Oh Gosh

So much has gone on.  Little to do with bicycles.  My father in law is in the hospital here in town.  Complications from a biopsy.  Should be fine, but he needs time to heal.  He and his wife arrived Thursday and we met them at the hospital.  Lacey was visiting with him yesterday and I thought I might not.  I was staying home to work, as needed, but soon changed my mind.  For a moment I ruminated on the many modes of transportation available to me (and all of their short comings).  I didn’t care to drive.  The bus route that works only ran during rush hour (it was lunch).  It was a bit too far to walk.  Pedaling was an obvious answer, but the weather was nasty.  Raining a bit and I don’t like taking bicycles out on salted roads.

I am reading Bike Snob’s book just now.  The first chapter covers the history of the bicycle.  Good enough.  The second chapter, though, divides the world into cyclists and fetishists.  Apparently I am a fetishist.  Because I care about bicycles enough to sometimes not ride them.  I know it is a joke.  Or maybe just a generalization.  Still, it felt kind of harsh.  I am careful with everything I own.  I bring something into my life and I think of the people who worked to make it come into being.  I think of the resources expended.  I think of the next owner.  I think of the effort I put into making it right.  All of this together sometimes stops me from taking a bicycle out in harsh conditions.  Whatever.  My definition of cyclist is more inclusive and, no surprise, includes me.

So I sat and thought about my father in law and my hang ups and my many bicycles.  I decided I could ride the Raleigh Sprite.  The perfect city bike for short errands.  I got it for free.  Spent nothing but time to make it right.  Few people find it interesting.  I don’t even mean to keep it, but there it is.  The weather wasn’t so bad.  Maybe it had rained enough to wash away the salt.  So I did it.  I pedaled it to the hospital.

Couldn’t have enjoyed the ride more.  Forties in January are always a treat.  A nice bicycle rack under cover at the hospital.  Embarrassing, but I always feel proud walking around with my bike helmet.  A little ego boost.  So what of it?  The Raleigh is a fun ride.  Unique and quirky.  Easy to tell you are on something different.  Standing to pedal requires extreme care lest my right knee shift the bike out of first gear.  The thing is geared so tall I need no other.

We had a nice visit, then Lacey left when I did, or very nearly so.  In my mind I was racing the motorist back home.  I obeyed all laws, but my bike was closer than her car.  I didn’t have to pay a fee to exit the garage.  I pedaled hard.  The rollers have helped me stay somewhat strong.  I won the race!  Turns out, though, the race was nowhere near fair.  Lacey  was detained leaving and then lost her car in the garage.  She arrived a full 30 minutes behind.  I had time to wipe off the bicycle, package up hummus and flatbreads and sit in the driveway and watch the crows congregating in neighboring trees.  Then Mahar’s.  Lacey’s mom isn’t much of a beer fan, but she did enjoy a small glass of Ommegang Adoration.  Turns out she has become a big supporter of Ommegang because of their opposition to fracking.  Cool woman, my mother in law.  So that’s that.  More hospital today.  Probably twice daily visits for most of the upcoming week.  Glad to be here to lend support.

Very sad to mention that our friend’s dog passed away.  Cancer.  We’d known her for 6 years and loved her so much.  One of those strong, quiet and noble dogs that really get under my skin.  Frida loved her, too.  We’ll miss her so much.

Please take good care of yourselves.  Maybe drink just one beer, or two, rather than three or more.  And feel free to replace beer in that sentence with whatever thing you love that is wonderful in moderation but maybe troublesome when you enjoy too much of it.  OK?

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2 responses to “Oh Gosh

  1. You might consider asking the maker of one of your hand-built bikes his opinion of whether you should ride it in bad (for the bike) conditions. My experience is that the guys who make them are delighted if the users ride them no matter what. I sometimes share your reticence, but I overcome it by reminding myself that bicycles, as beautiful as they are, are meant to be used.

    Good to hear about Ommegang – their Belgian-style beers are sometimes better than the originals.

    • Thanks for writing, and you are right. Mike would love me to pedal his ANTs in the slop. Grant would love me to lend to my Rivendell’s some”beausage.” As much as I respect their opinions, though, I am pretty sure neither Mike nor Grant want to come clean my drivetrains and rims after each ride. I love pedaling outdoors, but I get enough on clear days. When it is bad out, working from home with a well stocked pantry make it easy to stay close to home. When I choose not to pedal outside, I fill in blanks with doing other things manually. Grinding bread flour in a hand cranked mill is surprisingly enjoyable. My dad is my sweeping guru and I am loving it more with each passing year. Shoveling, mowing and raking, too. Pedaling on the rollers is also good. Variety!

      Thanks again for writing. I hope you have a sunny day or three in your near future and then a messy one to remind you of all the fun that can be had near home.

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