i didn’t mean for the whole post to be about biking

April 18, 2020

Got out for an early afternoon bike ride today. Much better than after work rides, as far as making safe space for passing all the foot traffic in the streets these day. More bike riders out, though. Mostly spandexed ones. Only 1 or 2 of those dudes not passing with as much room as I wish they would.

I’ve worked out a couple routes that include some hills to boost the level of intensity, especially because I’ve solely been riding my townie bike since the isolation orders. My townie bike is my 12 year old Surly Long Haul Trucker (maybe first edition) that I converted into my version of a cruiser with cafe or granny handle bars, a 2 ring crank and 8 ring cassette, some bigger tires, and for a while, a basket upfront. It’s not something I ride because I want to get somewhere more quickly, as in it’s not my commuting bike. It’s something I ride because I want to slow down, look around, talk to whoever I’m riding with, at least I used to do that, the talking part, in different times.

I’ve been riding my townie since the pandemic-isolation because everything else feels so intense, and I wanted riding to feel the opposite of that. My commuting bike, a Surly Straggler, has clip in pedals and drop bars and I feel more dialed in when I ride it, more exertional. (Am I even using that word right?) The townie vibe is dialed down. It’s more like I ride a bike and less like I’m a cyclist. Not that I identify as a cyclist. If I’m forced to claim a biking identity, it’s definitely commuter.

In my mind, I have written whole books about the experience of bike commuting, and how broken the transportation system is in the US when it comes to support for bike commuting, and broken is a gigantic understatement.* What I hadn’t anticipated, during these times, was still having shitty experiences with people driving cars. There may not be a lot of cars on the road, but the ones out there are being driven at excessive speeds. Excessive. Even on residential streets. It sucks. A lot.

* Also does gigantic mean giant XXL? I refuse to abandon my blog to go look up a word, again. I’ve already looked up synonym’s for intense. Also this is my experiment with a footnotey thing. It’s not an actual footnote because I don’t have the syntax or formatting.

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