Friday, September 28, 2012

A Trip to Dundas Ontario - Studying the Wildcat

As some BikeSnobNYC readers may know, the Wildcat himself was in Hamilton (well, technically Dundas) Ontario last night. I hemmed and hawed all day yesterday about whether to drive an hour and a half just to meet the guy. I mean, he is kind of my blogging hero, but still... Then I found out there would be beer! Decision made.

I am a super lame person. Before leaving London, I went to Chapters and bought a copy of BikeSnob's latest book, not knowing if they would have any for sale at this cafe thing. Of course they did, but I am naive and lame. While driving down the 401 I took said book and abused it, banging the corners and messing with the pages and spine in the hopes that it would look like I had read it. More on this later.

Mrs. Rantwick had to work late and could not come along. So I was highway driving, having a couple of beers max, and then driving back. Quite literally a buzzkill. To add insult to injury, my phone rang just as I was arriving in Dundas. It was work, reporting a fairly serious problem. A server was down. I couldn't do anything from where I was, so I made a call and delegated like a good little manager. There was only one other person who could handle it and they were good enough to go in, but I am a worrier.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, I got there. I followed my printed google map (gps is for the weak) with decent success and parked the car. I looked at the recently roughed-up book on the passenger seat and thought to myself, "man, that is f^#$!;n' lame. You have read his blog for years and just want to meet the guy, for f*%^k's sake." I left the book in the car. I will read it shortly.

So, mood bad thanks to feeling like a tit plus the work badness, I entered Domestique Café Cyclo Sportif. This is a cool little cycling-themed cafe/pub thing owned by somebody with a rich past in cycling and a love of the good java. Here's a link to some pics of the decor and an article about the owner.

It was a nice place. The kind of place that cyclists who are not loners like me would naturally gravitate to, almost like a bike shop with coffee and beer. As it often feels when you're flying solo, everybody else seemed to know each other. One guy asked me if I had seen Krys. I said, "Chris who?", and he looked at me like I had two heads and informed me Krys was the owner.

The Wildcat had not yet arrived. I grabbed a pint of Stout and went outside to the back patio, where I uncharacteristically spoke with a couple people. That was nice.

When BSNYC did arrive, he said a couple of quick words praising Canadian politeness and asked us all to yell "you suck" on the count of three:

Wildcat Rock Machine is not fond of sharing photos of himself on his blog, so I have graced him with an honourary Rantwick head. I hope he's not insulted; personally I think it is an improvement.

Then it was informal book signing / mingle time:

Observing the Wildcat in a setting like this one was really fun. There were many Freds, several messenger wanna-be's, generic hipsters and all types in between chatting him up. Some, like me, were disgusting blogging sycophants or suck-up readers. He treated all of us with the same kindness and respect; I think perhaps as much as he is caustic with certain groups, he has trouble being a prick with in-person real individuals, which makes sense and says to me he is probably not a sociopath... I sure wish I could have stuck around and drank some more and witnessed whether he got a little more cranky. I like the cranky.

I got my chance to have a few words. They will not be related here, because they were the kind of powerful and deeply personal and philosophical revelations that are bad spondee to reveal online.

Well, hang on. I will share two things... number one, his haircut, despite being less than Budnitz price, was OUTSTANDING. Number two, he asked how my contest was going and suggested I needed to actually give people stuff. I had been offering a thrift store trophy... WRM said, "yeah, trophies are always good" in such a way that I knew that he despised me and my stupid contest. Easy for him; he gets free stuff. I do too, but am I supposed to offer contestants bread crumbs and juice? I think not.

Overall, I really wish I had been able to stay longer, which is a pretty good indication that I'm glad I went. I know that if I had not gone, I would have been kicking myself today. So, good deal! Thanks for hitting America's passive-aggressive neighbours to the North, Wildcat! It truly was a pleasure to meet you.

Yer Pal,

PS - If you don't read this guy's blog on a pretty regular basis, many references in this post will make no sense to you. That is OK. They barely make sense to me.


babble on said...

Yeah, he's like a roasted marshmallow, all dark and crusty on the outside, and all soft and sweet deep down inside.

What do you think of his new religion? Do you pray to LOB?

RANTWICK said...

No, I don't believe in divine crustacean. I'm a bad Catholic through and through, complete with stupid hangups and guilt complexes. It is awesome.

cafiend said...

Always interesting to meet a hero.

rlove2bike said...

Interesting guy for sure! ahhhh...smackdown swag

GreenComotion said...

Glad you got to go away from work to participate in something close to your heart.
Dundas, Hamilton,... my old stomping grounds...
Peace :)

Kenny said...

Cool story. Really neat that he knew about your tree smackdown contest!

RANTWICK said...

Kenny - I had bugged him in email about promoting it recently. Still, I'm glad he made the connection with all the people he was meeting that night!

Krys Hines said...

Thanks for comming and I'm glad you had a good time. We get a good crowd in the café and you just added to it. Cheers! K

RANTWICK said...

Hey, owner guy! I did indeed have a good time and I really liked your place. You obviously really know your stuff when it comes to the coffee, too. Almost kept me from drinking beer. Almost.

dcee604 said...

Sounded like a good time! I got to meet The Snob when he was in Vancouver, and got an Ass-Saver from him, now everyone asks me what 'AYHSMB' is!

Anonymous said...

Fun story! congrats on meeting the Snob!

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