Monday, June 15, 2015

Thoughts from the Saddle

Why do they call a bicycle seat a saddle, and why do they make them so darned uncomfortable?  I should have had it swapped out when my bike was in the shop for a tune up back in April.  I should get a wrench and do it myself.

Regular readers know I like to ride in the pre dawn hours, and 50 degrees is my cut off point.  If it's colder than 50, the bike stays locked up.  There was a minor delay this year caused by a paving project in my little town.  As it stands now, only one street on my circuit is ripped up, and that's for a sewer replacement project.  Looks like they're making some progress, and I hope they're done soon.

CBS News did a report this week on a product being tested in England.  It's a clear spray that makes everything it touches reflective.  You can spray it on the bike.  You can spray it on your clothes.  It washes out.  It's supposed to be available in the U.S. this fall, and it should cost $5 a can.  I'd be interested in helping Kurt Aaron do a "Does it Really Work?"  Color me skeptical.  The CBS report showed it really does work.  Me?  I wear a reflective vest, like the one construction workers use.  I think I got it for $5 on E-Bay.  It works great.

I don't wear ear buds.  I don't listen to music while I'm pedaling.  It's a safety issue.  I like to hear what's going on around me.  It also gives me some think time.  For the most part, the town is very quiet before dawn.  I've written more than a few blogs in my head, on a bike, before getting them in writing, in front of a keyboard.

I've had my bike since 2012, and things seem a little different this year.  There are fewer stray cats and skunks on my route.  However, there are more bunnies and raccoons.   I came around a corner on a recent morning, startling a raccoon who was digging in a trash can.  I should say he startled me, or it was most likely mutual.  It scared the wits out of me.  I quickly pedaled away, while I let the masked bandit scrounge up breakfast.

Something I noticed from day one,  and it's still true in my fourth summer of riding.  You'd be amazed at the number of people doing laundry in the wee hours of the morning.  I think I've inhaled every brand of drier sheet in the last four years.

Parts of my route are freshly paved.  Other parts, not so much.  Whether the pavement be new or old, you can feel every variation, every rut, every flaw, every bump.

I really have to talk with Snedeker about this...  my route has some minor changes in elevation, and there are mornings when you can really feel the difference in temperature.  I'm not biking through the Alps-- just a little town in the valley, and there are places where you can feel the change.

Biking is a great activity.  My only regret is not doing it sooner.