Thursday, May 22, 2008

Visiting Lecturer

I got roped into doing a presentation on bike fit and comfort last night at the local hospital. The shop management dumped it on me, but I didn't mind. The occasional show-and-tell can be fun.

As we understood it, the audience would consist of the typical older local rider, so I geared the visual aids to a comfort bike and hybrid clientèle.

Management told me they had arranged for me to do my 15-minute segment first, at 6:30, so I could get on home. Even so, I planned to hitch a lift with my wife, so we could get home and get some food into us and maybe get to bed at a reasonable hour for a change.

When I got to the venue, I found a very small crowd of young, fit adults. Someone had their racy-looking Tomac hardtail leaned against the wall. I looked at the wooden crate full of mattress saddles and basic clothing under my arm and wondered what I could tell these riders that they didn't already know.

First off, the organizer asked if I could take the last slot as previously scheduled, especially when I told him that I was planning to do the whole thing as question and answer, rather than burying people under a comprehensive lecture that none of them would remember anyway. Still expecting the soft-body crowd, I felt that they would get more value by asking me specific questions, perhaps prompted by a small amount of blather. We were all supposed to keep it short, right? I could hold out for 45 minutes.

Ha. Forty-five minutes was just the warm up. By then I'd committed to that last slot, so I tried to pay attention while the doctor, the nutritionist and the physical therapist, athletes all, held forth on their favorite subjects.

The nutritionist mentioned that most people don't get enough sleep. I chuckled at that, since she was shortening my forty winks with every paragraph she uttered, accompanied by projected slides. Tick tick tick went the evening.

As a cyclist for more than 30 years in a room with people who were infants and toddlers when I first tightened a toestrap, I noted many points to amend, contest or clarify in each presentation that preceded me. But I also wanted to get over the target, drop my payload and head for the home field, as the hour advanced.

The group was just as surprised and disappointed as I was that the congregation only included the faithful, but cyclists like to get together and chat/compete anyway.

In the end, I ran through the high points of fat saddles versus narrow, proper clothing, and the unconsidered nuances of bike fit, with the idea that these therapists might want to tell their clients about these concepts. In the process, if any of them learned something they hadn't realized yet, they could pick it up without showing weakness to the rest of the peloton.

I crawled out of there after 8:45 and still had to go back to the shop to drop off the props. Nice eleven and a half hour day. I can use the hours to build up the fund to complete the Traveler's Check project.

Now I'm late for work. So it goes. Memorial Day weekend lumbers down on us, and that means an extra work day as well. Not only that, we have to box about 11 bikes for a family moving to Colorado. My dislike for packing bikes battles fiercely with my friendship for these people. It doesn't help that they're all due by Monday, with a full repair docket to boot.

It's always something.

1 comment:

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