Bicycling at Mid-Life

I have become a superhero at mid-life, for only they wear stretchy, tight black outfits in public there to kick evil’s ass and engage in calorie-burning feats far beyond the ability of ordinary mortals.  That’s what I’ve been doing, every day, although in my case the two categories of action do not necessarily coincide.  Also, sometimes, evil kicks my ass back.  Ordinarily, when taking the fight to the prince of darkness grim, I wear street clothes or business casual.

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Saturday before last, I rode my Razesa 12-speed 25 miles, from my house to the county seat and back again, to vote early in the upcoming primary election (one categorical coincidence, as above).  While at the administrative center, I got to visit briefly with a friend I don’t see often enough.  My bike’s chain came off on the way home, but I was able to figure it out and keep riding.  At home, I showered, ate a huge lunch and took a long nap.  That’s what the comic book guys do after one of those epic battles that appears to involve more heroes and villains than can be numbered in a Hindu pantheon, er, comic book universe – functionally, is there a difference?

Yesterday, I rode 20 miles, round-trip, with no errand in mind beyond getting some exercise and pedaling a different route.  That same hill I’ve always had to walk up partway I still had to walk up, but I was able to ride all of the other hills.  I know this could not have been the case, but it felt like the 15 – 20 mph wind was in my face most of my ride.  This time, into the wind I “rode the drops,” that is, rode with my hands holding the bottom or terminal parts of the ram’s-horn-looking handlebar.  Doing so altered my body’s position and seemed to reduce wind-resistance.  I was again glad I’d bought a set of Continental Gatorskin tires because there’s a lot of gravel, garbage, and crud on the highway’s sometimes uneven surface.

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Today I rode the Razesa to worship service and used (for the first time) the panniers Eric included with the bike to carry Sunday School material and the bulletins I’d printed, as well as a book for Theodore.  I think it’s cool to be able to “commute” so to speak and conveniently carry stuff with me using a bike.  Annoyingly, with the balls of my feet on the pedals, my heels kept kicking the panniers, and I had to pedal on my arches, which shifted my body’s relationship to the seat and made for a slightly uncomfortable ride.  After I got to the meeting place this morning, I slipped off the sweat pants I’d put on over a pair of shorts, as well as my windbreaker, folded both, and stowed them the ancient “Triplex” bags that were purchased in Madrid the same time Eric bought the gold bike.  The bags proudly proclaim “Made in Spain” in English under the logo.

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On the ride home, the shifters didn’t work like they should.  They’re friction shifters, and with the left one at ninety-degrees to the tube, the front derailleur is supposed to be on the most difficult ring, but this afternoon, it was like the Opposite Gnomes had gone to work at them while I’d been singing hymns and listening to a sermon Romans 7:1 – 6 (I am much less antinomian than in former times).  I made it home without losing the chain or crashing into a ditch or into traffic, but haven’t had a chance to monkey with shift problem, yet.  Had to mow, and have a relatively tight schedule for this afternoon.

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