Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Really Nothing to Prove

So why do I occasionally feel the urge to ride when it's cold outside. Stingy finger cold!

After all, it seems that most riders have put away their bikes for the winter, seldom making an appearance on the roads of the city. Last Saturday afternoon, the temperatures rose to about 60 F, and there were lots more riders out than I had seen in a long time. Even the sport bikers were out. But on Monday after it had turned colder again, none of those folks were to be seen.

And I admit that I haven't commuted to work as regularly on Max as I have in past years. That first year in particular saw me out there almost every day unless there was snow or ice on the roads. I rode in 10 F weather. I mean really brisk, stark days that your dog wouldn't even want to venture out in.

And do I have something to prove?

I'm not sure. Deep in my psyche maybe I want to prove that I can still do it after a heart attack and 2 cardiac arrests. It really is more dangerous for me to be out there when it's that cold. But I can tell when I am feeling up to it or not, and some days I know I am not ready for the cold, therefore I don't ride.

And then maybe I am just trying to puff up my chest and tell the world what a tough guy I am, out there riding in silly cold weather. Something "Tribal" to prove. Strutting the colors of my denim winter jacket like some peacock would display its feathers. Are we really that much different than the animals?

So today the Weatherbug App on the iPhone said it was 22 F when I left the house. I had to get some gas on the way in. I took a little different route downtown, a little slower and less traffic. I heard a flock of birds chirping at one intersection. The sun was bright. My visor and eyeglasses were fogging up regularly so I rode with the helmet visor partially open most of the way. (Are some of my helmet vents open?, Or closed?, need to experiment with that a little more)

I was actually quite warm, 5 layers on top, 3 layers on my legs, feet fine with boots and boot socks.

It was just my fingers that got cold and that's usually the way it is. Now many of you have suggested in the past and could again mention today that I should invest in some heated gloves or some other clever device with the goal of aiding the warmth in my fingers.

To that I say, Naaaahhh!

Its only a few minutes of discomfort. I suppose if I were going to be out there for a really long ride, then sure, I'll invest in some warmth farkle, but for a 15 minute ride?

After all, maybe I'm out to try and prove that I can endure some pain. At age 56, I'm still one of the baddest of the bad!

Yeah? A Badass?

Well I doubt that, too, but I know one thing. Pirsig alluded to the fact that when you were out there riding, you were actually living and part of the world, experiencing much that you would miss if you were looking out the window of a cage. Today I was living and experiencing and even if it was cold, it was well worth it!

The afternoon ride home should be even more fantastic!

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Little Kid Dreams

As a 5 year old, growing up in a small town in western Kansas in the early 1960's, it was common to dream of being a big time sports star. Probably my favorite sport was basketball. I spent many hours shooting hoops in the back yard with a goal that had a backboard made out of plywood and nailed against a tree. It wasn't exactly regulation height and a little crooked, but that mattered very little.

I admired many of the stars of the era, which included just about anyone on the Boston Celtics team, but notably Bill Russell and John Havlicek.

In the summertime though, the time was spent dreaming about baseball. Many great heros came from this time such as Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris

and then there was "Stan the Man".

The St. Louis Cardinals radio network extended way out into western Kansaa and I and many others faithfully "dialed in" to listen to games. Stan Musial was the star of the team, a great player that played his entire career in St Louis. He was the guy you always pulled for when he strode up to the plate, with the game on the line in the late innings. And he frequently would be able to deliver the game winning hit.

And he was such a classy guy. He played in an era where players weren't paid a lot of money, but rather they played largely for the love of the game.

Stan passed away this week and the news has brought back lots of childhood memories to me and probably many others.

Stan, you were so admired by a lot of people, particularly 5 year old kids like me. But the admiration goes way beyond your success on the baseball diamond.

The world could sure use more "legends" like you. Many thanks for the dreams and memories!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Motivation in Colder Weather

When I first bought the scooter I was very determined to ride in all weather except for ice and snow.

40 degrees F?       Yes, no problem!

30 degrees F         Hell Yes!

20 degrees F         Well maybe not hell yes, but okay!

10 degrees F         Well now you're pushing it, but I've done it

This year?              Well.....

I admit to being less aggressive in the cold this year. Oh, I've been out there, but not near as regularly.

Potential excuses:

I've needed the car more when at work. Somewhat true.
I've been walking more. True but does not account for the that much of the difference
Weekends have been busier, less free time. True definitely
The heart doesn't like cold weather quite as much. True
The weather hasn't been cooperative. Somewhat true

But then again, most of those are just what I say they are, Excuses!

I need to ride more!

I got Max out this morning. It was about 30 degrees. Hadn't ridden in about 3 weeks. He started up as if to say, "Hey, How You Been!, Where we going today?" Fired instantly on the first push on the starter.

I've been trying to make some plans for the summer and fall. Maybe some longer type trips. Been thinking about even coordinating some of those with a little camping (which I haven't done in ages) and even some long hikes. Saw a movie recently about hiking. Sort of liked it. It's healthy for my heart. Hmmmm.

And another book report might be on the way soon, but the book wasn't near as good as Jack's book.

But for now, we are heading into another "tax season" at work. Lots to do, little free time. Most riding will just be to work and back.

But I hope to do more of that!

Ride On and Carpe Diem , my friends.