Saturday, April 14, 2012

road ride

so yesterday i got out on my road bike, because i felt like it. my favorite bike, mostly, is whichever one i happen to be riding. except the black trek, which only achieves favoriteness through sentimental value and lendability.

anyway, it was significant (to me) that i felt like riding my road bike because i haven't felt like it since that day i went out on a short ride and got a flat three miles from my car and had to walk back in road shoes and got blisters.

and all of a sudden road riding seemed scary and unsafe to me, which is odd, because when i got run over on route 2 nothing about road riding seemed scary and unsafe. it was just a thing, you know?

i still get shivers when i ride that section of road or when something reminds me of the moments just before i was looking up at the front axle of a dodge durango, but it still seemed totally safe to me, nevermind the crushed helmet, the three layers of clothing ground off, and the ambulance ride.

but getting this flat tire made it scary.

you may ask why i didn't have tools, and rightly so.

i used to be in the habit of carrying every tool i might ever need, and never needing them. i could change a flat, break a chain, and repair the brakes. but it had been YEARS since my last flat and brain damage had erased from me the knowledge of HOW to change a flat and besides, it was a short ride.

and i got a flat.

and had to walk.

in road shoes.

and hadn't ridden  my road bike since.

so yesterday i bit down and did it because i felt like it. i used to be a lot faster on a bike, but no matter how you slice it, on a bike i am much faster than i am on foot. not just if you compare my speed on foot to my speed on a bike, but compared to other humans similarly equipped. on foot i can't keep up with anyone. on a bike, i'm one of the crowd. i am graceful and strong and i can MOVE.

everybody should be able to feel that way sometimes.

and it was an awesome ride, too, even though i gave up without even trying going up the little climbs in big gears; i just don't have the legs.

but i rode in big gears more than i thought i would, and i hit the light just perfect in richomnd.

richmond is fun because if you do the loop counter-clock, you come down the hill and if you get that right you are egregiously in violation of the speed limit, which is tonic to the soul of every road cyclist.

but then you have to think about when to take the lane if you're turning left at the light because it can get ugly if the auto traffic thinks you're holding it up. if you're a cyclist, you know that when you come down past the firehouse if the light is green, it will turn red and you will have just enough time to catch the next green without having to stop at the intersection.

if you get there too early, you have to foot down and wait for thru traffic before you can turn left and if you get there too late you miss the light and have to foot down AND wait for thru traffic in the next cycle.

timing it right is a matter of three or four seconds, and you have to gauge both the traffic behind you and traffic oncoming AND watch for pedestrians in the crosswalks and cars backing out of the diagonal parking.

it's only a two-street town, but it's hoppin'.

yesterday i got the lights just PERFECT and sailed down onto bridge street in total style and as i came around the corner there were people n a white minivan honking and waving at me.

now, i don't recognize faces well, but richmond is a town where i am not a stranger, so i looked at them, pretended to recognize the people, was genuinely happy to see them (i am assuming that i know them), and waved before heading down to the red/green bridge.

i was gonna tear that off with some style, too, but the pavement is so bad that my left foot got bounced right out of the pedal, but it was all good and i made my left turn at cochran road perfectly meshed with the traffic and went happily on my way.

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