Stuff

Last weekend I took my Mom and my kids to Florida. It was, essentially, Mom’s last trip down there. It was draining–both physically and mentally. I’m glad I did it, but it was as draining as my last trip, if not more so. I’ll try to write about it some time, but I make no promises. It was very painful and sad, and I’m not sure I’ll have the patience to write about it, and this really isn’t the venue for it, anyway.

This week I finally got my running leg. It’s freakin’ awesome. And it’s also a little bit…I don’t know how to put it. Maybe ‘uncomfortable’ is the right word. Not physically uncomfortable, but psychologically so. Every other leg I’ve ever had has looked more or less like a normal leg. Even my swimming leg (which I did manage to use for a few laps down in Florida–and promptly ripped the big toe off of it. Maybe I do need to write a little bit about the trip after all) with its adjustable ankle is nevertheless leg shaped. This leg is not. When I’m wearing it it’s quite obvious I’m an amputee. And while I’m comfortable writing about it, and talking about it with my friends (and occasionally with strangers), I confess to a bit of awkwardness in living it.

It won’t stop me from getting up and doing some running with it, but it’s something I’ll have to work through to do it.

So now I have all my hardware, and I have an oversized wheeled gym bag that fits both legs quite nicely, so I’ll be able to carry them with me to whatever event I’ll be going to next. I’ve joked around a bit that I’m like a golfer with a bag of clubs, but I think the more accurate analogy is a bowler with a bag of balls that he uses for different lanes.

And the training’s about to start. A week from Monday I’ll start my swimming lessons, and I’m also signed up for a seven week training program with physical therapy students from a local college as part of their Orthotics and Prosthetics course, so we’ll be helping each other out. Apparently there will be other amputee athletes there as well, which is cool. I’ve never met any others, so this will be a first for me.

And what’s really interesting right now is how little I’m dreading this. Every time I’ve start a new project like this I have had a sense of dread. That’s not the case here. I’m actually looking forward to these events. I wish they would start sooner. Is this how most people feel?

I could get used to this.

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Gordon

The next chapter in my tale of riding up Mount Washington. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to tell a story that doesn’t involve tons of backstory. But that day is not today.

§§§§§§

I believe I first met Gordon in 1975, or maybe 1976. His family moved in down the street from me. Gordon was quirky and brilliant. Just like me, except for the brilliant part. He and I were in the same grade at high school, and since we rode the same school bus home, we tended to hang out together a lot. We slowly became fast friends.

After graduation, we went to different colleges, but in the same town, so our friendship continued, although we did start to grow distant at that point–mostly because our lives were taking us places where we rarely interacted. We did still have some contact with each other, mostly letters and phone calls, but the last time I had seen Gordon was 1993, at my wedding.

So, in the spring of 2008, I was a bit worried about calling him and asking if we could come stay with him for a few days. Gordon was now a high school English teacher and a poet, but he also had a farm. I hadn’t seen, or even talked to him, in years. Turned out I needn’t have worried. “Why not a week?” was his reply.

Gordon’s farm is much like Gordon: quirky and brilliant. He and his wife raise Gypsy Cobs, but the farm also includes purebred short-hair collies, dozens of free-range chickens in all sorts of brilliant colors and sizes, and guinea fowl, which are not only beautiful but useful, as their idea of a delicious meal is as many ticks as they can find. Their only drawback is their call, which sounds like someone’s cutting sheet metal with a jigsaw. Plus, they had a large patch of land that they converted into a vegetable garden.

Me, and G., and baby E

Someplace in the mid ’80’s, Gordon was diagnosed with MS. He didn’t like the way the medication was making him feel, so he decided to stop taking it, and start a program of diet and exercise to combat the symptoms. It worked. He started riding his bicycle competitively. And, he became a vegetarian. So, between the eggs his hens lay and the garden, he and his wife were growing a portion of the food they ate.

His wife was also new–well, new to me. One of the things he had done since I got married, was get married himself. I had never met her before that day. She was as quirky and brilliant as Gordon, and their affection for each other was obvious. Plus, she was a cut-throat Scrabble and Boggle player.

One afternoon while we were all hanging out, I asked Gordon to tell me the story of how they met and how they got together. It’s one of my things: I like to hear proposal stories.  Gordon told me that they had met in the late ’90’s, at the height of Gordon’s bicycling career. When they met, he had already climbed Mount Washington twice, but both times he had been stymied by that last 50 yard 22.5-degree climb, having to stop, and push his bike across the finish line.

I’ve mentioned before that the Mount Washington Auto Road is so long, steep, and winding, that you are not allowed to ride your bike back down the hill. Everyone who climbs it has to have someone at the top with a vehicle to carry both rider and bike back down. For his third ride, Cheryl agreed to be at the top for him.

This time, Gordon didn’t stop. He dug down deep, and with the last bit of strength, made it to the top, where Cheryl was waiting for him. “I collapsed in her arms,” he told me, “and while she was holding me, I asked her to marry me.”

“It’s a good thing you fell to your right, rather than your left,” I told him. “Otherwise, you’d be married to some random volunteer dude.”

That’s what I said. But his story did something else to me. As he told it, I heard a voice in my head. “You’re doing that,” the voice said. “You’re going to do that.”

The voice startled me. I have no idea where it came from.

I ignored it.

For a while.

Saturday, April 30

Today’s ride: 1:47:56 Distance: 30.67 miles

I’m buying a lot of gloves and tail lights.

The tail lights I’ve talked about. I broke one hitting a pothole. Another one fell off hitting another pothole.* Since I ride a lot in the early morning, I really want to make sure I’m seen, so I’ve gone and plunked down more money for yet another tail light. I think this one has promise. It’s shaped differently, so hopefully it won’t get jammed up against the rear tire if I hit another pothole. Or maybe I should just do a better job avoiding potholes.

The gloves are a different story. The pair I had last year were hard and crusty from a year of riding, so I purchased a new pair of bio-gel fingerless riding gloves. Then I started going to spinning class, where I sweat so much it becomes difficult for me to keep my hands on the handlebars, so I started bringing the gloves to that class, where they got all sweaty and uncomfortable when they don’t dry fast enough, so I bought another similar pair. Then, since it’s quite cold in the morning, I purchased a third pair–my heavy, two-fingered Zoidberg gloves, which have helped me stay warm. Even if I’m not wearing enough layers elsewhere, I’ve found that putting on those gloves goes a long way toward keeping me warm.

But as they days get slowly warmer, there’s going to be times when the fingerless gloves (hobo gloves, my son calls them–who nonetheless has a pair for himself)  will be too little, and the Zoidbergs will be too much–or just be too freakin’ ugly. That’s why, when I purchased the tail light, I bought yet another pair of cycling gloves–medium weight, full fingered, which use this cool technology which makes them glow like lightsabers when headlights hit them.** This brings my cycling glove total to six for this year (the four mentioned, plus a pair of hobo gloves each for the kids).

I used my new gloves for my ride today. It was a sunny day, and relatively warm, but it was colder by the lake, which I where I rode today. I rode a route called ‘The Pickle’ for reasons unknown to me. It goes from Webster Park in Webster, to B. Forman Park in Pultnyville and back. A straight shot, on a rolling road that goes past lakeside McMansions, old estates, vineyards, orchards, and the occasional nuclear power plant. Okay, there’s only one of those, but I have to pass the damned thing twice.

I think the real Pickle starts at a specific point in Webster Park so that the route is exactly 30 miles, but I don’t know where that point is, so I just park in a little pullover spot, strap on my helmet and start from there.

I’m a little bit cold when I start out, but figure I’ll warm up as I ride. I set a very fast pace for myself. I averaged 17.1 MPH for the ride, and that’s without ever going faster than 28–no long, fast downhills on this ride.

I made it to Pultneyville–15.335 miles from where I started–in under 52 minutes. I stop long enough to have some water, watch some kids get their Pultneyville prom pictures taken in the park, put on a windbreaker,*** and head back. I could have stopped earlier, but I was feeling strong, strong but cold, and I only wanted to stop once, so I figures I’d wait.

And I did feel fine for the ride back, although I was thoroughly gassed by the time I got back to the car. I finished my second bottle of water, and climbed into my car.

It was then that I really started feeling the cold. Driving in the sunlight, with the windows cold and the heater up full, I was shivering. I hadn’t brought a change of clothes. I was riding in sweat-soaked shirts, and I was cold. As soon as I got home, I shed my clothes–and believe me, three removing layers of sweat-soaked, skin tight artificial fabrics is very much a shedding operation–and crawled under the blankets for a good long while. How long, I know not, since I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I squeegeed my clothes into the washer, and made a very decadent dinner of oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and nutmeg, with chocolate raspberry milk for dessert. I tried to watch a little TV, but that’s just making me sleepy again.

If my clothes are dry enough, I’ll do a short ride tomorrow before hitting the spin class. But now to sleep. Hope I don’t hit any potholes tomorrow.

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*I’m getting a real good look at ‘our crumbling infrastructure.” Especially on the edges of the road.

**Not why I bought them, but geeky cool nonetheless.

***I have a well-packed gear bag, which contains, among other things, a bright orange windbreaker that folds up nicely into one of its zippered pockets for easy transport.

Monday, March 14

Five months. 11 days till the rubber hits the (very steep) road.

Man, I’ll be glad when I can once again post time and distance on this blog. Winter’s been extraordinarily stubborn this year. Actually, I lie. It’s this bad every year. March is known for its changeable weather. I just wish it would change. My mom used to say “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb.” In Rochester, March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a slightly smaller lion.Too cold, too dark, too much ice for me to ride outside.

So I did more time on a stationary bike. I didn’t do the spin class. I used one of the programmable bikes in the cardio room instead. Actually, I used two of them. All the upright bikes were being used when I got to the gym, so I grabbed a recumbent bike and pedaled that one til one of the others opened up. I don’t like recumbents. My son Fred wants to buy one, but it just feels uncomfortable and somehow wrong to be sitting like that and pedaling. But I did it for seven minutes, which is how long it took for an upright to become available.

On both bikes I did the same routine: I cranked up the resistance until it hurt and kept it there. And I kept my rpms up around 90 as well. I kept it up there for 27 minutes. I wanted to go like that for a full 30, but I was nearly gassed. So I dropped the resistance down for a minute, then increased the resistance again, until for the last minute, I was cranking harder than I had before.

Here’s the thing: the low level I set–the break I took–was at a level I could not have sustained in my forties. And that was my ‘easy’ setting today. Wow.

§§§

Last night I dreamed about running. More accurately, I had a dream in which I was running. I was in a field, near some familiar woods. I was moving along at a lope–the proper speed for running in an uneven field. I ran easy and pain-free.

This is an unusual dream for me. I can only think of two types of dreams where my ability to move is a major factor: in the first, I’m flying. Actually, it’s more like a glide. It usually starts with me falling down some stairs, and there’s often something at the bottom which will make my crash landing even more painful than a regular crash. But near the end of the fall I twist my body, and swoop away with the realization that I’ve always known how to do this–I just forgot I knew about it. The second dream isn’t so good. In these dreams, I can’t run. At least, not well. My leg just won’t let me. But I need to move fast, so I get down on my hands and scramble in the dirt on all fours. In these dreams I’m able to keep up–to move as fast I need to–but I’m always embarrassed that I have to do it like a dog.

I don’t ever remember a dream where I’m running. Not like this one. It felt good. I miss it. I didn’t have to devote a portion of my awareness to the position of my leg. To wondering what’s underneath it–what’s it tangled up in. No thought to whether there’s a slight dip or rise to the land that will throw off my balance. No concern about ice under my heel, sliding my leg right out from under me with no mechanism to stop the fall. Or if I’m sitting, will it be in someone’s way? Will someone trip over it? Am I kicking someone’s leg?  Getting in and out of a car, or a booth at a restaurant, or even sitting at a production console–all have challenges. You have no idea how many plugs I’ve kicked out under desks.

That’s my life. Every minute–every second–of every waking moment, part of my mind is on my leg. Last night, I ran. I ran free.

Good omen.

Thursday, September 23

This morning’s ride: 41:59 Distance: 10.9 miles

It was a much colder morning than yesterday. I really didn’t notice the weather much, though. I had many thoughts going through my head. Some were worries. Some were joys. Other thoughts could only be descrbed as pleasant anticipation. And there were a few stray strands of dread rolling through the mental fabric of the morning ride.

I’ve taken riding by myself about as far as I can. In fact, I’ve probably gone a little stale. The same routes, the same energy levels. I’m going to need to kick it up some more. And for that I’m going to need help. And for help, I’m going to need money.

I’ve got a pretty decent first draft of a letter written. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to have some stills taken this weekend. I’ve got a pitch packate to assemble. I’ve got to tell folks why sponsoring my ride will help their company.

Anyone have any ideas about that?

Thursday September 2

This morning’s ride: 37:59 Distance: 10.21 miles

It was a pretty uneventful ride through the city this morning. It felt hard to move, but when I checked my time, it’s the second-fastest I’ve ever done this route. Still, I felt sluggish.

Which was ironic.

I used to smoke. I did it for years. I had to; I went to grad school in North Carolina. When I went down there for my first semester, a cop stopped me at the border. “Welcome to Nawth Cahlahna,” he said. “Deyeeuw smoke?”

“No,” I told him.

“Wheyell, ya deu nayah,” he said, and dropped a carton of Marlboros in my lap.

I’m lying, of course. It was only a couple of packs. And they were Newports. Not really. But it was just about that bad. They used to give them away on street corners. You could buy a pack for less than a buck. And I smoked right up to 2005–longer than I wanted to, actually. One of the things that kept me smoking was my porch. I would get the kids on the bus, and then sit on my front porch with my cup of coffee-flavored cream and sugar, and have a cigarette. I couldn’t imagine sitting on my porch without a cigarette. I loved that feeling–partially buzzed, but relaxed. It’s great.

I bring this up because I get that same feeling when I sit on my porch after a good ride. Especially in the morning, when it’s quiet–just me the birds, and the occasional dog walker and dumpster diver. I sit and drink the rest of my water and feel partially buzzed, but relaxed.

I was doing that this morning when I noticed it. It was on my porch. At first I thought it was a stick, or perhaps a seed pod from a honey locust. It was about a foot long, and maybe half an inch in diameter, and ohmygoditsaslug.

A slug. A slimy, brown, loooong slug. Ewww.

No. Not a slug. TWO slugs. Two slugs and they’re doing the nasty. Even more of an ewwww.

Two six-inch slugs, doing the horizontal mambo on my porch. So much for buzzed and relaxed. These things were huge–tropical jungle huge.

My head was filled with ‘I don’t’s: I don’t want them on my porch, I don’t want them in my yard, I don’t want to touch them, and I certainly don’t want them making baby mutant slugs on my property.

I did want to take their pictures, though. That’s how I roll.

"Say Cheese"

So I went inside and got my camera. I also looked for my salt, because salt kills slugs. I have a big canister of salt, but I couldn’t find it. So I grabbed the salt shaker from the table, and went back out. I took a few more pictures, then applied the salt. They just sort of sat there. It was pepper. I had grabbed the wrong shaker.

I went back inside, got the right shaker, and quickly ended their slimy lives. I felt better. Except I now had two well seasoned, dead gastropods on my porch. that I didn’t want to touch.

It was going to be one of those days. Man, I needed a smoke.

Wednesday, September 1

This morning’s ride: 38:40  Distance 10.63 miles

It was almost warm at 5:30AM, even though it was still quite dark. I think we’re in the last of the hot weather for the year. I hope so, although I’m not looking forward to riding in the cold rains of autumn. This bike is especially adept at bad weather riding, I’m told. I’m not so sure about its rider, though. Plus I’d have to start buying some more stuff to wear.

There’s something about cycling that brings out the garish in one’s fashion sense. I guess it comes from the desire to be visible enough to not become a speedbump. I see a lot of cyclists wearing lots and lots of highly chromatic colors–shades that aren’t readily available in nature. Used to be, I’d see them and I’d just think ‘eww.’ Truthfully, I still think ‘eww,’ but there’s a part of me that wonders where they got it, how much it costs, and do they have it in my size.

Take this morning. As it so often does, my ride took me down to the canal path. It’s nice having a place to ride that’s so safe so close to my home. Plus, there’s not a lot of traffic on it in the pre-dawn. Or, at least you’d think that was the case. I’ve passed a whole bunch of pedestrians and runners in the wee hours, plus there was yesterday’s recumbent racer. As I got to the canal path this morning, I saw a lanternfish.

Of course, it really wasn’t a deep-sea creature, but it was lit up like one. I was still about 100 yards away when I saw it slithering along the canal trail. It was pretty obvious that I was moving faster than it was, so in about a minute I was able to tell that it was actually three riders. The lead rider had a decent light, a headlight, a tail light, reflectors, and reflective clothes. The middle rider had no lights, but there were reflectors on the bike. I could tell, because the rider on the tail was lit. I mean Christmas-tree lit. I mean lit up like a left-coast Kenworth. The bike had a floodlight that probably cost $200 if not more, three tail lights, and an electric shirt. There were lights in the shirt. The three were riding in this order so that the middle rider could see and be seen, I guess.

And yes, a part of me wants an electric shirt now.

As I said, I caught up with them fairly quickly. They didn’t see me coming. They were putting out so much candlepower that my measly little lights didn’t have a chance. I got behind them and, after a few moments, I politely dinged my bell.

“Good morning!” I called as I started past them.

“Morning,” muttered three distinctly feminine voices.

Ohhh. Ladies.

All of a sudden, I became charming. “Rush hour traffic,” I said. “Doncha just hate it?” This was met with a small amount of laughter. “I’d ride along with ya,” I continued, “but I forgot my sunscreen.” More polite titters, and I was gone.

In other news, my back’s still bothering me a bit. I went to a new chiropractor today, one that does more than just ‘adjust’ joints. This one actually uses traction for spinal alignment. She’s been working with a couple of friends of mine–people who take very good care of their bodies, and they swear by her. She’s fairly expensive, and the only way I’ll be able to afford her is if I can get Workers Compensation to pay for it, since there’s a very good chance that my back problems are directly related to my having only one leg. I’ll keep you posted.

July 25-31

July 25: 52:23 Distance: 13.75 Miles

July 26: 39:21 Distance: 12.08 Miles

July 27: 57:04 Distance: 15.77Miles

July 29: 1:01:22 Distance: 16.15 Miles

July 30: 1:11:12 Distance: 20.02 Miles

July 31: 1:44:40 Distance: 30.07 Miles

July was a pretty eventful month for me, in the bicycling arena. I rode 100 miles or more three out of the four full weeks of the month. This week was my highest amount at 107.84 miles. For the month, I rode more than 380 miles, taking nearly 24 hours to do it. One full day of the month was devoted to cycling.

July 27 was a special day: that was the day I put my thousandth mile on this bike. It happened at 7:37 AM. I was riding uphill at the time.

Everything about the incident was oddly symbolic or symmetrical: The first mile I put on this bike was on Tuesday, April 27th, and now here on Tuesday August 27th, I’m putting my thousandth mile on it.

It gets better: From April 27 to July 27 is 92 days. On April 27 I started my ride at 6am, which meant that at the rate of speed that I was riding back then, it would have taken me five minutes to ride a mile, so let’s say I hit that mile at 6:05 am. My thousandth mile was recorded one hour and thirty-two minutes later, at 7:37. I rode a thousand miles in 92 days and 92 minutes.

To give myself an idea of how far I’ve ridden this bike, I used The Google to map out a thousand-mile bike trip. Had I left my house in Rochester, NY and ridden due west for a thousand miles. I would have ended up at Yellow Banks Park in Des Moines, Iowa, on the bank of the North River.  Had I headed south, I would have ended up at 3036 Point Street, the very last lot before I hit the ocean at Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

I think I’d rather head south.

July 12-17

July 12: 1:09:04 Distance: 19.45 miles

July 14: 39:00 Distance: 10.17 miles

July 15: 3:25:20 Distance: 52.27 miles

July 17: 1:15:05 Distance 20.15 miles

I took the week off from work. I’ve never taken a vacation like this while the kids were away, but I thought I should. I wanted to do two things: work on my house, and ride. I didn’t do either as much as I wanted.

Ever heard of ‘paralysis by analysis?’ I had that in spades. I was very aware that if I rode, I wouldn’t be working on the house, and if I worked on the house, I wouldn’t be riding. So doing either was, in my mind, a bit of a cheat, because I wasn’t doing something I wanted to do. Plus there were other things I wanted to do to, like read and relax. Which I couldn’t do because how could I relax when I should be working on my house or riding my bike?

This took up most of Monday–although I did get a nice ride in. One thing that riding does for me is clear my mind a bit. I suppose that’s why I have such a problem getting on the bike–who wants clarity when you can muddle along in uncertainty? I also did some work on my house.

Tuesday morning started out much the same. I lay in bed, not knowing what do to. Since it was on the night stand, I picked up a book–a birthday present from my former sister-in-law: Manhood for Amateurs, by Michael Chabon. I hadn’t read it yet, and wasn’t really interested in reading it now, but it was there, and reading it was better than just laying there.

The second page of the book–right between the dedication and the table of contents–was a single quote from GK Chesterton:

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

That was it! That was the key. I got up and started working on the house. I worked all day on it. I spent most of it on a ladder in my back yard, scraping paint, pulling rusty nails, and replacing rotted out siding. I did it badly.

Because I’m a perfectionist.

When most people think of perfectionists, they envision someone who works and works and works until every little thing is right, every last detail is covered, every ‘t’ is crossed, every ‘i’ is dotted…and then they go over it one more time, just to make sure it’s right. And maybe one more time after that. That is perfectionism–but it’s only one type of it. We can call it ‘type A.’

Type ‘B’ perfectionism is the flip side of that. It’s the person who looks at a task and in some part of their brain they think: ‘I can never do this perfectly, and it can only be done perfectly, so why should I even try?’ Usually, type ‘B’s grow up around one or more ‘A’s.

At least, I did.

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

This was a revelation. I didn’t have to do it perfectly! I could suck at it and still do it! It became my mantra for the rest of the day. I didn’t get nearly as much done as I hoped, and I didn’t do it nearly as well as I wanted. And I never got on my bike. No problem!

Wednesday, I got up early and rode with my friend Scott. Well, part of the way with Scott. The foolish man played two hours of ultimate frisbee the night before, and was on some sort of testosterone high when I asked him if he wanted to ride the next morning.

By my reckoning, Scott’s a young man–he’s in his thirties. And, although 40 is the new 20, 30’s still 30. It’s the decade where one really and truly stops looking forward to birthdays. He discovered (or more likely, rediscovered) what being in one’s thirties really means that morning, and rode home to Sportscreme and ibuprofen about two miles into the ride.

Thursday’s ride may not be as impressive as it looks. It was actually broken up into segments of 15 miles, 16 miles, and 22 miles, with a break of about an hour in between each ride. I had meetings in two towns east of here. Actually, the second ride was only supposed to be 11 miles, but I took a wrong turn. Hook road doesn’t hook quite the way Mapmyride.com showed it on the map. So it’s maybe not as impressive as my relatively nonstop 51-mile ride.

Or maybe it is. That birthday ride was relatively flat. I mapped it that way. This ride, on the other hand had some hills. Especially the aptly-named High Street in Victor, which has three separate inclines, which surprised me, because when I looked at the incline map, I thought I only saw two. And the third was the steepest. I don’t usually shout out epithets to geographical formations, but that last hill was the target of more than one F-bomb.

When I finally made it home, I sat on my front porch and finished my water, and promptly fell asleep. I figured that wasn’t the best thing to do for the afternoon, so I went inside–and promptly fell asleep on the couch. When I awoke, I realized I needed to add another item to my cycling kit: sunscreen. I’ve done most of my cycling at dawn (or before), or in the evening. My mid-day ride crisped me up pretty good.

I took Friday off from riding because I figured I needed to, but I made sure I rode at least 20  miles on Saturday. The previous week I logged 100 miles on my bike, and I wanted to replicate the feat.

At the beginning of the week, I was tractionless, spinning in place, unsure what to do. By the end of the week, a 20-mile ride to ensure a hundred-mile week was met with little more than a shrug. In the world outside my head, very little had changed around me, other than some repair work on the back of my house. Yet inside my head, there was a world of difference.

Perception is everything.

Anything worth doing…

July 6-8

July 6: Morning ride: 38:30 Distance: 10.23 Miles • Afternoon Ride: 44:50  Distance: 12.13 Miles

July 7: Morning ride: 40:09 Distance: 10.23 Miles • Afternoon Ride: 44:04  Distance: 12.13 Miles

July 8: Morning ride: 40:19 Distance: 10.23 Miles

That window took a long time to fix.

Actually, it didn’t take that long. The waiting for the right part took a while. So I biked to work and back each day. The trip to work was shorter than the return trip because in the morning I take a road with a lot of retail shops on it. None of those shops are open at 7am, so the road’s fairly empty. It’s crawling with traffic in the evening, so I ride the canal path instead. More miles, but less chance of being made into a speed bump.

I hadn’t really prepared well for three days of carlessness. I had assumed that my car would be fixed relatively quickly, so when I dropped the car off on Monday afternoon, I had first stopped at work and dropped off a bag in which I had a pair of khakis, a nice shirt, some underwear,* and my shoes. I didn’t buy panniers when I bought my new bike, thinking I could use the ones I had on my old bike. Which I do, but they’re ugly, dusty, and a pain to attach. I planned on getting the car back Tuesday, and lugging the bag and bike back home together.

When the end of the day came on Tuesday, my friend/car dealer offered me a car from his lot, but I decided I would cycle home, and then get my car the next day. I do have a rather large rack bag that sits behind my seat, so when I rode home, I stuffed my underwear and shirt in there and left the pants and shoes at work. The next morning I replaced the worn clothes with fresh ones, and just wore the same pants. I did the same thing Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, I was ready to get my car back. There’s a difference between choosing to cycle to work, and being forced to do it. I was getting tired of it. Luckily, the car was fixed early in the day on Thursday, and I didn’t need to cycle home. I was so happy, I took Friday off. From cycling. And work, too, but that was something I had already planned on doing.

§§§§§§

*Cuz we don’t wear nothin’ under our bike shorts. There’s a reason for that.