Thursday, July 30, 2020

Time is the longest distance between two places. (Tennessee Williams)

It's been 5 months since I traveled anywhere. I'm still trying to get used to the idea of being in the same place day after day, week after week.

My original plans for this summer and fall had included some trips with my new Brompton folding bicycle. I had planned to spend a few nights with friends in states up north. Like these friends, I'm in my 70s. The travel plans and the visits have all been moved to next year. The short and simple story is the Brompton and I won't be traveling together for almost a year

Even getting the new bike felt different this year. New bike! What's not to love? But I got anxious, irritable, and depressed every time I tinkered with it. The problem wasn't the differences between the Brompton folding bike and my other bikes. After all this isn't my first folding bike. (It's my third.) 

The Brompton is going to be my utility bike for errands and such in Miami and a travel bike. I just needed a little adjustment time to tamp down my excitement about the travel part and ramp up the fun of the Miami utility bike part.

I made a list of little jobs the Brompton needed. Seemed like a good place to start. The jobs were easy. I cobbled together a seatpost light mount that I liked better than the original. I needed a way to mount my Garmin. I located a spare quarter-turn Garmin mount, and, with a lot of effort and a good deal of colorful language, fitted it on the M handlebar. I made some minor adjustments to the position of the handlebar. Working on the bike got me excited about riding it. So that's what I did.

So, a month after its arrival, I'm giving myself a do-over: I've got a new bike! It folds. I can take it into stores and offices. (No more searching for a safe place to lock my bike. No more worrying whether it will still be there when I come out.) And it's cute. It's been a while since I've had a decidedly cute bike.

What's not to love?

The new Brompton. My third folder. So far, I love everything about it!

Our first folding travel bikes, Bike Fridays.

Our second folding bikes, inexpensive folders, were easy to carry inside the car on trips to the city back when we lived in the boonies.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Satan called. He wants his weather back. (Anonymous)

It's 7:30 AM. Al and I are pedaling down the road. And it's freaking hot.

How hot? To use my favorite Southernism, it's so hot chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs. The ride has barely begun, and I am soaked with sweat.

Half the fun of biking during a heat advisory in South Florida is cataloging the comments from friends. There's the usual squad that expresses fears that you've lost your mind. There's another crew that itemizes the exercise opportunities that can be done indoors or in a pool. Then there's my favorite bunch. They just think it's hysterically funny.

Why are we out there? Well, Al and I keep our lives moving along by trusting in rituals and routines. Rituals are little actions performed almost automatically before an activity. Like checking the tires on your bike before heading out on your ride. Or going through a little gear list (phone, wallet, keys, water, snack). Rituals calm you. Routines are the bigger picture. Like how we ride 4 days a week. Always the same 4 days of the week.

Routines are powerful things, the things that drive both your good and your bad habits. Because of Covid-19, Al and I have lost our group rides with friends and our travel. Those are on hold. There's a very real heartache for that loss. Still, we follow our routines to whatever extent we can because it gets us out on our bikes riding the miles we want to ride.

After our hot, sweaty ride, I'm chatting online with a friend. She's telling me about taking her dog bikepacking with her. I tell her about our ride and how hot it was. "Idiot," she says. "So you had fun, huh?"

"Couldn't be happier if I had good sense," I replied.