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The Lord High Bikasaurus Rex
It is a silent yellow monster. It took over some part of me this past year. I love it. I hate it.
A few years ago I bought the banana yellow bike that now resides in my garage, or sometimes the back of my car's hatchback. (I think it is following me.) I rescued it from a used sporting goods store where it was left out on the sidewalk, along with several other slightly battered two wheeled critters, looking and waiting for an unsuspecting casual lookie-loo to feel sorry for it. That was me.
I had no intention of doing more than just getting a bike which was functional, so that I could ride along with my kids as they learned to ride their bikes. The first few months it stayed quietly in the garage. It was working the guilt angle. Every time I saw it there, I knew in my heart that I should start riding it. I mean, I bought it to ride, not to take up space in the garage. The yellow beast sat quietly and patiently, as if it was content to stay in the garage -- just glad to have been rescued from the orphanage, err... bike shop.
Soon the forlorn looks of the yellow beast got the better of me and I decided to put it in my car and take it to work. "I can ride it a little at lunch time", I said. And I did. I rode it to the fast food joint around the corner from the office. A mere 2.5 miles round trip. It hurt. I crawled along at something like 8 miles per hour as pain shot up and down my flabby leg muscles. I was winded. I was a little sore. I was also somewhat embarrassed that it was such a struggle to ride so short a distance. I knew the bike was laughing on the inside. But it was kinda fun, freeing, almost... challenging. Surely I could do even better if I kept it up!
I know at this point a concealed sly grin curled on the lips of the yellow monster. I had taken the bait. This was only the beginning.
It made me think that it was my idea to go into a bike shop and buy a speedometer/odometer computer for the bike. "It would be more motivating to know how far and fast I was riding... and I could start tracking my progress too.. .and and... and... " Rationalizing is the first step on the slippery slope.
My miles increased on my lunchtime rides. My miles per hour average speed slowly grew. I was not as tired or sore after riding. I was enjoying it, and I think the yellow beast was enjoying it too. Then it happened. The idea popped in my head. Could I ride my bike to work? Could I commute to work on the bike?
It seemed like such an impossible idea. The 13 -14 mile distance between work and home was greater than the mere 6 to 8 miles I rode at lunch. It was a dream. A fantasy. I dismissed it after the summer months made riding at lunchtime too hot. The temperature at noon discouraged me from riding at all and once again the beast was hung from the hooks in my garage as if it were dead. Little did I realize it was only slumbering. Like a bat hanging from the cave ceiling, it waited for feeding time. The idea was planted in my subconscious mind. It was only a matter of time.
The bat, err... bike hung in the garage for almost 6 months or more. As the weather cooled, and I looked once again at the pitiful sight of a bike swinging at the end of a hook, I was drawn to the memories of THE RIDE. Yes, THE RIDE... the feel of wind in your face, the race of your heart, the pride of accomplishment. So one day the bike stowed away in my car as I went to work. I resumed the lunchtime rides.
Then the infection spread. My co-worker bought a bike "for exercise". He started riding with me at lunch and I know that my bike must have planned this with his bike. Suddenly my coworker blurted out his goal of "riding to work". It was like someone had said a keyword that I had been told while under hypnosis. W_E M_U_S_T C_O_M_M_U_T_E T_O W_O_R_K O_N T_H_E B_I_K_E.
My co-worker and I built up our miles at lunch, pushing each other to go further, until we were doing 10 and 14 miles round trip at lunchtime! Wow! It really would be possible to commute! Now I really became infected. I bought toys for my bike! I got lights for the rear and front (for safety of course). I bought a nifty little overpriced rear view mirror that hooks on my sunglasses. A new padded seat cover was purchased. I bought RIDING GLOVES! (oh my, what could be next? Spandex!)
My co-worker and I did our first ride from work to home one evening. Success!!
Over the past few months I have been bicycling to work once or twice a week. It saves me some gas, builds up my body (and maybe my ego). I feel good. But that was not enough! No, the yellow beast told me there was more! I found a local bike riding club that rides in the area just for FUN on the weekends! (I know this is going to end in spandex some day!)
Now I buy fancy wax lubricant for my bike chain, I spend time adjusting the gears just so, I have changed the tires and optimized the height of my seat. I have become the puppet of the yellow Bikasaurus Rex!
"Please, please oh great twin wheeled master... anything you wish, but don't make me wear spandex!"