Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Eve rehab ride

Yesterday I rode thirty-one miles in semi-inclement weather. For those of you not in California, that means the temperature dipped below forty at some points. The low temperature was partly because of the wind -- for about two-thirds of the ride, I was struggling against a headwind.
Yesterday's weather. Overcast and cold one second, sunny and slightly less cold the next.
About twelve miles into the ride, I decided that I would do something unique (for me) and set a ride goal -- in this case, a small deli that I remembered from a pre-injury group ride. I knew I was within three or four miles of it, I just didn't know exactly where it was. In the spirit of the Cycliste Moderne,  I used my phone's GPS to find the downtown of the city I knew it was in.

I locked my bike up and went in to purchase my food. The deli was as I remembered: good sandwich, nice selection of sugary snacks for the depleted cyclist. Since the deli had no inside seating, I went outside to eat in the cold of the early afternoon sunshine. 

And sitting there at an outdoor table was another cyclist. Upon seeing me he asked if the sky was falling. With my typical je ne sais quoi, I replied, "Huh?" He noted that I was wearing a bicycle helmet but had no bike, and so must be using it for general protection. I assured him I had a bicycle and went to retrieve it.

The other cyclist was Stanley, a retired astronomy professor from the university where I work. As happens when two cyclists meet, we checked out each others bicycles (his was a 1981 Motobecane road bike, which I was a bit envious of), and talked about bicycling history.  If I could reproduce verbatim what he said, I would: he talked about cycling through the forests of Germany on his way from Frankfurt to Hamburg, and of difficult climbs he had done (or failed to do). He reassured me that if I ever got a drop bar bike, I would adapt to it; at seventy-one, he rides only drop bar bikes. We also discovered that we were both interested in the J.S. Bach's organ works; he from the viewpoint of an amateur organist, me from the viewpoint of an interested listener.  

When it came time for me to leave, Stanley showed me a simple way to get back to where I needed to be. I was glad to have met him; he turned what would have been a simple stop for lunch into an engaging few hours of conversation.

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