Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Six More Weeks

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Saturday. I didn't give it much thought, because no matter what the Prophet of Punxsutawney prognosticates, winter either lasts six more weeks or is over in a month and a half around here. And what follows it usually isn't pretty.

One could believe spring was right around the corner when the weather forecasters over the weekend told us we'd see warm rain Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn't quite get the fixed gear down and start lubing the chain, but I thought about it. Yet here we are on Tuesday morning looking at steadily falling snow, and the schools are all closed. The rain will come tomorrow, we are told, but mixed with snow. The theme of this endless winter continues. It is mild but snowing. I should drag my wife out to the glades out back to use this layer of fluffy stuff on top of the firm base.

Cycling is not a pure pleasure most of the time. It's hard to relax completely into it when it can evoke a reaction from some passing jackass at any moment. In the woods, one can focus purely on the personal endeavor of getting from here to there under one's own power. On the road, there's always that threat of audience reaction. Born performers thrive on audience reaction. In the right mood I have the mental middle finger up and just go for it. But that in itself is an extra layer of resistance. You can be right and still lose. You can have a better way of life and still be overwhelmed by the mass of people who won't or can't take it up.

It's still worth doing. In fact, it needs to be done. There are more reasons to do it than not to do it. But not right now. There's skiing.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sheldon's Gone...

Sheldon Brown has died. He had already been knocked off his bike by ill health. While I never met him, we had communicated over bike repair issues. He was widely known as an authority on all matters in cycling as well as many other topics. He will be missed.

I want a Traveler's Check

Even though I will probably never go anywhere but places I can ride to from my own driveway, I really want the new Surly Traveler's Check. Little did they know when they introduced the Cross Check in nineteen-ninety-whatever that it would play into such a perfectly enticing name for a perfectly enticing bike.

Imagine the full size Cross Check, my candidate for The Perfect Exploring Bike, fitted with S and S frame couplers so it can be knocked down to a normal luggage size for airline travel without paying the usual bike penalty. No weird-ass folding bike. I know Bike Fridays are an incredible piece of engineering. I admire them greatly. But I prefer to blend in if possible, not stand out on something odd-looking, however trick. I'm the secret agent type of guy, not the drum major or the clown. Clown I may actually be, but I don't flaunt it.

With winter still gripping the land, I am not doing anything with bikes right now except thinking about them from time to time. The skiing has been holding up in spite of what is actually a mild winter. All that could change if this thaw we just entered decides to turn into a long intro to April. Then I'll be back out on the fixed gear, debating a Steamroller as well as the TC.

Friday, February 01, 2008