Maybe I should take up cyclocross
January 10, 2010
Mileage 0 (still)
There’s an expert on TV advising parents how to cure kids with cabin fever and all I can think is, “Kids, hell! What about adults?” It’s week number two in the new year, the temps haven’t risen above 20F since last week’s post, another four inches of white stuff is blowing around, and I still can’t get out on the bike. But I need to stop whining about it, because later this week the forecast calls for highs in the 50s. Birds are singing again, and the vernal equinox is only about nine weeks away.
The reason I can’t get out is that I don’t own a bike with knobby tires. I have two bikes, both skinny rubber. It would be unwise (to say the least) to ride either of these on slushy and icy roads. I’ve been reading other cyclists’ blogs about skating the trails on their mountain bikes, which makes me long for a good ride myself, until I read about their falling over–usually not once but several times. I fall down enough with my bike already.
Today’s post is about the long and winding road that has brought me to ownership of two road bikes. When I returned to cycling about 10 years ago, long after enjoying it as a child, it was because a local grocery store disassembled its summer displays and was selling the fixtures. There was a bike, wow, a brand new bike for just $45! I couldn’t believe it. Knowing nothing about cycling, I bought it. It was a Huffy, aptly named because every time I rode it I huffed exceedingly. The bike actually slowed downhill unless I pedaled furiously. This probably wouldn’t have been an issue if I hadn’t been trying to keep up with Husband. Yes, there is a Mr. Spoked, and he’s a machine. He’s long and thin with stringy muscular legs that work like pistons, and lungs like a mountain gorilla. Husband was riding a 1970s Peugeot at the time, old but built for speed. And there I was on my Huffy, pumping away with all my might and barely staying in sight of his skinny little ass. Grrr, time to get a new bike.
Number two was a Specialized Crossroads hybrid, a red beauty that I still own and love to ride around the neighborhood in a hard and nasty way it was never meant to withstand. The Specialized took me on my first organized event, the Bruce Whaley Spirit Ride. There was a 25-mile option that sounded like a marathon, but Husband convinced me I could do it. The Specialized and I went the distance, but neither of us was happy with my performance. Perhaps it was only a matter of time after that. I stayed faithful to S for a couple of years, but another redhead caught my eye, one with the initial F (for Felt). It was easy to convince myself that F was fast and easy, and I was lost. Since then, I’ve moved on a different model and now I’m preparing for a custom bike (post to follow). Perhaps I haven’t been explicit enough, so let me spell it out–it’s all about keeping up with Husband. Knobby tires do nothing for me in this regard. And that’s the story of how I came to own two road bikes and no off-road models, and why I can’t ride in the snow.
By the way, the photo in this post is of bike graffiti in my town. Someone painted it at a roundabout in a hilly part of town frequented by cyclists. As you can see, it’s nearly obscured by all the snow. But the snow will soon be melting . . . .