Cheering myself up!
Am I an overweight dilettante dabbler in the bike world. However! I like bicycles! I like riding bikes! I like bike commuting! I like watching bike racing!
I love sticking a velcro thingie on my cuff and pedaling the 2 miles to work, looking at the mountains on a clear day and remembering why I like living where I do, smelling what the neighborhood smells like that morning (mown grass? New bark mulch? Barbecue? Rain on hot pavement? Blackberries coming in?), stopping to pick a handful of red huckleberries, and dragging my bike up the stairs and into my office. I love putting on raingear on pouring days and feeling impervious. I love smiling internally at the crazy students with their snazzy new fixed-gears with no brakes trying to trackstand at the red light, and the other students with the undersized mountainbike with their seat all the way down and knees hitting the handlebars because they’ve just started riding again after not doing so since they were 11 on their old BMX bike and don’t know any differently.
I like not being able to give anyone decent driving directions around town because I have no idea about freeway ramps and don’t really realize that you can’t drive through that park or over that pedestrian overpass. It’s like being 10 years old all the time.
I love busting out the ‘real ride’ gear in March and going much too far on the road so that my neck and wrists hurt and I get a ridiculous bike-glove shaped sunburn with the little opening on the back of the hand.
I love jumping on my mountain bike and heading into the woods and weaving between tree trunks and over roots and stopping to pull out binoculars to look at birds. I love the clicking sound of my White Industries hub. I love remembering to shift early enough to not stall on the damn hill on Cleveland trail; I love hanging back on the saddle to get enough traction with the back wheel and spinning in a teeny tiny little ring and getting up that bastard.
I like heading to the velodrome or the crit and hearing cowbells and watching riders bust their asses for lap primes from local shops-- socks and waterbottles. I like cheering for the 11-year old kid on the development team. I like knowing that my non-doping friend kicked ass in Redmond last weekend and may make Olympic tryouts. I love watching races in other countries where I can’t speak the language but have something in common with those chain-smoking coots around me and cheering for the hometown boy (Go, Sven Nijs!).
I love shrugging as I’m out on my old road bike and turning in towards the forest trails on its skinny little tires and having a ball and thinking again every summer that this winter I should try out cyclocross.