It was a very lazy Sunday. I hadn’t done anything much save read Sue Grafton’s penultimate novel, X, and lounge around listening to classical music. I wanted to see a movie, but it was a hot 18-mile round trip, and I could just stay home in the safety and comfort of my little rented casita. Pages were read and turned, the phrases “page-turner” and “couldn’t put it down,” both applied. Meals were eaten. Time ticked by. “What was I going to have to blog about Monday?” crossed my mind more than once. It was 6:00 pm. The temperature had gone down, and the light was turning softer. I was 10 hours too late for the group rides. But like a cat starved for food or affection or both…
… my bicycle started calling me. Not literally. But I imagined a pitiable, pathetic cry like a pussycat. Scratch that (pun intended). It was more like a shunned frat brother who can’t find anybody to party with. “Yo, Dude. Wassup? Why aren’t we going riding today, bro?” I tried ignoring him, but he was insistent. Finally, I gave in, suited up, pumped up his tires, and took him for a spin. I rode the road for 40 miles, making a total of 425 miles in four weeks. And after that, I did still had to do my hour of walking and yoga and writing. It ain’t easy being A Dude.
Here’s The Thing About 100-Mile Weeks on a Bicycle…
They’re work. Alot of hard, ball-busting, sweaty, grunty, sore muscles, exhausting work. Not like the paid kind of job A Dude needs to find pretty soon, or a fiscal sponsor or windfall of some sort. And for the 10 hours a week I spend doing them, I could have a part-time job. Yes, they’re also enjoyable in some ways. Many ways, actually. The sun on my arms, the wind in my face, the sights and sounds. A sense of accomplishment. But make no mistake, it’s work.
Let’s compare biking 100 miles to driving a car for 100 miles for a moment, shall we? Even driving a car that long is going to make your butt sore. Now, take off the roof, doors, and shrink the seat down to a hard skinny thing. No more air conditioning except the wind, which is humid and hot. No more protection from wind, rain, or other cars trying hard to bump into you.
Take off those comfortable clothes and swap them out for ridiculous looking tights with padding, a similarly outrageous jersey, shoes that have to be worn snugly, smelly gloves, a hat which is hot under the helmet, and sunglasses. Add sunscreen, cream for the shorts. You can bring water and a hydration liquid, but the ice is going to melt. A few snacks, but only portable ones. Yes, you can stop and get more. Be careful what you eat, it may come up as vomit or diarhhea.
It’s Not Like Driving a Car… Unless It’s the Flinstones’
Then, add the effort. For this 40-mile ride, for me that’s 210 minutes total worth of pedaling, pedaling, some more pedaling, and then even more pedaling, with 30 minutes of rest thrown in. Up hills, down hills, with wind, heat, humidity, and cars screaming by. Oh yes, don’t forget the gnats, other cyclists or walkers on the trail, and rough roads. Now, times that by two and a half over the other six days of the week, but often wearing no padding or bike shoes, so it’s more effort and less comfortable.
I guess my point is, there’s really no comparison between bicycling for 100 miles to driving 100 miles — at all — is there? No, there is not. If you’re a cyclist, you know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t, maybe I’ve painted a vivid word picture that you can appreciate. I’m not telling you this to complain or to boast. (Well, OK, just a little of each). I am proud of my accomplishments, however minor they may be when compared to the many much better cyclists out there. Which I try to not really consider, just as people riding bikes less than I do currently should not compare themselves to me.
It’s just hard, it’s work, and sometimes it seems like it’s really all for naught, even though I know it’s not. If you read this, thanks! But I have some questions:
- What did you get out of this post?
- Are you inspired to go ride your bike, or ride it farther?
- Take a walk?
- Take a nap?
- What would you like to see me write about?
–Respectfully, tiredly, proudly submitted for your consideration by ADAB.
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