Thursday, April 30, 2009

Buggy Ride

Cycling is my antidepressant, and all the side effects are good.

We had a meeting at work to discuss various economy related matters. It was during this meeting that the thought struck me that what I really needed was a good ride, so, after I got home, I went out and had one.

It was warm windy and hazy out when I hit the road, but I was so glad to be spinning the pedals. I took off a moderately hard pace, not pushing it very much, letting my legs stretch out and my mind loosen up. I could already tell it was going to be a good one.

The stuffed sausages I have been using lately were replaced with real legs sometime during the night. They weren’t great legs. After all, they were still mind, but they were honest to goodness legs none the less.

As I went up the second hill, I saw four young women in two pairs, once pair on each side of the street, and they were dressed oddly nicely. It made me thing I was looking at a scene from 1953. (Why 1953 instead of…oh…1955? I have no idea.) Why were there four women wearing high heeled shoes and skirts and so on wandering around the neighborhood? Just to make my day a little more surreal, I assume.

The dog on the chain was in his large form today, and the way he jumps on that chain at every passing car and cyclist (he’s an equal opportunity canine) I’m surprised his neck isn’t three feet long. He wished me well and sped me on my way quite nicely.

The wind was very peculiar today. I could feel it. I swear that I could feel it. It was blowing right in my face. And yet…every flag that I passed was motionless, hanging limp. How could the wind be blowing right in my face and yet a flag ten feet away and fifteen feet up is motionless? Does the wind only blow where I am? What’s going on here?

At my turnaround point, I saw a sign that said, “Mount Carmel Church Road.” I had two thoughts. The first was, “Another religious road name.” The second one was, “I bet Mount Carmel is a fun place.”

I passed a church with a sign out front that, instead of having a pithy saying on it, was advertising a pancake breakfast May 2. Pancakes. Hm. I wish I had some pancakes right now. Why can’t you buy powerbars in pancake and maple syrup flavor?

Apparently I should have eaten before I started this ride.

Going down a long staightaway, I had to pick a couple of bugs off of my arms. I remembered walking down that same road just last night in the belly of the 2000 pound beast, and so many bugs were splattering against the windshield that it sounded like it was raining out. I was glad it wasn’t that buggy this afternoon. That inevitably made me think of the time I was riding with my mouth open and a very large bug flew right in, bumped the back of my throat and headed on down. It did not taste very good.

About a mile from home, I was back in the neighborhood and I saw a UPS truck parked at the side of the road. Just as I passed it, the truck started up, and I decided to make it work to pass me.

Now, I’m not suffering from any delusions of grandeur here. I know that I can’t seriously compete with a truck, okay? But I just decided to go as fast as I could until he passed me.

I spun the gears out and I was just flying (well, you know, for me, I mean) and I figured I’d have to hold that for twenty or thirty seconds and then the truck would pass me.

Only, it didn’t. The darned truck stayed behind me. That meant that I had to keep that high pace up. “Why doesn’t that guy pass me?” I thought. But I kept the pace up, going as hard as I could go. In fact, I managed to raise the pace a bit, and still he didn’t pass me. I hit a downhill stretched and tucked in to bomb down it, and the truck turned off.

Of course, right after the downhill was a short uphill stretch, and I didn’t want to waste all that speed, so I pushed up it as hard as I could go, and then I could see the house only a half mile away, so obviously I had to keep the pace up until I got there…

That UPS truck tired me out.

But today I looked more like a cyclist and less like a guy riding a bike.

And it was the best ride I’ve had all week.

Nice, huh?

See you on the road.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Morning Has Broken

I do not like to roll out of bed and right into the saddle. I would much rather do an afternoon or evening ride than a morning ride. Of course, I would also much rather ride when it’s seventy degrees out than when it’s ninety, and I would much rather ride in the morning than not ride at all, all of which goes to explain why, on a morning when I could have slept in because I didn’t have to be at work as early as usual, I was up communing with a bowl of cereal.

After two days of legs like sausages stuffed with jello, I was pleased to find that I had legs like sausages stuffed with whatever sausages are normally stuffed with. Mystery meat, I suppose. Still, I call that an improvement.

It was pleasantly cool and unpleasantly windy this morning as I decided I had time to ride all the way to the scenic dump again. And then I though, "Well, what the heck, as long as I’m riding the same route I rode last time, I might as well try to ride it faster, right?" I get these ideas, sometimes.

Now, as I come out of the driveway, if I turn left, I encounter a hill going up and, if I turn right, I encounter a hill going down, so I turned right. Of course, this hill is almost immediately followed by two hills going up with no down coming after them, so everything has its price.

I’ve always felt, by the way, that a climb which is not followed by a descent was something of a cheat. Cruising down the other side of a hill is the reward for having climbed up the darned thing in the first place. Well, these two little hills go up and then flatten out and that’s it. Oh, well.

I timed my departure well, so the school buses were off the road by the time I was on it. Not that I object to having sixty kids gape and laugh at me as I ride by, it’s just that I don’t want to get their day off to quite such a humorous start as all that. It might lead to rowdiness in the classroom, and I'd hate to have that on my conscience.

I did appear to amuse (or possibly confuse) a lady walking along the road. As I rode by, her head slowly turned to follow my progress. I was reminded irresistibly of inquisitive livestock in a field, as I have seen exactly that same look on the faces of any number of cows and horses (although goats always appear to ignore me entirely for some reason).

As I neared home again, something that was either a long haired chihuahua or a nutria that had been trained to bark decided to make a run for me. It was spectacularly unsuccessful, since it didn't even reach the street until I was well past it, but it did make it's owner shout quite loudly as he came running after it. I didn't look back to see who won that particular foot race.

Some rides you seem to be attentive to everything around you and some rides you’re just kind of in the zone. (Or maybe that's just me.) This was one of those rides where I was just kind of dialed in. The wind felt like it was making things harder, but my pace was still good. My legs felt better than they have in a few days, and, when I reached my turnaround point (it was just an out and back today) I was amazed to find myself there already. It was really a great ride. You should have been there. Some company would have made it perfect.

See you on the road.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Wind Beneath My Wheels

I have been reading blogs of great social significance lately, written by people who have something to say and who say it well. This is not one of those blogs.

A well-known U.S. writer once said that while everyone talked about the weather, nobody seemed to do anything about it. (Of course, the writer is so well known that we aren’t actually sure who he was - Mark Twain or Charles Warner. This has been your literary digression for the day.)

Does complaining about the weather qualify as doing something about it?

Today was hotter and windier than yesterday, so, of course, I went out to do a longer harder ride. That makes perfect sense. Right?

Yesterday a dog threatened me verbally. I went by the same yard and saw him again. He was tied to the same chain, jumping about in exactly the same way and probably making exactly the same threats as yesterday, but he had inexplicably lost about sixty pounds, shrunken considerably and grown a lot of brand new long fur in three different colors. Most peculiar.

As I headed home, the dog was still there, but he had returned to his appearance of yesterday. I suspect there is some sort of leak in the space time continuum in that spot. Or, I may have been suffering from some sort of heat induced hallucination. Maybe there was actually no dog at all. (There may also be some other explanation, but I’m not interested in complicating matters, so I’m going to go with the space time continuum thing.)

I passed a lot of roads whose names had religious significance:

Church of God Road

Antioch Road

Big Daddy’s Road

Okay, I’m not certain that last one was intended to have religious significance, but you never know.

I followed nearly the same route as yesterday, varying it just enough to ride by the scenic dump which, curiously, has a sign on it that says, “No dumping at this site.” I'm still trying to figure that one out.

The cars were all very polite to me, swinging wide to give me plenty of space and passing me safely, but I found it interesting that , when a car whizzes past you at fifty miles an hour, you can still smell cigarette smoke coming through the open window.

Someone very politely said “Hi” to me, but I have no idea who it was, as I was pulling into a headwind at the time and didn’t really have the energy to lift my head up long enough to look around. I did manage to respond verbally. It pays to be courteous, after all.

It was baking hot out there. Even the wind was hot. By the time I got back home, I was red and sweating, possibly a little sunburned, but I was feeling good none the less. Two rides in two days. Imagine that. A little more of this and I might actually be a cyclist again.

Riding in the heat has never been my favorite thing to do. I'd much rather ride when it's 45 than when it's 95, but I'd much rather ride when it's 95 than not ride at all. Which reminds me of the time I nearly got heat stroke, but that's another post. Now I'm going to go get a shower.

See you on the road.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Here We Are Again

It’s true what they say – once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. I thought of this as I climbed into the saddle for what felt like the first time in years. In fact, I thought of several things, and here they are in order:

1. Gosh it’s hot

2. It’s true what they say, etc.

3. This feels really good

4. Gosh it’s hot

5. Oh, the wind is in my face

6. Hm. I forgot about this hill here

7. I have sausages stuffed with jello instead of legs.

8. Sausages stuffed with jello? Yech.

I passed a dog who, fortunately for me, was on a chain, because, although I don’t actually speak dog, I’m pretty sure this one was calling me some pretty horrible names and making threats against my person.

I turned onto the main road and spotted a car up ahead of me wanting to turn. It was going to have to cross my lane to get to where it wanted to go, and I thought of Missy.

If you don’t read Missy’s blog, now would be an excellent time to start.

Missy was recently involved in a failed physics experiment. In this experiment, the driver of a car apparently wanted the answers to two all important questions:

A. Can two objects, in fact, occupy the same space?

B. Can you have an action without an equal and opposite reaction?

Well, just for the record,

A. No

B. Don’t try this at home and

C. Put 911 and your insurance company on speed dial, thank you very much

Thankfully, Missy is fine (though the same cannot be said of her bike) but with her recent adventure on my mind, I tried to make sure every driver on every side street was aware of my presence and the same for ever driver who was going to turn and pass through my lane. I also got a funny feeling in the small of my back as I heard car’s coming up behind me.

I selected my route carefully and made sure that, as I started out, I headed into the wind. This is a brilliant idea, provided that the wind continues to blow the same direction. Just for the record, it didn’t, and I had a head wind going out and coming back.

Still, I got some miles, did it at a reasonable pace, didn’t get smacked by any passing vehicles and didn’t get heat stroke. All in all a lovely ride. I think I’ll do it again tomorrow.

See you on the road.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I had no idea that pedals were such a big deal. I figured if I got a bike it would have pedals, and I would put my feet on them like I did when I was 10 and spin them around, and that was exactly how it worked at first. Then I made a discovery. The discovery was that, if you were trying to pedal really hard and your feet were wet, sometimes they would slip off the pedals and bad things would happen to you.

So I got a road bike and it had toe clips on it.

(What it did not have was a kickstand, which came as a surprise to me. “What do you want a kickstand for?” Steve asked. “It just gets in the way.”)

Now, just in case you don’t know, the toe clip is basically a harness on top of the pedal for the front part of your foot (i.e. where the toes are, hence the name) and the idea is that it holds your foot onto the pedal thus preventing the unpleasantness described in the first paragraph.

So, I have one foot on the ground and I put the other foot on the pedal and into the toe clips and I shove off. Now I have a problem. I have to get my other foot onto the pedal and into the toe clips. You wouldn’t think this would be such a big deal, but it turns out the pedal likes to turn upside down so that the toe clip is underneath. Picture me, if you will, riding alone one footed, trying to use the other foot to turn the pedal over and then jam my foot into the toe clips before the pedal can turn upside down again. This takes me several tries, during which I am still moving but am really looking more at my feet than at what is in front of me, which is bad in a George of the Jungle sort of way (Watch out for that tree….)

I survived long enough to graduate to clipless pedals.

(If they’re clipless, why do we talk about clipping in and clipping out of them then?)

A cleat on the bottom of your shoe attaches to the pedal, and you have to remember to twist your foot sideways to get it off the pedal. Here’s what happens: you decided to stop, so you slow down and you lift a foot off the pedal to put it on the ground. Except you don’t, because you forgot to twist and tried to lift your foot straight up and it doesn’t come. So you look down at your foot in surprise and pull harder and nothing happens. Meanwhile, you are going slower and slower. Then you remember the twisting part, but by this time your speed has decreased so much that you the bike it slowly tipping sideways, and you manage to unclip about the time you hit the deck.

Or you don’t, and you end up on the ground still clipped in and trying to figure out how to get up while still attached to your bike.

(I have personally seen a guy flip completely over while remaining attached to his bike. It was quite spectacular.)

This does bring to mind a guy who I shall call Alphonse. Imagine a group of us approaching a major highway. Stopping is a good idea, so he hits the brakes to slow down and then unclips both feet. You have to picture this to yourself for a moment and then realize that this robs you of a surprising amount of control. I should mention that nobody liked to be near him when he did this, and he did it all the time.

We all manage to stop and then we shoot across the highway.

Well, not quite. Alphonse doesn’t really like clipping in and out, so, while straddling his bike, he tries to walk it across the highway on his toes. He did make it across safely, but this nearly gave the rest of us heart attacks.

Anyway, speaking of pedals, I hope to have my feet on some again in a day or two. Wish me luck.

See you on the road.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not Yet

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen…

if you think about that into, it is a masterpiece of optimism, since it implies a belief that at least four people will read these words

…I have been watching my physical, mental and emotional condition deteriorate as I suffer from several varieties of stress and, worst of all, a respiratory infection that has kept me out of the saddle my legs turn to jello and my middle expands beyond the proscribed limits.

All of which is a fancy way of saying that I am going bonkers because I haven’t been able to ride my bike. The respiratory problems are clearing up, though…I can almost talk today…and I have great hopes

well, medium hopes

of being able to get some miles this weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday or (miracles really do happen) both!

Life is much less fun when you can't breathe. No bike, no tinwhistle...bummer.

Currently, I am sitting in my office with my bike right behind my chair. This is because I rode it to work way too many days ago and circumstances prevented me from riding home and then more circumstances prevented me from riding at all. My bike has been here all that time, a silent reproach to me. It's amazing how much a bike can say without saying anything at all.

Wish me luck and hopefully I'll be back on the road in a couple of days. Or maybe even tomorrow. Stranger things have happened. I should know. I've written about some of them.

See you on the road.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day to you...

It's Earth Day. Go out and ride your bike!

I've been suffering from a nagging respiratory infection so riding, as the medicos say, is

If you want to read something funny that I didn't write, try this. I warn you, it's peculiar.

If you want to read something funny that I did write, well, you already know what you're in for then, don't you?

See you on the road.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lance Redux

Not long ago I wrote a post about Lance Armstrong’s mental toughness. (Mind you, in this same post I commented on the mental toughness required to do paperwork all day and compared the blog to a bakery, so you should apparently take everything I say with a grain (or lump) {or glacier} of salt.) I waited eagerly for a comment from Mr. Armstrong, but he is obviously keeping his customary silence when it comes to the press, so I am forced to carry on without his help.

On that now long distant day I wrote:

In his heyday as a professional cyclist (and if “heyday” isn’t a strange word, I don’t know what is) Lance was renowned for his mental toughness and resilience. I guess we’ll see if taking a few years off from racing has done anything to reduce that mental toughness now.

So how is Lance doing in the mental toughness department?

Lance Armstrong returned to the open road on his bike yesterday in Austin, Texas, 10 days after he crashed and fractured his right collarbone in the Castilla y León stage race. The American had a successful operation (12 screws and a support plate) two days after the incident.

I "just went for a ride, on the road. If one of you 484,272 [followers] tells my doc then I'm in trouble. Keep it between us please," he posted in a lighthearted manner on Twitter.

Well, there you are. He’s up and going. Oh, and apparently lighthearted.

And what of his future plans?

The crash seemed to be a setback to his plans to race the Giro d'Italia from May 9-31. However, Armstrong now appears on track to line up with team Astana for the three-week stage race when it starts in Venice.

A broken collarbone typically requires four to six weeks for recovery. It will likely prohibit him from racing prior to the Giro.

Okay, so Lance is going to ride a three week Grand Tour without any actual racing ahead of time to get himself back in shape. Now, I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t race a Grand Tour if I had Eddy Merckx as my coach, a year to get in shape, and an operation to give me bionic legs, so Lance will, I’m sure, be happy to know that we here at the blog give him a hearty thumbs up for his mental toughness and resolution. You go, Mr. Armstrong.

(By the way, if you happen to not be a Lance fan, we salute you, too. We were going to put in a special feature so that you could substitute the name of your favorite ride in the above post so that it would be interesting reading for you, but, on the whole, we decided not to do so for a number of reasons. (Hey, two is a number.)

1. If you did put your favorite rider’s name in the above post, you would then be reading about your favorite rider having fallen and broken his collar bone, and we were afraid this news might upset you.

and, even more importantly:

2. We don’t know how.

I could sit here and hone my computer skills, I suppose, but, on the whole, I’d rather go for a ride.

See you on the road.

Friday, April 3, 2009

More Peculiar Than Most

My Lovely Lovely is afraid that she is getting out of shape. (Just for the record, my Lovely Lovely is, in fact, lovely lovely. I’m not worried about her shape; she is.)

“Well,” I told her, “Go ride your bike.” (This is my solution to everything. I don’t suppose it always works. “I’ve broken my leg.” “Well, go ride your bike.”)

“I don’t have a bike,” she pointed out. (At first this struck me as quite picky, but, upon reflection, I suppose not. It is, however, a situation that will have to be rectified.)

“Well, go ride my bike, then.”

She laughed, but she didn’t go ride my bike. Instead, she suggested that we go take a walk. This is not the same as riding your bike. This may seem so self-evident as to make the comment unnecessary, but there it is anyway. A walk does not have the character as even a sofa ride would have.

Of course, you can take your dog on a walk.

I have seen Chuck out riding his bike with his dog.

No, I think that needs a little explanation. Chuck’s dog was not, in fact, riding. Chuck was riding, the dog was walking, and the two were connected by a leash. This gave me grim thoughts of the dog running the wrong way, the leash getting tangled up in the wheel or wrapped around the crank arm and all kinds of unpleasantness resulting, but Chuck assured me that this has never happened to him.

I figure that there are three possibilities.

1. He’s fibbing.

2. He’s telling the truth.

3. The head injury from a dog related accident has obscured his memory.

Either way, I have to admit that I’m unwilling to make the experiment. This may possibly be due to the fact that my dog is small, hyper and poorly trained. (I’m sure that at least one of those things is my fault.) There mere thought of attempting such a thing with my dog is enough to cause me to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with the sound of sirens dancing in my sleep deprived brain. I’ll pass, thanks.

The weather for the next day or two is, I think, supposed to be good, by which, at this time of the year, I mean “dry” and “warm enough that I will not have to look up the symptoms of hypothermia” so I hope to get some actual riding in soon. Only time will tell. My legs are telling that I had better commute to work tomorrow or they’ll pitch a fit.

In a completely unrelated note (you would appreciate that pun if you already knew what I was talking about, but I have discovered that people seldom know what I’m talking about – even I don’t often know) my Lovely Lovely and I have taken up playing the tin whistle.

“Why?” I hear you asking. (I am paraphrasing. Some of you are probably asking a rather more pungent question than that.)

“Why not?” I ask. (Well, the real answer is that I am learning the whistle so I can help her learn how to play, and she is learning how to play because I suggested it so that I could have someone to accompany on the bouzouki. Selfish, perhaps, but it turns out that she’s enjoying it, so it all worked out in the end.)

I will not be playing the whistle while riding my bike because

A. It would look stupid, and I can do that well enough without any help from a whistle


B. I don’t want to end up immortalized as the bicycle version of Phineas Gage, thank you very much.

I am now tired of typing and am also tired of not riding, so I intend to perform the reverse operation to each. Got it? Excellent.

See you on the road.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Soul Food

Here at the blog, we like to think that we perform a public service. We know that we don't, but we like to pretend. In the interests of that public service which we don't actually provide, we like to give time to other voices than my own. Today we have a guest blog provided by cipospalmares. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for you, he's a better writer than I am.

Some inanimate objects have soul, some don't. For example, I feel a strong bond to my coffee cup from the Fatherland, whereas the blender from GE goes without. Ol' Lunicycle pretty much hit the nail on the head when he opined that bicycles and musical instruments fall into the former lot. (To those pondering theft of my cittern, I shall warn you about your eternal afterlife being filled with the sound of an out-of-tune hurdy gurdy accompanied by long-nailed fingers continuously scratching an old fashioned chalk board. For bicycle thieves, we'll just remove the saddle and throw away the 5mm...

Why the harsh punishment? Why wouldn't I just buy a new bike? It's not like they're special! What? - they have a soul or something?

At this point, my ParkTool shop quality pedal wrench usually meets the ignoramus's forehead.
After he wakes up, I can proceed to explain why bikes (and especially MY bikes) do have a soul (...and why MY bikes have so much more soul than all the others.)

It's simple: They're mine. I most carefully chose the frame (steel, ti, aluminum - in that order), picked the components (Italian, of course – Shimano for the rain bike and the occasional fixed Keirin frame only. And then, definitely nothing newer than the 600 stuff). I fretted over bar tape color(white - obviously and always), bought the tires (skinwall - naturally), built the wheels (first with Randall's help, then under his watchful eye, but never with anything Mavic) and finally even chose the jersey and bibs (definitely nothing Postaldiscoveryastana or, even worse (yikes!), the yellow jersey version). Not to mention the thousands of miles of pain before you find the right saddle, ransack ebay for spares and have a few of them re-upholstered by some guy in Georgia, just to fit your color scheme.

Choosing the parts for your bike is a sacred undertaking and must never consist of some guy in Taiwan slapping a groupset bought in bulk onto a frame built up with a black house brand bar/stem/post combo. Plus, your calipers have to be part of the gruppo and your rear derailleur cannot be a step up from the rest. Slapping an upscale rear mech on an otherwise low end frame is false advertising. A mean gimmick, as in:

"No, that's not an Ultegra bike - just the rear derailleur is...".

Plus, it's like a riding buddy, let's call him "Dana" said: "Dude, your sh*t HAS to match!"

For example, a mid-90s Colnago steel frame must have non-carbon Campagnolo components
and wheels, silver (silver was once the new black) Shamals or, even better, Atlanta'96 tubular rims laced to 9 speed Record or Chorus hubs. A silver Cinelli theme dominating the finishing kit is mandatory. Combine the white tape with a white Rolls or Flite saddle and you are looking at a work of art.

But why not just hang the newest and latest from your carbon frame, isn't that better?

No. That would mean that

a. you can buy a soul


b. everyone in the world would understand this post

The bike's soul reflects the rider's love for the sport. You have to want to know all things cycling. You already know all about the Greats. You know who Merckx and Indurain are. On some long, hot and humid hammerfests, you can feel their same pain. Although miles of talent, but not so many years part, you are kin. You know why Coppi, Bartali and Pantani are icons of the sport. You how many switchbacks the Alpe has and where the Dutch hang out. You know what the Roubaix Velodrome is and you know most Bergs in the 'Ronde'. You like the climbers, but secretly admire Cipollini's panache. You like O'Grady and despise of all the other Australians, especially McEwen. And, while you sing his praises to the non-cycling public, you secretly understand why the Euros haven't cared much for Armstrong since after the second one. Plus, you have your doubts, too. (Which, of course, is the reason you will never buy a Madone.) You know your derailleurs and brakes, your bars, stem and saddle, your pedals, your cranks, your cassettes and everything attached to your frame. Everything down to the proper orientation of your tires, headset spacers and cable housings. You know your bike. And its soul.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Am Dry

Somehow there is a difference between commuting because you want to and commuting because you have to. Either way it’s still a bike ride, and that’s a good thing, but if you’ve ever been in the position of being forced to commute, you probably know what I mean.

Today I was more or less forced to commute.

Excuse me, I can hear someone politely interrupting, how can you be more or less forced? Either you are forced or you aren’t.

Yes, that’s a good point. How about this, then…for reasons beyond my control, it was a really good idea for me to commute today.

We’ll accept that.

Thanks. Now, the weather was a pretty nice 54 degrees Fahrenheit out there and not much wind, so what’s the difficulty? It is going to rain today. The question of exactly when it will rain was still open for consideration when I left home, and I was rather hoping the question would get stalled in committee until after I got to work.

I was a bit miffed when I left home. I admit it. The end result of this was that I kicked hard going out of the driveway. The hill just down the road loomed over me, but I stood up and powered up it, barely losing any pace at all. My legs, who hadn’t been expecting this sort of thing when they woke up, registered a complaint, but we kept going.

I was about halfway to work when I suddenly asked myself why I was going so hard. I had plenty of time, so why not slow down and actually enjoy the ride? Now that was an excellent question, even if I do say so myself, and I liked it so much that I did slow down.

Now that I was going so hard I had time to look around me. I could see the trees and the grass, the road kill and the sky which was full of heavy full bellied gray clouds. In fact, these clouds were hanging low and looked distended like bags filled with water just about to the bursting point.

Oh, yeah. That was why I had been keeping up a good pace. I was racing the rain. Well, now that I had slowed down, I just wasn’t all that inclined to speed back up again, so I didn’t.

There was a small shaggy dog that raced out after me. I’ve had meetings with this dog before, but this time I was on the opposite side of the road and traffic was heavy enough that he wouldn’t be coming out after me.

I watched a guy in the left lane slow down and stop. He wanted to turn left, which meant he would have to cut across my path. Now, I am never entirely sure that people doing that sort of thing see me when I am on the bike (a healthy concept, I’m sure) but I could hear a car coming up behind me, and I was pretty sure he saw that car. As the car passed me, I kicked the pace up just long enough to let the car shield me as we passed the driveway the guy wanted to turn in to. I don’t know if this was a good idea or not, but I’m here writing this now, and that must count for something.

The first raindrop hit me. It was a big one that splashed right on my nose. There were no others for quite some time. I finally spotted the school I work at just as the second raindrop hit me about ten minutes later. Slow storm.

Raindrops three, four and five hit me as I was turning into the parking lot. Now, the fact that I could count them either means that that the drops were falling quite some time apart or that I was going really really fast. You may choose the option you like best. Me, too.

The closest brush with a car did not occur on the busy road I traveled to get to work but in the parking lot, where a lady driving a two seater convertible sports car which apparently handles very badly indeed was apparently unable to stay on her own side while going around a traffic island and came close to scraping me off my bike.

I made it in with only a few more raindrops hitting me and, hey, what do you know, more or less forced or not, it was a good ride, just like they all are.

See you on the road.