Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Retrieving riders and thoughts about the end of the ride.

Got an email this week from saddle maker Selle Anatomica. They are my seat of choice and I have suggested their products to other riders who complain of unhappy bottoms following a bike ride. This ad offered a very good price (pre Christmas sale) and my reflex action was to reach for the enter key. Then I said to myself, as I so often do these days, "You don't need that." You see, there are 4 road bikes and 1 mountain bike of mine in our garage, all with leather saddles, none of which are close to being worn out. Then there are back up saddles on the shelf for at least 3 of them, as well as a couple of "experiments." These are some very stiff bits of leather that I have slathered conditioning goop on and set to "age soften." So I'm well set, saddle wise. And I'll be 60 this month, so how many more rides are there, anyway? There comes a time when the vistas of potential that you see as a youth and then young adult begin the clarify in middle age, and then narrow down as you get further along the journey through this world. I realize I need no more jerseys, shorts, wind vests, tires, (maybe tubes though) brake shoes, and all the other bike tchochkes  ( that fill several shelves in our garage. I have what I need to make it to the end.

It's been interesting to observe how I feel about all that. Pretty good really. I absolutely know that my citizenship is in Heaven, and when that time comes, I'll welcome it. I also have been blessed to be able, at 50, to start cycling (and wished I started years earlier!) and get almost 40,000 logged miles in the succeeding decade, and pick up some great friendships and experiences along the way. I have more than enough bike stuff to make it to the end of my ride. There will be some stuff left to pass on when I'm done.

This year has been my 2d lowest total in the past 10 years in terms of miles ridden, but certainly not in enjoyment received. So many rides this year have been delightful, bringing synchronicity with the bike, new discoveries about the roads, and new insights into my travelling companions. I always hope for more rides next year, but as someone else famously wrote, I've learned to be content in want and in plenty. As least as far as pedaling miles go.

I only got out 4 times in October, and getting in two rides just this first November weekend already has half equaled that total! Yesterday, new rider John B joined me and Max for a 45 mile jaunt around the airport. We fit in a stop at Riverside Park, high on a bluff overlooking the Alabama River. Recently renovated and returned to more public use (it was a hangout of druggies and derelicts) it now features a full size replica of the Wright Brothers Flyer made of metal and mounted as if it were coming in low over the cliff. Very cool. The Wrights had a flight school in Montgomery and actually made the 1st ever night flight there around 1910.
We enjoyed the sights and sounds of a Fall morning. Hawks, a blue heron, cattle and donkeys, songbirds, vultures of course. An F-16 was warming up the engines at the airport, but we didn't stay to watch it take flight. I heard it overhead later though. we kept a nice pace. It was work for me, no sweat for John, and maybe just a little effort for Max. Like me, he's missed some rides lately.

Today was the usual Sunday social ride and a nice turn out set off for the run down past the baseball stadium. Robert B rolled up on his neighborhood cruiser (the one he pulls the baby around in her trailer) with knicker like sweats, and a relaxed get up. Orange and white stripe shirt, blue pants.  Has the TN volunteer gone over to Auburn? Ahh, probably not. I asked, "you have a tool set, spare, pump for that thing?"  "No, I don;t but it's just a relaxer ride," came the reply. You can start to fill in the rest of the story now folks. :)  So we get about 7 miles out, and guess who flats? So I pedal back to where he has stopped with Ron, and offer my tube and pump. Oh, guess what? This bike doesn't have quick release hubs!  Anyone got a pair of 15mm wrenches or a Vise Grip? That would be a negative. How about calling your wife on your cell phone? He didn;t have his phone today either. OKAYYYY.  I asked Ron to pedal ahead and take over the ride duties while I pedaled back to the cars to bring a bike rack. It was a nice pedal if I must admit, and no trouble at all. I made the 7 miles in 28 mins (headwind at the end and all) and stowed my gear. I was back on the road in my car in just 4 minutes. I retraced the route and imagine my surprise when I saw Robert on THIS side of the Alabama River Bridge! He had walked his flat tired bike 2 miles to make sure I would not have to pay the bridge toll! He actually RAN with the bike for at least part of the way to be sure. very impressive. While I WAS grumbling (please forgive me Robert) about having to pay the toll, and plotting to drive around the long way coming back to avoid it, I was HAPPY to go back and get him. Mozart violin concerto blasting on the radio, windows down, it was a grand afternoon. It was just so impressive to find that he was already back 2 miles though. Very cool. Awesome afternoon despite a few miles lopped off the ride. One of those nice afternoons in life.

So, where are we riding next week? I'll keep asking that question. Until I reach the end of my ride.:)


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