April 7, 2012 Ride: Spring is Sprung and Other Random Thoughts

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, and for those of you wondering where the flowers is, look no further:

Boy, here at rideblog, we deliver on all our promises! After weeks of rainy weather, storms, bloody sacrifices to Frosticus, and the placement of thumb screws on all the local weathermen, we finally had a small, but significantly decent stretch of sunshine.

I didn’t require those same thumb screws to get me out the door yesterday and down to the Cedar River Trail. Theoretically, I had all day to ride. But when one arises at lunch time, well, that cuts into one’s time on a bike rather seriously. Normally, I’m not a super late sleeper, but this week has been quite stressful and I guess extra slumber was needed.

By the time I arrived at the trailhead, it was nearly 1:45, and since I had to be home by four to go to, of course, a Little League game, I knew I wasn’t going to get in the totality of the trail’s mileage. Which was fine, as I’m still a blubberous mass of rubbery muscles after so many months spent ranting on the couch, and such a long ride would probably cause spontaneous bursting of my bloated calves.

This may also have contributed:

Do I want fries with that? Why yes, yes I do.

So you can see the problem. Fortunately, it won’t take more than three-six months to get me right back into fighting trim.

The night before this ride, I had a dream filled with unlikely, but beautiful events. First of all, My Glorious Partner had cleaned the garage. Second, I discovered that I owned another bike, which had been buried under all the crap we keep saying we’re doing to take to the Goodwill one of these days (this is not nearly as unlikely as it sounds). This bike was a folding mini-bike, like a Raleigh Twenty, only it was a Rudge. It was green, like most older British bikes, and in fantastic condition. But the most amazing part about it was that the “white tail” on the fenders wasn’t white at all: it was gold leaf. No kidding. It was  fabulous, in all the senses of that word. So it was almost disappointing to pull out The Raleigh and head out to my most local trail. Where was my golden folding bike? Where were the foreign climes to which such a bike might enable me to go?

Eh, whatever, I had sunshine. And I had new, electric-blue skinny jeans. And when I say “electric-blue,” I’m not wimping about here with navy, or cerulean, or sky. I’m talkin’ full-on, hard-core, blindingly-beautiful ELECTRIC blue. Worthy of a Panda Shot, I think.

When I do color, I don’t mess around! Fearlessly Fashion Free, that’s me!

Note that my sunglasses match my bag. I’m ready for my close-up, Perez Hilton!

And yes, the madras-plaid jacket was in my basket, ready to rock the spring sunshine if necessary.

Can you imagine? I wore it later to my son’s baseball game. Good thing he’s way too young to be embarrassed by me.

Speaking of youth…

Wasn’t that a great segue? Yeah, I know. That’s why you’re here: for the writing.

All around me, buds were bursting (I just wrote “bugs were bursting,” which is an entirely different image, isn’t it?), grass was gleaming, and the river was like an unwinding ribbon of sky.

The First Skunk Cabbages of Spring (there ought to be a kid’s book about this, like The Polar Express, except instead of Santa giving away a reindeer bell, it’s Frosticus gifting a small child with stinking, yellow flora).

Still, the going was surprisingly hard. I pumped, I huffed, I cursed Frosticus yet again. Little hills felt like monsters. How could I be so profoundly out of shape?

I know. I just posted the “how” above, complete with photos. But as it turned out, I wasn’t quite as disastrously fattened as I thought.

At the eight mile point, I stopped to photograph The Raleigh with a little bridge, and to post a live update on the blog. That only took about 28 minutes. Isn’t technology amazing?

How could you all have survived without this photo in much lower quality, sent out virtually the instant I took it? I know, it’s hard to fathom.

Then I turned around, and headed home.

And within ten seconds, I realized why I’d had such a hard time on the way out: a headwind. You would think, after the billionth time this has happened to me, that I’d be prepared for the revelation that wind affects my ability to ride my bike. And yet, each time I find myself either propelled magically along on the return or suddenly whacking a wall of air after speeding so quickly toward the half-way point, I’m totally amazed. Like: My God! Wind Sucks! Why Did No One Tell Me?

I hit that magical third gear on The Raleigh and began to cruise. Scenery flew by. As did other riders, reminding me that even on Full Speed Ahead, The Raleigh is hardly a racing bike. I did watch one woman pedal madly past me on what was clearly far too low a gear, as I rotated along majestically, and found myself smirking a bit. The beauty of having Just Three Gears is that I actually know how to use them. Too often, those with Many Gears fear switching them. We always fear what we do not understand, eh?

I finished the return in record time — something like half the amount of time it took me to ride the first eight miles. There was even one of those moments, after I dismounted to take a picture, when getting back on the bike felt better than walking. I haven’t had one of those in a while.

In fact, I had so much time to kill before I had to leave, that I stopped to take one last photo of a pretty pond and spring flowers. “What, another stop?” I heard as a guy on a race bike streamed by. This, buddy, is why I Ride Alone! Anyway, I held up my camera in explanation, and he shouted: “Good for you!” I’m so glad you approve, Snarky Cycling Man. What-ev.

Let’s finish out with the pond pic. This is where the flowers is!

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Love to ride my bikes!
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15 Responses to April 7, 2012 Ride: Spring is Sprung and Other Random Thoughts

  1. Hopeful Romantic says:

    Good to have you back on the bike and blogging away. You were overdue for some nice weather. BTW, I’m enjoying your DMT posts on facebook.

  2. rideblog says:

    Thanks! My marketing guru (I actually do have one, due to teaching some very well-connected kids) suggested that I put more of ME in the DMT posts. So I’m working on that. But there’s a limit to how much ME a business actually needs, I think.

  3. Jim Duncan says:

    Talk about segueing, moving so to speak from the blog noir of AMC’s dark “The Killing” in your recent rain posts to Gene Autry’s “Back in the Saddle Again.” Lucky I didn’t get whiplash : ). Welcome back!

  4. rideblog says:

    Yeah, Jim… my neck aches!

  5. Actually, I *DO* read this blog for the writing! (And I seriously at first typed “riding,” which is HILARIOUS to me.)

    On the long tour, if there was a bad headwind, we cut the day short if we could. And we’d try to draft–him in front–but it frequently led to arguments and frustration, because he’d want to go faster than I could keep up, and then I’d fall out of his wind-screen and *really* fall behind, and then try to yell at him to wait up but of course he can’t hear me because the wind is blowing the wrong way, and then whenever I’d catch up to him I’d ask him to slow down and he’d tell me to go faster, and it was a big mess.

    On the other hand, there was one day on the prairies where we had a stiff tailwind and made 60 miles in four hours. I just sat as high as I could and let the wind push me, I hardly needed to pedal, although I did idly turn the cranks in the highest gear just because.

  6. rideblog says:

    April, that’s exactly why I don’t ride with other people, and why my new tour company doesn’t offer guided bike tours (though maybe if I drove the support van. In the US). I am sooooo slow, especially in a headwind. It would just annoy other human beings. Also, I like to suddenly stop and take photos of things.

    This was not much of a wind, actually. But it doesn’t seem to need to be, especially when I’m out of shape. By the end of the summer, I hope to not notice this level of wind.

    And thanks on the writing/riding :).

  7. DisabledCyclist says:

    NICE! 😀

  8. anniebikes says:

    Thanks for coming back to the saddle. I love your writing/riding.

  9. Auchen says:

    So will it be fries, or the open road? – Such weighty decisions we must all ponder!
    (I always enjoy the writing here – and the pics. You have a talent for both.)

    PS- What plans do you have for the Rudge folder?

  10. rideblog says:

    Auchen, if that Rudge existed… I would buy it a wee Samsonite hardside suitcase, and I would take it to see the world!

  11. rideblog says:

    Thanks, Annie!

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  13. R Currey says:

    “The beauty of having Just Three Gears is that I actually know how to use them.”
    Hence why I have made my MB-1 a single speed, maybe some day I’ll be ready for a 3 speed again.

  14. rideblog says:

    I tried one speed, but we have too many hills!

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