One or two things I know about cycling

Broken chainring

Guess what? It IS possible to break a chainring.

I grew up on bicycles. Sadly, a couple of scary accidents in my twenties, including concussions, took me off them for a while; I never did more than the occasional casual cycling and some light bike commuting until I took up road biking again with a vengeance somewhere around 42. So now it’s been about 13 years back on the bike, and I’ve learned a thing or two. If I’m being honest, I’ve learned more about myself than about cycling.

  1. A bike ride is always a good thing. I have never regretted a bike ride. That it is so hard to convince myself to go out is just further evidence that my brain is trying to kill me.
  2. I am delusional. Every time I go out, I say I’m just going to go easy. It never happens. Make no mistake, I’m no kind of athlete at all; I have zero natural ability. It’s all work. But every single time, even when it was intensely sunny and pushing 90 degrees, I say I’m going to go easy, and then I end up tackling hills in the blazing sun.
  3. I have just about zero interest in serious riding with anyone else. A casual ride with wife or daughters aside, the logistics of joining a group ride, being a certain place at a certain time, matching pacing, being with people who run stop signs – none of that interests me.
  4. Sunscreen. I spend all my time putting sunscreen on, and then scrubbing it off. Putting it on, scrubbing it off. I’m starting to wonder how much I hate wrinkles and cancer.
  5. Little makes me happier than managing to exceed the speed limit on my bike, especially if one of those temporary speed monitors confirms it in flashing LEDs.  They should be put on downhills more often, because I like seeing I’m doing 35 in a 30, and that only happens when I’m gravity-assisted.
  6. Cycling in the middle of the day, when I have to work, is a bad idea. I just feel too good when I’m done to concentrate. Stupid endorphins.
  7. I have a disease, where no matter where it is we have to end up as a family, I try to plan it so I can get there separately by bicycle. Somehow I’m indulged in this.
  8. I believe in the progress of bicycles … freewheels, integrated shifters, all this. (Well, maybe not disc brakes.) I do not understand the hipness of fixies (nor do I live where it’s flat), and have no desire to return to having to take my hand off the handlebars in order to shift. Progress is good.
  9. That I only possess two bicycles is only through a sheer act of will. If I could, I’d have a dozen.

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