Monday, September 23, 2013

Two Wheels, Human-Powered

Back in 2008, I was rehabbing a quadriceps tendon surgery and looking for some variety in my cardio exercise, and I went to a "spinning" (indoor cycling) class at my local YMCA branch.  I was immediately hooked.  It was intense cardio, it was fun, the instructor was (and remains) just about the most beautiful woman ever to walk the earth, and my knee got very much stronger, very fast.  I've been spinning at least three mornings a week at 5:15 am ever since, and my day-job retirement didn't change that at all.  But it wasn't until early last year that I bought the first actual bicycle I've owned since I was a kid.  I found it on Craigslist and paid $50 for it -- turns out, after I learned what ancient road bikes actually sell for, I overpaid substantially -- and rode it all the 2012 season and the first half of 2013 as well.

My ancient Huffy 626: weighs a ton, 1.25-inch tires, and I mostly loved it.
A few months ago, I got to hankering for something lighter and more modern, and I turned once again to the ever-reliable Craigslist.  There, I found a 2010 Raleigh Grand Sport for which I was able to negotiate an agreeable price.  Aluminum frame, carbon front fork, and modern shift arrangements: this one should see me through my riding days.

The new ride.  Lighter, faster, twitchier, and I completely love it.
When we were children, of course we all rode bicycles.  Why ride now as a grownup?  Well, there's the exercise; you can work as hard as you want, just by adjusting your speed.  There's always at least a small chance that your fellow-citizen, piloting a couple of tons of steel and plastic, perhaps daydreaming or texting or just really annoyed at being slowed down by cyclists, may end all your troubles very abruptly, using his or her front bumper or fender.  You may still like dogs; if so, you won't be riding very long before you're cured of that.  You may find races to enter, and there's absolutely nothing that can compare to the endorphin high you get just over the finish line of a race in which you had a satisfying finishing sprint ("satisfying" meaning you're pretty sure you're about to die) and you think you did well.  But here's the real reason: you'll be riding very early on summer mornings, right around sunrise, while very few cars are moving, the air is cool and still, and you'll see things that'll just knock your eyes out.  And since you're carrying your newfangled mobile phone in the pocket of your bike shorts, you might even grab a picture every now and then.

Looking north on Hand Road in northwest Allen County.

Looking east from the same spot.  Not quite sunrise yet.  Plenty of mist in the air.

From Old Lima Road.  Sun's just up now.

Another day (September 21, in fact, just a few days ago).  Westbound on Hursh Road, on the interstate overpass.  That moon will be setting soon.
So, if you're situated such that you could possibly get out and ride, allow me to recommend it.  If nothing else, it will develop your humility to be seen in public, wearing a bike helmet: headgear so supremely goofy that even those guys in the Tour de France look like clowns in them.  It builds character!

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Indiana looks so beautiful and exotic; lovely photos, Jim.