Still

Yesterday I inflated the tires on my 1992 Bridgestone XO-1.  They’d been left to deflate for at least a year.  The 23-year old original tires popped and pinged with each stroke of the pump.  Despite their symphony of complaints, the tires seem to be in good shape.  Still, I kept a close eye on them as I brought them up to 90 psi.

IMG_1958

I love this bicycle.  I bought it new in 1992 at Olympia Cycles in Omaha.  Its first years saw it transported in or on a car to local trails built on unused railway lines.  Then it was my primary fair weather commuter for two years starting in 2003.  I knew people liked XO-1s but I didn’t know how much they liked them.  If I did, I may not have been as carefree when I rode it.  Even so, I use all things gently and it shows in this bicycle.  It rarely saw wet roads and I parked it carefully, so the paint is in great shape.  All parts are original and the chain is within spec.  It rides like a dream.

I pedaled it for four miles yesterday.  At 52cm, this bicycle is too small by my current thinking.  The bars are significantly below the seat, resulting in the raciest position of any bicycle in my collection.  I was surprised at how comfortable I was, but more than four miles would have changed my mind.  I enjoyed crisp indexed shifts.  The high pressure slicks roll like crazy.  The caliper brakes with original pads stop well.  The pearlescent paint sparkles in the sun.  The Avocet Racing seat is so very comfortable (this was my first Avocet and I now buy most every good example I notice on eBay in order to have a good supply of them).  I am a fan of Nitto mustache bars.

It was a perfect ride but for the truck that tried to herd me into the curb in Washington Park.  The driver started a safe pass with a generous move to the left but as he pulled alongside me he moved sharply right. He snuggled up to within six inches and was still coming so I slowed to get behind him and avoid a bad ending.  No oncoming traffic or other hazards, so it felt intentional.  I asked him to stop and he did.  He said he didn’t nearly run me off the road.  I see.  I should of known a conversation would help neither of us, so I admitted my inferiority and fallibility and carried on.  It wasn’t as tidy as this, but that’s my story.  Myself and my XO-1 were untouched.  My anger quickly dissipated.IMG_1962

[Not my sign, but I like it.]

Each day I find myself less surprised by self-serving perceptions and carelessness.  On my part as well as on the part of others.  I have not devolved to the point of expecting bad behavior, but the trend line is troubling.  I work to see clearly, from perspectives other than my own, and care deeply.  I work to stay positive.  At the end of each ride, I try to remember that all but one or two motorists passed safely.  Most people care enough.  I should give equal or even proportionate space in my mind to my good and careful neighbors, but it isn’t easy.  I’ll keep working.

Should I stop writing about scary experiences while pedaling?  It helps me to write about them but how does it make you feel?  Does it make you scared to pedal in your city?  While it is good to be ever vigilant, good to know you have to look out for yourself, it isn’t fun to be scared.  Pedaling can and should be fun.  I enjoy it so very much and want you to as well.  If these kind of posts bum you out, say the word and I will skip over them.  Maybe I will even if you don’t ask.   There is enough fear out there without me adding to the pile.  Onward.

Happy?  Lacey and I just made a donation to the Farm Animal Sanctuary.  They have an adopt a turkey program designed to grab your attention at Thanksgiving.  It got mine.  I loved reading the story of Turpentine the turkey.  You?

Another beautiful fall day is on tap.  I will leave you with wishes for good health and boundless joy.

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2 responses to “Still

  1. THOSE HANDLEBARS! Loved your description of that bike.
    You wrote “I have not devolved to the point of expecting bad behavior.” I’m not sure I would use the word “devolved” here. I’m at the point where I expect bad behavior, I have been for years. I like to think it keeps me safer. I see Right Hooks coming. I see doors opening. Because I expect them, because I look for them. & sure, it infringes on my ability to just enjoy the ride. But I can’t tell you the last time I felt I needed to yell at a driver because I’ve just dodged the entire situation. Expecting bad behavior could be a kind of “defensive riding.”
    All that said. You balance the good with the bad. Keep it up.

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