Monday, July 6, 2009

The Foolish Scorchers, Part II

2. As they swept on they gayly laughed,
And thought by sudden spurt.
To clear the toll-gate like a shot,
And do the keeper "dirt."

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, 12 July 1896

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some rides are diamonds...

…and some rides just suck. With apologies to John Denver.

I was feeling a little cooped-up inside today, and I have some reading to do, so I packed a bag with books and some water, and took what I thought would be a short, leisurely ride to check out a little neighborhood park a couple of miles away. This is one of the benefits of being un/self-employed. I planned my route quickly by looking at Google Maps, and away I went.

I always feel like such a gentleman when I hop on my British steel and pedal away on some mild adventure. Nothing like an afternoon ramble in the city, eh what?

All was free and easy until I got to a construction detour. Okay, I’ll follow the detour. Wait, the detour leads to a cul-de-sac. That doesn’t make sense, and oh crap, now I have to climb back up that massively massive hill I just came down. Okay, now, if I go left that should take me down to the park. Nope, wait, that’s not a through street. Okay, next one. Nope, not that one either.  Huh. Woo, it’s getting hot. This must be…no…hm, how come I’m not seeing any of the streets I remember from the map?  Getting windy. How can I be riding into the wind no matter which direction I go?

In short, it was not the ride I had planned. I never made it to the park. After an hour of chuffing my way up and down hills, down dead-end streets, and somehow always fighting a headwind, I returned home, drenched in sweat, slightly smelly, and decidedly undignified. On the way back, I hit a rather deep trench in the street and my rear light popped off and broke in the street. As I was picking up the pieces and putting it back together (it still works), my bicycle, which I had carefully parked with the kickstand, fell over with a crash and a merry little *ding* from the bell.

Those of us who blog about bicycling tend to overlook these kinds of rides in the interest of creating an attractive picture of bicycling, in the hopes that others will read our wonderful stories and become inspired to ride. But I think it’s also important to talk about the rides that just plain suck. Because there will be days when you get home from a particularly awful ride and think, “To hell with this!” It’s bound to happen, it happens to everybody, and it’s no big deal. The important thing, as they say, is to get back on that horse and ride.

IMAGE: 1935 Sturmey-Archer Advert