Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On the Road Again

WOOOHOOOO I’m riding again! I can’t tell you what a joy it is to be back on two wheels after my enforced layoff!!

It was a lovely day, nearly seventy degrees out. Of course, the wind was blowing 15 to 20 mph, but you can’t have everything. We were slated to have an easy ride, with President Dave, Jorg, Mark and Lisa, Jerry and Frank, clearly a small but select group, by which I mean, people whose bare legs haven’t seen the sun in who knows how long because most of them haven’t been out riding for one reason or another.

Our goal was 20 miles at a lazy 15 mph, and that was pretty much what we did. That’s the kind of pace a fellow just on his first real ride after surgery needs.

As usually happens, most of us were riding around the parking lot as we waited for the ride to start. Frank did three laps, and we headed out. Before we got to the street, Frank’s wife honked at him. Apparently three laps of the parking lot and his kitchen pass was revoked.

Mark was, of course, riding his recumbent, which was even more fully tricked out than the last time I rode with him. I found this out when he honked back at Frank’s wife, and the horn on his bike was louder than the horn from her car. He later sounded his klaxon from behind us when we were on the road, and his wife Lisa issued a threat that involved both the horn and a part of his anatomy and no further details of which will be revealed here. It was a very loud horn.

At one point early on, the cry of “Dogs left!” was heard. Lisa had one or two rude words to say, since she is, for some reason, a dog magnet and since she was on the left side of the double paceline at that point. We heard a furious fusillade of barks followed by the appearance of two microscopic animals that might, if one stretched the definition nearly to its breaking point, have been called dogs. Whatever they were, they were both ferocious and game. They darted into the street at us, barely restrained by our yells of “No!” As we passed, they skidded to a stop in a manner worthy of a Bugs Bunny cartoon and then darted all the way across the road and took off after us again. In fact, they were actually gaining on us. Then Mark sounded his horn. Both dogs leaped nearly a foot into the air and, when they hit the ground, froze. That horn must have sounded like the trump of doom to them, and they were awaiting their fate in a paralysis of horror. We all thought it was pretty funny.

Later in the ride, the cry of “Rider off,” was heard. It was Mark. Jörg asked, “What? Did his satellite dish fall off?” This joke led Dave and Jörg to give a joint telling of:

The Story of Alan

Alan was to come over to Jörg’s house for a ride. Jörg gave him his address and started to rattle off directions, but Alan said, “I don’t need that. I have GPS.” Indeed, he did. What he had, in fact, was a computer with some sort of wireless satellite connection. Riding down the road, he could often be seen using a stylus to tap at a screen in the middle of his handle bars. He was sending emails from his bike. Now, I’ve heard of multitasking, but that just sounds like a way to ruin a good ride to me.

Alan had ridden a long way to get to the ride and had a long way to ride to get back home again afterward. He wanted to be back home by 4:05, so he set his GPS to track to the time for him and tell him when to turn around and head back. His GPS dutifully did so. “Turn around now to be back home by 4:05.” Of course, the GPS has calculated his distance traveled and the time it took him to travel that distance. It had not included in its calculations the fact that that he was on a bicycle and had a 20 mph headwind on his ride out and would have a 20 mph headwind on his ride back. He got home arournd 8:00. Take that, GPS.

Jörg was on his latest ride, which was also tricked out, but in a totally different way than Mark’s. He had gotten hold of an old Pinarello steel frame. His bike now had a hidden downtube cable, tube shifters, and tubular sew-up tires. He says they’re great as long as they don’t roll off the wheel while you’re riding. 175 psi makes for a different ride, right? Of course, the idea of the tire rolling off the wheel would make me think twice before trying it.

It was great being back on a ride after the surgery. All the equipment seems to be A-okay. Well, I don’t guess I should go that far. All the equipment seems no worse than it was before the appendectomy, anyway. After all, it’s still my equipment.

I saw some friends, traded some stories and spun the pedals. This is what life is all about.

Speaking of stories, at a later time, we will hear the story of Frank the water bottles that shouldn’t have been emptied but were. Stayed tuned.

I’m back in the saddle again. Bike Route 40, here I come.

See you on the road.


  1. Thanks for the mention. It's a hidden top tube cable, though.

    Just sayin'...

  2. Oh, picky picky. Just becuase you think things ought to be right...