May 23: Cleveland to Huron, Ohio - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

May 23: Cleveland to Huron, Ohio

The beach at Lorain looks idyllic...
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...until you pan back...
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...and see what's behind it
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THERE OUGHT TO BE lots of exciting tales today, but there aren't. It was another day of riding across the country, busy but more agreeable. Other than two novelties, I recall nothing much.

The first came at a sticky-bun halt in Rocky River, a place nowhere near as outback as its name. There were three tables outside. We took the middle one so that to one side we had half a dozen men speaking one incomprehensible language and to the other we had another six doing just the same. There was no interaction between the two and I think our table was a cordon sanitaire. Or a no-man's-land. Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I asked what tongue the lot on our left were talking.

"Albanian," a man said in English with the sort of heavy accent you'd expect an Albanian to have.

"And what are you doing here?" I asked.

There was something in the way I said it that caused confusion.

"Albania is between Russia, Turkey and Greece," he explained.

"Yes, but why are there so many Albanians in Rocky River?"

"Because we want to make better life for ourselves."

I think he meant in the USA rather than Rocky River specifically but this didn't seem a conversation in which subtleties would be explained.

It is always, by the way, worth asking what language people are talking. In a back street cafe in Soho, in central London, I listened for some time to four colossal men - "With shoulders big enough to park a Volkswagen," as a gay friend put it - and a tiny, doll-like woman.

"Where you from," I asked.

One of the men turned towards me and six passers-by got sucked into the vortex.

"We are Raaah-shun," he said. "Moshco State Ceercush. Trapeesh." Which explained the shoulders and the tiny woman.

Welcome fishermen, bikers and policemen... Americans certainly don't fail when it comes to inclusiveness
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Today's second happy moment was a street back, at Century Cycles, a shop I heartily recommend. The youngest man on the staff is a bright-eyed lad called Josh Ronschke. He is as happy as Larry in a bike shop. That's obvious. What's less obvious is how he came to be there.

"I used to work in a bakery," he said, "and I used to come in as a customer, in my baker's clothes, and we got to know each other. Then one day there was a rush on and someone asked me if I knew how to mend a flat. So I mended it and I've been here ever since."

Happy as Larry.


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