Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cycling's hidden moments

Before I begin, I should (sadly) admit that my blogging is about to take a nosedive. I work at a university, and September is hyper-drive nuts for me.

I've been meaning to do a post about all those little moments that cycling has that make you smile, that make you glad to be on your bike. I might start a few here, and add to this list as some more come to me.

I like the following:

When you're zooming downhill with more speed than you need, and you take a moment to reach out on the hoods, move your butt back, and do a biiigggggg cat stretch at 50km an hour.

Those times when your legs take over. When your legs sense a hill that needs to be attacked, or a swoop that needs to be taken fully advantage of, and without the thought actually crossing your mind, you're either up out of the saddle pounding into a hill, or dropping low and powering in a high gear into a dip in the road.

Times when you see a piece of glass, or a screwnail, or something tiny but vicious, and all of a sudden you've swerved a milimetre, gone past it, and you cycle on wondering "what muscle(s) did I just use to avoid that glass?" Because you really don't have a clue what part of your body just moved to alter your course for a nanosecond.

Being hyper-aware. Those times when a) you've got too much speed b) traffic is busy c) death from pedestrians and opening car doors is imminent.... BUT.... you feel totally in control of everything around you, you've "read" the scene and as you hurtle down a chute between moving and parked cars you feel like your senses have got a laser lock on everything around that could possibly kill you, and all those things are in their place, and you have your escape route between them.

A few things I don't like:

Wind Part 1 - when the wind has been just roaring in your ears for your whole ride and you almost wish you had brought earplugs so you could get that roar out of your head.

Wind Part 2 - gusty bad weather winds that just bash at you from all angles for hours and you find yourself feeling exhausted and demoralized just from the effort of keeping the bike on the road.

People's inability to keep glass in one piece. Sometimes I can understand shards of glass on the road, i.e. alongside a parking lane where, presumably, some dimwit has tried to parallel park but could only do so by repeatedly ramming the taillights of the car in front of him. But sometimes there are pools of broken glass in totally random places - what's wrong with you people? Where'd you get a 30 year old coke bottle, and how'd you break into a 100 pieces on a countryroad hill climb?

P.s. - this is really funny (at least the conversation with Batman at the end is):
How Superman Should Have Ended from YouTube.


kimbofo said...

I'm so with you on the 'hyper aware' thing. It's such a brilliant feeling when every nerve ending is on fire and you and your bicycle work together like one being.

Dorothy W. said...

Great list! I love all those things.

curt said...

Ah, September...when the leaves begin to fall and the hair begins to fall out. Good luck!

cyclingdave said...

excellent list. thanks for that post.

Timon said...

wind part 2. Fall is here, so we'll all be feeling that a little more.

Jenika said...

props for your commute - that's awesome! on a lesser scale, last year i biked from markham to toronto (30km) to get to/from school, although not year round. this year i'm biking from downtown to scarborough which is app the same distance. but yeah, it's always nice to hear of others who are willing to bike long distances and know that you're in good company. best of luck.

griffin said...

great list, I will have to keep all those "up sides" of cycling in mind as "monsoon" season sets in here. I will be commuting to University as a student again this fall (gratefully, with a much shorter commute)
What do you teach?

Jill said...

Hello Tuco,

Just getting around to reading your blog. It's been a crazy month with little time for blogging. Nice site! Is it true you commute 57K one way to get to work? All I can say is, wow. Keep it up!
I'll be back.