Like Riding a Bicycle Five

Resurrected my mountain bike from the garage yesterday.

Something I've been meaning to do since October.

That's the month were the heat around here drops below 98 for the first time and you're allowed to outdoor things other than running from air-conditioned room to an air conditioned car.

Still need sun-screen in January though. Trust that.

So I've been meaning to get my bike out of my garage so I can do exercise-y things. I like going out for bike rides cause it's easy on the knees, you can actually get to places you would like to go, and my town has an incredible network of bike trails where you can almost pretend that you're communing with nature.

Nature loves a good commune.

However, I'm a casual enjoyer, not an enthusiast. The bike I own is made up of garage sale spare parts, a lot of rust, and under no circumstances do I own any lycra clothing, cause . . . you know . . . love handles. So you can probably get what I mean when I say I haven't gone out in over a year.

Anyway, you know the cliche "It's just like riding a bicycle?"

There's truth in that I guess.

Riding a bike is supposed to be easy once you've learned how to do it, but the same can be said about . . . well . . . everything else. Why the bicycle cliche took . . . I have no idea.

However . . . if you . . . like me . . . haven't gone out in a while there's a few safety things you need to check before you begin that three mile ride to the park or to the library.

One: Find your tools.
You're probably gonna need a wrench of some kind and some WD40. A flat tip screw driver might be key as well. If you can't find your tools, or if you don't think you ever had any . . . maybe bicycle ownership is not for you.

If things fall apart while you're going down a hill at forty miles per hour. You could die.

Or scrape your knee.

Which hurts.

Two: Re-inflate Your Tires A Day Before.
Tires are bound to leak. I don't know why that is. I could ride my bike every day for a month without a problem, but if I took like three days off, when I got back to my bike, the tires would be flat. It's part of the same phenomena as when electrical cords tangle or how my wife knows I'm not really paying attention to her.

Since it's been a while, you don't know if your tires are flat because there's a leak, or some magical transference of dark matter, and since you don't want to get stranded anywhere, pump the tires a day before your first excursion. If they're still good the next day, ride on. If not, gotta replace those puppies. I also suggest making that first ride short and circular just in case they go down.

Three: Check those Breaks.
I mentioned that my Franken-bike is made up from the corpses of several other machines. One of them I think was toaster oven. So it should come to no one's surprise that there is only one functioning side of handle breaks, the other being for decoration. And it should also come to no one's surprise that I can never remember which one is which.

I really don't know how I'm still alive sometimes.

Four: Check your Helmut for Spiders.
I forgot to do that yesterday before my ride and I started to get sweaty and my scalp started to get itchy, just as I remembered that black widow I found in the garden last year.

I was negotiating traffic while simultaneously imagining baby black widows crawling all over my head.

Yeah . . . I really should be dead by now.

Five: Wait for the all clear before you mount up.
Riding on a bike might be the easiest thing in the world . . . but getting up on one might be the hardest. Especially since it requires the use of certain muscles that one doesn't use while sitting at a desk. It also requires a certain amount of flexibility and grace. Two words that are listed under my name in the dictionary as antonyms.

So you're probably gonna look an awkward beached whale sort of creature until you get moving, but once you're up with some forward momentum, with the wind in your hair, an NPR podcast playing Terri Gross through your ear buds . . . well . . . the rest is like riding a bike.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you're getting out there.BTW that would hand brakes