I am having a hellva time here lately. Somehow, and I think it’s when I scroll using the iPad, I am unfollowing blogs I really like. I putter along, checking my reader, and think, “Hey, I haven’t heard from so and so for quite a while!’ Lo and behold, so and so is out there, I just hit the wrong button. DAMN!
Luckily though, some bloggers, in including me, have Facebook Pages. This is true for my buddy at There and Back Again, someone who is in even more into cycling than I am! Check him out he is worth the read and he has great pictures. But I digress. I mention him and Facebook, because this is where I saw this (Note, he got it from Bikesomewhere.com)
I love it, but I am not sure I 100% agree with it.
The picture is very true. Even though Michelle tries to tell me my bike’s name is Fred (I don’t name bikes) it can be an inanimate object. If you leave it be, it will just sit there. Its not like a cat that will force herself into your lap when you are reading.
Or a dog that will grab the leash and bring it to you regardless of the whether. If you don’t take the bike out of the shed, jump on the back and move your legs, nuthin is going to happen.
It is also correct, that as long as you maintain it, the bike doesn’t give a darn whether its 20 or 90 degrees outside, bright sunshine or pouring rain, ugly headwind or glorious tail wind, it will respond to whatever energy you put into it. In books like the black stallion (read these as a kid) you read about the heart of the horse, and its desire to win. You never read about that in bike epics.
But what you do read about, or better yet experience, is how you respond when on the bike.
Somedays, its a lazy easy pedal, like my 5 mile ride to my buddies birthday. It wasn’t a work out, it was just getting from one place to the other on a very nice January afternoon. Rides like this give you the best of both worlds. More exercise than a car, but no pain at all when done. I almost felt like a kid again tooling around the neighborhood just wasting time.
Ahhh, but then, then there are the days it does matter. The days you feel good, your legs are strong. The weather is perfect and all is right with the world. Or those days you are giving it all you have on a climb that most people think you are NUTS to do on 2 wheels sans an engine.
On days like these, I am one with the bike. I am talking to it out loud (no I do NOT call it Fred) I am asking it for one more big gear in the back, even if there isn’t one, or to give me all it has to reach the top. Or I am patting the frame telling it great job as I push for more and more speed.
But the true oneness, when butt melds to saddle, hands to the bars, feet to pedals, is the truly epic downhills. Ladies and gents, when you turn it loose, and hang on for dear life, threading the needle of smooth pavement on a mountain highway, bellowing out a song and hearing it echo off the walls, that inanimate object comes to life.
You can feel the bike’s joy as the tires spin ever faster and the frame hums. The way it responds faster than ever to the slightest lean. You and the bike are the wind and nothing aside from the bottom of the hill can stop you.
It’s the rides down from Sea Lion Caves on the Oregon Coast, from Sunrise in Mt Rainier, from the top of Chinook or Stevens Pass, from Windy Ridge at Mt St Helens, or from the rim of Crater Lake. Folks, to paraphrase an old Coors Commercial from my college days, these aint no city hills, these aint no flat land hills, these are MOUNTAINS. And when you have have climbed these suckers as high as you can on the bike, and get to start back down, there is nothing like it.
Many people think I am crazy, and say I could crash. Yep, I could, but I could also fall down the stairs in the office, (elevator would be safer) or get run over crossing the street (staying inside would be safer) or crash cycling home (car would be safer) …. Get the idea.
Yep it might be safer but not near as much fun, and the bike and I know and understand each other. It doesn’t want to crash any more than I do, so together we will make it work!
Yep, the picture above is right, a ride can pretty damn awesome, but I truly believe the bike has as much fun as you do! So get out there and enjoy!