Saturday, June 23, 2007


Today is an exquisite day.

The weather is damn near perfect, there's not a cloud in the sky, the sun is gently warming gardens, porches and lawns. Its a quiet Saturday morning and you kind of want to reach out at some nebulous mass, grab on and go "Stop." Or at least "Slow down." Its a moment you want to hang on to for a while. Paste it into your memory before the clock starts an insane tick towards the hours where you're back at the office with bleary eyed graphics people pissed off at missing yet another deadline.

The kitten, almost a cat actually, but don't tell her or she'll get too high maintenance, is re-creating the allied assault on Normandy with my ankle. That's ok. She's still cute and, as I say, still in kittenhood where she's allowed to be cute because she only wants to play and will still eat anything put in front of her. The older cat requires a review of the grocery tab before she'll tuck into her food bowl, ensuring that you're spending adequate amounts for her tender palate. No grocery store brand for her, no sir. The cat model on the can has to be wearing a tiara or borne in on a sedan for her to deign a morsel tasty enough to actually enjoy.

I always thought it would be funny to re dub one of those old Nine Lives commercials with John Wayne's voice as the human and Gabby Hayes as Morris. Then again I think a lot of things are funny. That's why I wind up here from time to time.

Today's idyllic perfection calls for one thing and one thing only; a venture into outdoor activity. That means bicycling. It doesn't always mean bicycling but today it does. Its not too hot so there won't be any Pillsbury bake off on state road 101, there's little wind so you won't have to repeat certain passages and there's no rain or storms in the forecast so, unlike last weekend, you won't be racing the inclement back into town.

No work today, put off the lawn until tomorrow. Grad school wrapped up on Wednesday night and you actually may have passed which means you've graduated. Took long enough. Now what to do with weekends without papers and reading assignments. Doctoral work?

Not yet. Get out the ride and saddle up.

I'm not an avid cyclist which is to say I don't wear the uniform, talk the talk, take up inordinate space on the roadway and forget shaving my legs. That's just nutty. But I do clip in, wear an appropriate jersey (it has handy pockets) and of course don a helmet. Hey, I paid for an MBA, I'm not going to fritter it away on the hood of a '79 Chevy Nova.

And here's where my problems begin. You need to suit up to ride. I only go part way but still commit myself to riding and not touring by virtue of the fact that you look so damn silly in the cycling getup off the bike. For starters, lose the helmet. If you're going to stop for ice cream, take the damn styrofoam dome off and hang it on the handlebars. Live with the funky hair for an hour, or in my case, the funky tan lines on where the hair used to be. Then there are the shorts. I opt for baggy shorts. Sure, they scoop up the wind to the extent that you might as well hang a parachute off your ass but bicycling shorts are tight and, boys and girls, I'm not a travelling family jewels exhibit. When I dismount for a light snack at a country store, I don't want to be giving comparative anatomy lessons. Thanks all the same. Some shorts, in fact most of them, have a cushioning pad in then nether regions to gently protect your nether regions the way a goalie's mask of the seventies just spread the pain of a puck in the face around. The pad just spreads the pain around and drives home the fact that female sanitary pads were invented by men. We sure as hell would come up with something more comfortable for ourselves if we were afflicted but for the gals, hey this idea looks good on paper, right?

Again, the jerseys. They're loud and colorful and have all kinds of brand name advertising on them. A lot of them post Italian saddle makers brands, the better ones hawk beer. There's a reason to like biking right there as opposed to golf. If more folks teed off wearing a top touting Ketel One, I'm sure you'd attract a friendlier crowd.

And of course, the shoes. If you clip in to your ride, you get some funky bike shoes that look like cast offs from Florsheim's Cinderella At The Ball line. They lean back the way the old earth shoes did and have metal plates in the front to hook into your pedals with. As a result, if you dismount on a solid surface, you pretty much click around the way a Shepherd dog with too long nails does. I'm never sure whether to tap dance for a fudgesicle or not.

And there you have it. If you're going to ride, even half seriously, you ride and nothing else. No sightseeing off the bike because once you dismount, you're clicking along in a negative heel shoe in shorts that look spray painted on, in a jersey that can double as a landing beacon at LaGuardia, all the while walking splay-legged with a pad up your ass. How many tourists can you scare away?

If you're out there and you pass another biker, wave. I do and nothings so off putting as a rider so intent on playing out his Breaking Away fantasy that he can acknowledge another loon with too much time on his or her hands.

After all, its a friendly activity. If we wanted to be that stuck up, I guess we'd golf.

Bunny on.


Blogger Sis said...

With those thighs, you SHOULD be wearing cycling shorts. But I digress...

10:04 PM  

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