Wednesday, December 26, 2012

And your little Dog Too!

Its December 26th, boxing day, and after gorging myself yesterday I feel the need to pedal away some gluttony.  At the start of the Alki bike path I pass a nice older lady on a Kona Africa 3 and say something like "good morning".
As I continue to pedal along the path breathing the fresh air and feeling good about myself for doing something healthy I sense that someone is riding behind me.  More to the point, someone is drafting me like I'm an underpaid domestique, which is kind of amusing as I can't be going fast enough to be providing much advantage, but hey if they want to use my slow Clydesdale ass to shelter from the wind that's ok.

As we hit the point and the trail changes headings from NE to NW my unknown team leader decides I am no longer proving useful and passes me and's the nice older lady on the Africa 3 and this is where my split bike personality comes out.  My first response, thankfully from my chilled out steel riding just-happy-to-be-on-the-bike self, it to chuckle and think "dude you just got dusted by grandma on a 3 speed grocery getter"  no worries I am just out here to ride.  My other self, the inner Road-Raging Roadie, is a bit more scary in his reaction(s) and I had to quickly quell the following desires:
  • Click to a harder gear and blow her doors off
  • Catch up to her to so I can explain that this is just a recovery ride and I am not "trying my hardest"
  • Shout "And your little dog too! you old crone!"
Wow.  I thought I had left all that behind.
You see not so long ago I was a Fred (e.g somebody with higher quality and more expensive cycling equipment than his or her talent and commitment would warrant) and aspired to carbon fiber and going faster as my highest cycling ideals.  And there is nothing wrong with being a Fred, nor with riding a rusty beach cruiser in flip-flops so long as you are on a bike and having fun.  And a lack of fun is what got me to drop my "go fast" Roadie aspirations and sell;  my uber Polar cycling watch,  my aero bars and wheels and my beloved Cannondale R800 road bike which only took me 8 years to realize was too small for me.

 In my pursuit of being faster on the bike my rides all became workouts and had to have a specific purpose and keeping an eye on the average speed indicator on the Polar was more important than noticing an eagle catching a thermal or the Olympic range peaking out above the clouds.  In short it wasn't fun anymore and the whole reason I enjoyed rediscovering cycling as an adult was that it was FUN! Gliding along under my own power, wind in my face, seeing and smelling things I would have never noticed in a car and feeling like I was 12 years old and tooling around the neighborhood again.  So I decided to focus on having fun on the bike, got myself a steel all rounder frame-set and built it up with no pretense as a "race bike" and haven't looked back.  Much.  Apparently there is still a bit of over competitive/under confident immature Raging Roadie living in my psyche but I can take some comfort that my first impulse was to laugh  at getting dusted by Grandma.  You go Girl.



  1. In sailing we used to say anytime there are two boats together, it's a race. Those same impulses seem to lurk in the cycling world, too. What happens to me is I'll be overtaking a slower rider and I'll speed up so that when I pass I'm not lingering in their space... Then I'll speed up a little more to leave a nonintrusive gap. So what on my part is an effort to be polite turns into me cat-sixing some old guy with a fishing pole strapped to his rack or some old lady on a Kona.

    But...did she look back and smirk?

  2. Hey Ryan,
    LTMS... I can really relate to that story. Normally I am the only cyclist riding into town along DuckLake road in the morning. But when I do see someone up ahead or passing by on the main road before I get there? Well I must confess somewhere inside me there is a voice telling me "go ahead and catch and pass that sucker". But then there is another calmer voice that says "remember the last time when you tried to catch and pass the road bike on your mountain bike? Oh yeah, better just chill and just enjoy the ride.

  3. Glad to know I am not the only one fellas. And no Tim Joe it was worse as she trundled passed me she smiled and said "nice day for a ride huh?"

  4. Hi Ryan,
    I live this story, maybe it is the 1970's in us that rages out and demands to push hard on the pedals until a calmer version of myself takes over and enjoys the ride. A recent rebuild of my 1979 Univega has me thinking of selling my fast road bike.....just not as fun or comfy to ride as old steel. I was never gonna be a "Fred" anyway.
    Jim Bangs

    1. Hey Joe Welcome and thanks for the comments keep on riding that styling Univega