July 30, 2012 § 9 Comments
Here’s my trusty Giant Iguana bicycle, purchased in the early 1990′s.
It’s sensible and reliable, serves well for trips to the grocery store, visiting friends and going to the gym. Since it weighs about 100 pounds, it really should count as exercise by itself. Think of it as a mini van.
|A real giant iguana|
Here’s my other bike. It’s for “touring”. We bought it in 199-something from a friend for a song when our children were small and I had illusions about keeping up with them. Think of it as a Fiat Spider.
This bike’s sole purpose is to race around. Compared to the Giant Iguana, it is light as air. It requires special shoes, which I like because they make my feet look small, although they are hard to walk in.
Riding this bicycle also requires special clothes.
Note the gloves, fingerless so you can shift gears, and nice if you fall off because they protect your hands from scraping on the pavement, a.k.a., as my yoga teacher says, from bicycle stigmata.
There really should be protection for knees, too, because the special shoes “clip in”, meaning they snap onto the pedals. Disconnecting in an emergency usually takes longer than it takes to hit the ground. Knee pads, however, aren’t de rigueur. Look:
|Tour de France. Thank you Boston.com for the photo|
Perhaps road raspberries are a badge of honor? Or perhaps, if you crash the rest of you is so messed up your knees don’t matter?
I’m reading a novel about North Korea, The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson — really good by the way — which puts racy bikes into perspective. When fishermen in the book come across brand new Air Jordan Nikes floating in the ocean, they can’t figure out what they’re for. For exercise, one of them suggests. Imperialists drive everywhere and have so much food that they have to exercise or they get fat. Some even do it for fun.
It is fun.
Clearly though, there are simpler, cheaper, safer ways to exercise and have fun, even on a bicycle. So why ride a touring bike? And honestly, a fify-mmph woman riding a touring bike is maybe a little … ? OK, maybe downright foolish. Why, in fact, would anyone get on something with tires as wide across as dimes, balance on the white line on country roads while hay trucks suck you into their wake, pickup truck drivers give you the finger, and Buick drivers honk and brush your shoulder with their mirrors?
I think it makes more sense for an old person to ride one of these risky business machines than a young one. Squish your private parts on that hard seat for a couple hours and for sure you’re going to jeopardize the next generation, and besides, if you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t want to do things that might cut your time on earth short. Of course, none of us wants to do anything that would make us a burden to our children.
Let’s just say, people who ride this way are optimists.
And beside, it’s — anyone want to fill in here? I have my reasons, but this post is getting long, so I’ll pull a Charles Dickens Serial: To Be Continued.
If you ride a lightweight bike, and clip in and all the rest, why do you do it? If you don’t, feel free to try to talk sense into me, but be forewarned, I’m in pretty deep.
This is part of an ongoing series from my other blog, Week 15 of 104 rides in 52 weeks. Some readers are having trouble with Blogspot, so I’m in the process of combining the two. Last week rode/commuted 7 times. Grand total since April 15 start date: 42 (12 rides in the bank).
March 13, 2012 § 7 Comments
What’s on your bookshelf/kindle/Ipod this month?
Here are my February/March reads:
Nonfiction: Nomi Prins “It Takes A Pillage.” Prins, who worked for investment banking firms for ten years (Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers), is a rollicking muckraker now. If you want insider information about the run-up to, as she calls it, the Second Great Depression, this is pretty good. It’s practically an encyclopedia of who did what and when. She is a self-proclaimed liberal who believes in wealth distribution, which sounds bad if you’re a Republican, but her 5-point plan for reforming the banking system has even conservatives nodding their heads in agreement that she’s got it about right.
Her new book is an historical novel based on the first Great Depression:
(It’s on my reading list.)
Escapist Fiction: Justin Cronin’s “The Passage”, an absorbing page-turner, if you have the time (800 pages). How to describe it? A “Twilight” book for adults? Inspired by his daughter’s request that he write about a girl who saves the world, Cronin’s book has the feel of legend, in a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi adventure setting. It’s not as dark as a Cormack McCarthy novel, but the first 100 pages were bleak enough that I almost put it down. Glad I didn’t.
What’s your book of the month? I love feedback and suggestions and am always looking for a good read.