Monday, October 10, 2016

attitude adjustment doesn't always hurt (especially if I can keep riding my bike)

I have changed the header on this blog to reflect where my heart and head are at about bicycling these days.
The font is called "Permanent Marker" and I'm in love with it. To be honest, I can actually make my handwritten block letters look a lot like this with a Sharpie. And there's something very graffitti-esque about it.
The photo is of a bike that is the exact same make and model I had when I was a kid.  Mine had no fake motor sound on the handlebar; and I removed the fenders and chainguard for dirt riding. But it was essntially the same in all other respects.
When I rode that bike I felt full of adventure and daring.
But that was over 40 years ago. And things have evolved.
I don't have the ability to be quite as daring on a bike anymore. I no longer feel as bold about my off-road riding or racing, mostly because my pesky gut has made it too hard to embark on such adventures without guaranteed close proximity to a bathroom. And unless someone hands me a huge sum of money for a sagged B&B bike tour, cross-coutry bicycle adventuring is not happening for me either.
So I've learned to readjust my goals.

Grocery stores, friends' homes and coffee shops are my usual stops these days. I pootle along at the average speed of about ten miles an hour. It's truly pleasant, especially if I stick to quieter residential side streets.
Some of my best riding these days happens far away from bike lanes. I go slower, but it's often very pretty and very enjoyable at any speed. Try it sometime.

And, although I sometimes miss the adventures of my bicycling youth, I am content to still be able to ride a bike. I hope to ride for a long time yet, even if I have to stay near bathrooms to do so.
Today is a beautiful day for a ride. And I have work to do. So I'll take my laptop to a coffee shop and try and get some work done while I enjoy a cup of fresh, hot coffee and maybe a baked treat. And then I'll take the scenic route home through one of Portland's many tree-lined neighborhoods.
And I will ride filled with gratitude for this day and all my days spent in the saddle.
Because on my bicycle, there are no bad days.
Happy riding.

(Below: Among the fallen leaves, you can see one of hundreds of Portland's Horse Rings. Made of iron, they were installed in the sidewalks at the turn of the last century. This was where you tied up your horse while visiting friends. They are beloved historic artifacts, and removing one today will cost you a thousand bucks plus court fees.)

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