an extended roadside rest stop, but most started and ended on our doorsteps.

Yoram can still be found on the road or at http://www.paris-brest-paris.org/EN/index.php?showpage=382. (Why my name is there, and not his, is a mystery).

Happy Holidays,
Amir Avitzur
Ramat-Gan, Israel