NO Television for My Birthday Ride, but I Rode Anyway

3PM, Monday, June 8:  This morning was a perfect day for my birthday ride, so I called ESPN to discuss plans for live-streaming on ESPN-27, the channel devoted to amateur athletes.  I recorded the conversation.

ESPN:  Good morning, ESPN. How may I help you?

ME: May I speak to the Executive Producer at your ESPN-27 Channel please? I’m calling about the live-streaming of my attempt to bike my age.

ESPN: There is no ESPN-27 channel. We have ESPN, ESPN-2, and ESPN-3. That’s it.l

ME: But I was told……

ESPN: Sir, there’s no such channel.  You’ve been tricked.

ME: Then perhaps ESPN would be interested in live-streaming my effort on ESPN-3.  I know you are desperate for live sporting events.

ESPN: I don’t think we’re that desperate, sir.

ME: It might draw an audience. After all, my effort is sanctioned by ABBA.

ESPN: What? A musical group is sanctioning athletic events?

ME: No, ABBA is the Association of Birthday Bikers Athletes. It’s in Sweden. Nothing to do with music.

ESPN: Would you mind holding for a minute, sir?

(A minute or more passes)

ESPN: Sir, I’m afraid someone is pulling your leg. There is no ‘Annual Birthday Bikers Association.’  There is ABBA, the Swedish pop supergroup that’s world famous for songs like ‘Dancing Queen.’  Sir, you need to get out more often.  Thank you for calling ESPN.

(She concludes the call)

Well, it turns out that she was correct. Apparently ABBA is/are some singers in Sweden, kind of like The Weavers, The Kingston Trio, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Peter, Paul & Mary, or the Yale Glee Club.  Who knew?

Someone tricked me about ABBA and ESPN-27.  I owe you an apology, because what I told you last week about riding with a Target logo on my back, wearing Depends for Men bike pants, and being pumped up by Vacurect (my tires) was false.  

Lucky for me, Vin Scully, Al Michaels, Tony Kornheiser, and the other famous sports announcers hadn’t yet responded to my invitation to get involved in the live-streaming. It would have been embarrassing to have to let them down.  I guess they were waiting until my actual birthday, June 14th, got closer to accept my invitation.

But yesterday was a perfect day for biking, and so I rode anyway…


As you can see, I added an extra mile for good measure.  So, friends, please write your checks for $80, $800, $8,000 or some other multiple of 80 in support of organizations in minority communities affected by the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd.

Once again, I apologize for misleading you about ABBA.  I’m thinking it’s a good idea to have an organization of birthday riders, but it needs a different name.  Maybe Birthday Athletes Biking Annually?

Stay safe….


9 thoughts on “NO Television for My Birthday Ride, but I Rode Anyway

  1. 🙄

    > Karen Hein MD > PO Box 607 > 1234 Maple Hill Lane > Jacksonville, VT 05342 > 802 368-7568 > > NYC (part time) > Hudson View Gardens D63 > 116 Pinehurst Ave > NY, NY 10033 > 917 856-3894 > > Rebecca Solnit defined walking as “a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned,”


    Liked by 2 people

  2. John, thanks very much for your humor and commitment to a more just and equitable work. As you may know, the intersection where Mr. Floyd was murdered is about a 10 minute drive from our home.

    JoAnn and I, our children and some of our grandchildren, have been actively involved in in the last 2 weeks in demonstrations, marches, financial and other contributions to a number of groups working with folks who have been affected by the pandemic and the murder.

    Unquestionably this is a time when people of good will must stand up.

    Here’a a link to a newspaper column I wrote about an pandemic related injustice in Mn – the state requires unemployment contributions on behalf of high school youth who are working. But it is refusing to give unemployment insurance payments to high school youth. Many of them are students of color from low income families. Their earnings help pay basic household expenses and rent.

    I’m working closely with a statewide coalition of youth and adults who are trying to change this. Hope we make progress on this and many other issues.

    Thanks again for your decades of leadership.
    Joe Nathan, Director Center for School Change
    Resident of St Paul, Mn

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha, ha, ha! Good one, John! And big congrats for biking your age, plus 1 year!! I will send an $80 donation in your name to a local organization I support – probably Harvest House. I think BABA is perfect: “Bah, Bah” black sheep and all that! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (almost)

    John Merrow posted: “3PM, Monday, June 8: This morning was a perfect day for my birthday ride, so I called ESPN to discuss plans for live-streaming on ESPN-27, the channel devoted to amateur athletes. I recorded the conversation. ESPN: Good morning, ESPN. How may I help y”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations, John!!! Way to go. It certainly was the perfect day. Sorry you had trouble with the tech component. We are searching for the right donee. Will let you know when we make our donation. Thanks for riding. You are an inspiration.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Having never heard of ABBA or been fan of ABBA, I waited to verify. Congrats. I hoped you included Gelato in Vineyard Haven among your seven stops. I contributed $80 to a new education program worthy of your name — scholarships for low-income kids to study astronomy with a professor at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose.


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