Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

24 April 2014

Naked Bike Ride In Portsmouth

I have cycled up several Alpine and Pyrennean peaks, as well as mountains in Vermont, Pennsylvania, California, Nevada and upstate New York.  And I am not boasting when I say that I've done other things most people wouldn't try.  As a result, some people say that I have courage.

If I do, it has its limits.  You see, there's something I'm not quite ready to do yet:  a naked bike ride.

Naked bike rides are held all over the world.  However, one place I think I'd like to take such a ride is Portsmouth, England, which will host one on 24 May.

Portsmouth is on the south coast of England and is the only island city of the UK.  According to some surveys, it has the largest percentage of LGBT people of any city in the country.  And it's also considered, perhaps not coincidentally, as one of Albion's centers of environmental and "green" movements.

That last fact has a lot to do with the ride:  Its organizers want to call attention to unsustainable fossil fuel use as well as other practices that are ruinous to our planet.

I love the idea although I'm not sure, exactly, of what a naked bike ride has to do with environmentalism.  Maybe it has to do with riding in our natural state.  Then again, the riders paint their bodies and wear things we don't bring with us into this world. 

Anyway, I wish all the folks in Portsmouth a good ride!

N.B.:  The photos in this post are from last year's Naked Ride in Portsmouth.

23 April 2014

Embarking With A Koala

If you've been following this (or my other) blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I like to tell stories about myself.  You've also probably noticed that I like to tell stories about other people, and times and places other than my own, especially if those stories have been untold or forgotten.

That is one reason why I've written posts about (or in which I mention)  Beryl Berton, Nancy Burghart, Sue Novara, Rebecca Twigg, Jeannie Longo, Paola Pezzo and other prominent female cyclists.

And, yes, this post will be about another. But it will also touch upon a topic--a nation and culture, really--I've never mentioned:  Australia.  This omission does not come from any sort of bias; it has mainly to do with the fact that I've never been anywhere near the world's smallest continent or sixth-largest country, depending on how you look at it.

Nearly everything I know about it comes from reading and chance encounters with Australians in other parts of the world, including my own home town.  One of the few things I know is that the Aussie population--about a tenth of that of the US, even though the two countries are roughly the same size--includes a disproportionate number of long-distance cyclists.  That's not so surprising when you consider Australians' affinity for sports and outdoor activities and the fact that so much of the country is undeveloped.

One of those riders was someone named Billie Samuels.  I have been trying to find some information on her, to no avail. I guess I have to look in actual book (I think I can still do that) of Australian cycling history.

I learned of her only through stumbling over the photos I've included here.  Whoever she is, I want to know more because, hey, how could you not want to learn about someone who starts a ride from Sydney to Melbourne with a koala mascot on her handlebars?

(The photos in this post come from Vintage Everyday.

22 April 2014


We've all taken one of those rides in which we can feel our whole bodies loosening up and everything within us opening and expanding.  At least, I hope you've taken at least one such ride in your life.

I did, yesterday.  It was one of those clear, breezy and mild spring days that so many of us dream about during the short days and long months of winter.  And, naturally, I took another ride to Point Lookout.

It seemed as if the sea and sky were stretching even further than I ever imagined they could.  But something else happened that I don't recall having experienced before


i could almost feel my bike--Arielle--stretching her wings, as it were, and taking in the air and light.  The day seemed to liberate her as much as it did me.

It used to be (and perhaps it still is) that the highest compliment someone could pay a bike is that it felt like an extension of his or her body while riding it.  I felt something even better:  Arielle was an extension of me and seemed to be experiencing the same sensations I had.

And, as always, she looked great.

By the way, I want to make another plug for Ely Rodriguez's Ruth Works bags.  I think the Brevet bag you see on the handlebar is becoming my favorite bag of all time.