Monday, February 01, 2010

Thoughts During Hybernation

Its the first of February. Light snow is coming down. A good friend called me this morning to touch base and see how things were.

"How've you been?"
"The family?"

Then the conversation began to take its natural direction.

"So I was talking to this guy I used to know..."

And we're back to where we like to be. Discussing the ins and outs of bikes of today and bikes of bygone eras. Rides we're planning and places within a day's travel for two guys on early to mid eighties UJM's (universal Japanese motorcycles). He's got an early eighties Kawasaki 900 and I've got my Virago and my wife's '83 Nighthawk 650.

Somewhere in the conversation I interject something to see what his reaction might be. The fact that the bicycle bug has once again bit me. He's right into the groove. He lives within walking distance of the Lake Wobegon Trail (see Garrison Keilor and his fictitious tales of the town where all the women are pretty, al the men handsome and all the kids are above average). Its a MUP (multi use path-mostly paved nowadays) and it also happens to be about the same distance from my farm twenty miles west of here. I think total mileage for the trail and all its branches is close to 150 miles. We're planning to get our families together and spend some days riding bicycles together.

I've always had the desire to ride. Whether it was motorized or not. Something about two wheels and a place to ride has been a kind of balm for me. Pedaling in silence. Or the drone of an engine beneath me. To many others they aren't the same, but to me they are.

So I'm waiting on spring. To bring out the Vespas and the motorcycles but also the non motorized two wheelers. A dedicated road bicycle and just recently a very Americanized version of a standard bicycle. Fenders, chain guard, a pull back handlebar for very upright riding. You might wonder why a guy whose got a drop bar road bike would ever want a standard slow-bike.

Last year my kids learned to ride their bicycles. The Giant OCR3 can roll with just the slightest tailwind. I would coast past them with nary a downward pedal while they worked just to keep up with me. And the hunched over riding position is not intended for the child's world of constant discovery. We'd pedal six feet and.. "Oh look!" A grasshopper!" Fifteen feet later, "What kind of inchworm is that, daddy?" Any bike that has you bent into a comma is not designed to be used with little children. Trust me.

Its good to be thinking about spring. Its good to have something new to look forward to, also.



cpa3485 said...

Occasionally I still get out my old mountain bike to go garage saleing on. Riding with the kids was always fun and a lot of laughs. We also used to have a Nashbar tandem and a Burley trailer for the youngest kid to ride in. With the trailer attached to the tandem, it was like driving a semi. Took a bit to get up to any speed, but was fun.

irondad said...

Is this a real stirring from hibernation or did you just have to pee again?

Howard said...

So glad to see you writing again. I had just discovered your blog last November. I know exactly what you mean about anything on 2 wheels bringing that calming feeling. I used to ride long distances on my recumbent bicycle, now I've got my scooters.
I even compare the experience of Segway's to that of toher 2 wheeled riding (Have ever seen the indi film "10mph?")

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently talking about technology, and how integrated it has become to our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that debate we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further advances, the possibility of transferring our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about every once in a while.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS FFOpera)

bobskoot said...


welcome back . . . glad you missed us .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone! I don't know where to begin but hope this site will be useful for me.
Hope to receive some help from you if I will have any quesitons.
Thanks and good luck everyone! ;)

American Scooterist Blog said...

cpa3485; We had a Burley two seater until the kids outgrew it. They loved it. To nap in haha.

Iron', Hopefully if one needs to pee then movement to a place to do it would be in order! haha This week is a sign of spring. I can see part of the lawen next to the driveway but the rest is still under a uniform blanket of about a foot of the stuff.

Glad you've enjoyed it thus far Howard. The winter months leave time for anticipation.

Anon, couldn't agree more. The world is large and our families are the most important "media inlet" we have. At least I try to remember that anyway. While time to ride is a large part of me, I think I can diverge it in such a way as to include everyone in the fun. I used to ride with my whole family. That would mean with my wife, before the kids were born.

Bobskoot, I did miss ya.

Anon II; There are a few good points about riding here, but you should seek out Irondad's Intrepid Commuter blog in the left column for real advice. I think I fare better inspiring others to get out there and live their individual rides.