I Want To Ride My Bicycle: Season 2, Week 4

Last year, I started commuting to work by bike.  I waited until the kids were out of school – so between that and some mechanical problems (my old Fuji 10-speed had seen fairly little use since the late eighties), it was really mid-June befere I could start biking regularly.  And given that it had been 17 years since I’d biked regularly, it took me until mid-July, probably, before I was in any kind of shape.

Still, it was a great investment of time – and it got me into the best shape I’ve been in in years (which was not an especially high bar to jump, but as the man said, from small things big things one day come).  Most of all, it just felt good; a brisk ride in the morning is a great wake-up; a vigorous ride home at night is both relaxing and a great way to keep your energy up.

So this year, the goal was to try to get on the road by the beginning of April.  Naturally, we had blizzards, unseasonable cold and miserable slop well into the first part of the month; I didn’t really manage to get on the road much before the middle of the month, squeezing in part of a decent week of biking before the trip to New York.

But since then, it’s been pretty steady going.  And dayum, it feels good.  My evening commute features one long, ugly uphill climb; it took a few weeks of steady effort last year to climb it without getting off and walking it.

This year?  Well, it’s still a long hike, but I’m gratified to say my legs held up OK over the winter; I made the climb on my first day, and haven’t had any problems since then.

Not that it’s fun, per se.


But yesterday, I was reminded of the enduring, world-conquering power of testosterone.

I was sitting at a traffic light at the beginning of the longest, ugliest leg of the climb, in my sweatshirt and windbreaker pants.  A twenty-something pulls up next to me in full spandex biker regalia, with a “Obama” sticker on the side of his backpack.

Game on.

Now, the guy’s a real, genuine biker, with legs like tree trunks – kind of like mine were 20 years ago, when I was biking constantly.

As we jumped off from the light, I got behind him and followed him up the hill.  He started pouring it on; I kept on going, staying about four feet behind his back tire…

…and BOOM – we were up the hill!  Done!  Blammo!  Just like that!  Barely breathing hard!

I stayed in his slipstream for probably two miles, pacing him pretty nicely.  Now, for all I know he had mononucleosis and felt half-past-dead and that was the only reason I could keep it close; I am, after all, 45.

Still, that long, ugly hill practically vanished.

So my conclusion; without testosterone, humankind would still be sitting in caves gnawing on grass seeds.

I hope I can find some unwitting nemesis for tonight’s ride…

11 thoughts on “I Want To Ride My Bicycle: Season 2, Week 4

  1. When I saw my ‘Left of Wellstone’ sister the other day, with her green bumper stickered Prius I told her ‘Mitch would call you a gas guzzler you know” *laughing* and then explained she needed to buy her self an alpacca coat to complete the stereotype *grin*

  2. Who knew lefty bumper stickers could be a motivator for something productive?

    My hubs biked to work today for the first time this year. The thing is, he’s a security guard/EMT at Canterbury, so i can only imagine what he looked like: a douchebag, complete with giant security belt, puffing away on his bike.
    (He’ll be the first one to tell you he looks like a tool in his uniform. And he’s not lying.) i just hope no one runs him down out of sheer principle. 🙂

  3. Ah come on pianomomsicle. The security guys out at Canterbury have decent uniforms compared to many security people. They’re all black, right? They look pretty much the same as Shakopee Police uniforms to me (yep, I’ve seen ’em up close).
    Maybe you just don’t like a man in uniform?

  4. a douchebag, complete with giant security belt, puffing away on his bike

    Wotta wife – heckling her husband! 🙂

    Maybe you just don’t like a man in uniform?

    I’m thinking she probably does – being married and all…


  5. I misspoke. She obviously doesn’t like the uniform, though. That was harsh!

  6. You know, some uniforms are ok. When he becomes a paramedic, those uniforms aren’t as….”i failed cop school” as the security uniforms are:)

    But no, i’ve never been turned on by uniforms before. He still looks cooler than all the other security guards, because of his faux-hawk, but black doesn’t do anything for him, and neither does that giant belt. The handcuffs, on the other hand…..that’s a different story:)

  7. Chad:

    Worst reality show ever.

    “Security Guards Gone Wild?”


    The handcuffs, on the other hand…..that’s a different story:)

    Oh, behave!

  8. Flash, trust me here. Your sister doesn’t need a single thing to complete her transformation into a walking stereotype! (laughing)

  9. Good work Mitch. Are you riding up Ramsey Hill?

    My bike comes back from the shop next week, and I agree, the commute to and from work are great to get the blood flowing and reduce stress. Those rides are even better when you see gas at $3.72.

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