He’s 58 years old and stands 5-6 at best on tiptoes. By his own description he looks like Charles Manson, but he’s more Old Testament prophet eccentric than homicidal hippie crazy. His take on politics and religion will send you scurrying back to the safety of the weather, or asking him to whip up another plate of pancakes and soy sausages as a diversion. Better yet, get him to tell you about his adventures at Paris-Brest-Paris or Boston-Montreal-Boston, or one of his 27(!) assaults on Mount Mitchell.
Here’s to Michael Davis, who runs a corner of road biker heaven called the Bicycle Inn of Bakersville, North Carolina. Show up one afternoon for a three-night stay. He’ll take you on the “Frankie and Charlie” tour of Bakersville, which ends in a screaming descent down the main street of town. Spend the evening on the porch trading war stories with the other guests. After breakfast the next day, let Michael shepherd you around to the Tennessee side of Roan Mountain for a 5-mile climb that starts after he’s already (respectfully) kicked your ass for 45, and mercifully crests with only 8 miles of rollers and downhills back to the Inn. He’ll also snap your picture a mile from the top and make it look like the whole climb was like Sunday afternoon on the St. Mark’s Trail. Day 3 is a tour of the Toe and Cane Rivers, concluding with a fast and scenic run through the farm fields of Jack’s River Road. As Sasquatch learned on our visit in August, Michael will even true your cantankerous rear wheel between rides.
I’d nominate Michael for the Clydesdale Hall of Fame, but substitute blogmaster Sasquatch, at 6-3 and 240 and a snob about the category, says he’s too small. (Come back, Juancho! Sas’ is drunk with power.) So call this a Hitops Profile, like the Dewars ads that used to run in the mags. All that’s missing is Michael’s favorite Scotch: a protein powder shake spiked with ambrotose, which he calls the “best shit in the world.” Oh, and by the way, The Bicycle Inn does NOT take Visa.
Guest Blog by HiTops
Hey, I think I threw up somewhere close to where this picture was taken, or maybe it was somewhere else on the climb that never fucking ends. I know I at least threw up my hands in disgust, because I kept that going every 25 feet or so. I think I had a gearing problem, or a flat tire that fixed itself every time I stopped to feel how mushy it MUST be.
Michael has just decided he owns all the roads within 100 miles of the Inn, so he’s painted all over them. For instance, on this five mile climb, every mile you’re graced with a suffering face painted on the road to mark your progress. The last face is happy, of course, and there are a few yellow Pac Men eating up the road toward the end if I remember correctly. Sounds cheesier and more irritating than it is. The artistry is subtle and the markers comforting, like totem poles on a Vision Quest. Michael’s a Vietnam Vet; he’s not really given to cheesy.
Soy sausage.Never gettin’ in the hall of fame with soy sausage. Other than that I was surprised at how un-cycley looking this guy is. Like getting your ass kicked by a diminutive Hagrid.
The circus looks good fro mthis side of the aisle btw.
Thanks for keeping the flame.
I love how a good story is a good story, no matter what the subject. And actually, Michael is a great subject!
Thanks for the little window into a life I never would have heard about.