Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

30 August 2014

The Day After: Flight

So far, so good. If yesterday's ride was smoother and faster than I anticipated, today's ride made me feel as if I had a smoother pedal stroke than Jacques Anquetil.

I had ridden Tosca, my fixed-gear Mercian, only twice since my accident, and each time for no more than a few kilometers.  So I wondered whether not being able to coast would allow me to ride pain-free for a second consecutive day.

Pain?  What pain?  I felt myself spinning faster and more fluidly with each kilometer I rode, up through Astoria and Harlem and Washington Heights and down the New Jersey Palisades to Jersey City and Bayonne, then along the North Shore of Staten Island to the ferry.

Once I got off the boat in Manhattan, I just flew, without effort.  Granted, a light wind blew at my back, but I was passing everything on two wheels that wasn't named Harley.  Really, I'm not exaggerating.  I even flew by those young guys in lycra on carbon bikes.  

What does that say about me--or Mercian bikes?

29 August 2014

To The Point: Recovery

Today I took my first ride of more than 35 km since the accident two weeks ago.

I could hardly have had a better day:  Scarcely a cloud interrupted the blue sky just as barely a whitecap broke the nearly calm sea.  Best of all, on a long straight stretch, I was pedaling into a 15-20 KPH wind that blew me almost home.

You might’ve guessed that I pedaled out to Point Lookout—on Arielle, my Mercian Audax.  Even with her sprightliness, I expected to slog through part of this ride as it would be, by far, the longest I’d taken since the accident.

But I should have known better, given that I was riding in such favorable conditions on a familiar ride and the bike on which I feel I have the most elan. Much to my surprise—and delight—I pedaled the 105 or so km in half an hour less than I took any other time I’ve done the ride this year.

Best of all, at the end of the ride, I wasn’t in any pain, even where I’d been bruised or on the spot under my rib cage where I felt a stab of pain, then days of throbbing, after the accident.

The forecast for tomorrow calls for somewhat warmer and more humid weather than we had today.  I think I’m ready for another invigorating ride.

28 August 2014

Gender Role On A Tandem?

Seeing a tandem on the road isn't quite as rare as a UFO sighting.  But it's uncommon enough that I tend to remember it for a while.

Therefore, I feel confident in saying this:  Every time I've seen a man and a woman riding a tandem, the man was the "captain" (in front) while the woman rode as the "stoker" behind him.

I confess that when I was a man and rode a tandem with a woman, I also took the front seat.  However, there was a very good reason for that:  She was blind.

Most men, though, don't have such a rationale.  They might argue that they have another:  Most of them are taller than their wives, girlfriends, daughters or other females who ride with them.  Now that I think of it, I wonder what Tammy and I would have done if we'd ridden a tandem:  She stood three inches (7.5 cm) taller than me but, as athletic as she was, I was still the stronger rider.

Which of us would have been the "captain" of this tandem?:

1996 Coventry Quadracycle For Two