This isn’t part 1,278, though there are easily that many reasons why I ride bicycles. This also isn’t Part One, because I aready used it. This is Part Two for a reason; it’s a big one…
I called my buddy, Chuck when the score looked out of hand for Michigan State. It was tied at 30s, but State had just scored and Michigan was moving the football and it didn’t look like State was going to stop them. He was just getting to work on his gravel bike for the big Apple Cider ride (this morning’s) and had some major issues to work out. He figured he’d be ready in about 45 minutes.
This is Saturday at 2:30 in the afternoon. It had rained since early Friday morning. All the way through Saturday at 10 am, and with barely a breeze, it wasn’t drying out. I figured it was going to be sloppy, at least a little bit, so Chuck offered gravel bikes so he could give his a test after working on it. That was fine with me, and it was set.
I watched a few more minutes of the game then went in to shave (I hate going 24 hours without shaving my face – can’t stand it) and get dressed. Chuck sent me an ominous text at 5 past 3:00 that he needed to make it 3:30. I sat and waited for a few then headed out for a slow roll to meet Chuck. Much to my surprise, the roads were starting to dry out. I’d swapped out the tires on my gravel bike that morning for something a little less aggressive… and faster. I still felt sluggish on the heavy bike. With 70,000 miles on bikes between 16 & 18-1/2 pounds, I always feel 24 on pavement. There’s no escaping it.
I snagged Chuck and we rolled out. Thankfully, right out of the gate he called for a slow spin. All I wanted was enough to justify dinner, so slow was right up my alley. We had a wind out of the northwest so we’d be bucking it the first half of the ride. We started talking about music and memes of the day – Brandon was brought up more than once. Music centered on an interesting clip Chuck had sent me, Tokyo Groove doing “What Is Hip”… super cool and the bassist is outstanding. She’s no Les Claypool, but she definitely rocks. Chuck’s a bassist.
We cracked a few jokes along the way and simply had a good time… it was one of those, “better than sitting on the couch” rides. And that brings me to Part Two of the continuing “Why I Ride Bikes” series. Friends, it was in no way a comfortable day for a ride. I was in full leg warmers, thermal jersey, wool socks, gloves, hat… it was chilly, gray, and always felt like we were about twelve seconds away from getting drenched. We wound our way through our normal weekday course content with just getting out in the fresh air and out of the house. There was nothing impressive about the ride. No sprintervals – nothing that would even resemble a fitness-building effort. We just laughed at the world and made the most of a crappy day for a bit better than an hour.
I was astonished we made it to my driveway dry. We did, though. And State ended up beating U of M (I did find this out on the ride when I saw a fella walking out to his mailbox in a State sweatshirt – State fans are vastly more approachable about the score after a tight game).
Our youngest went out to a Halloween party with her boyfriend and my wife and I played a few games of cribbage and zilch before heading to the grocery store to pick up some candy for the kids, then hitting the couch to watch a movie. I can’t even remember which movie it was. I was out before the credits started.
I went from kicking my own ass for sitting on the couch in my pajamas (all of the needed maintenance on the bikes is done) to an afternoon and evening of fun and good times – and an easy jaunt with a friend on the gravel bikes kicked it all off. I ride a bike because you can throw a bike ride with a friend at just about any kind of day and make it better. And for that I am grateful.
Ride hard, my friends.