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?"
"Good."
"The family?"
"Good."
"You?"
"Same."

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.

Harv