hormones and bikes

it is quite amazing to me how quickly my hormones can escalate a thought into a disaster of monumental proportions. just as speedily, however, they can decelerate from the utter ridiculousness of it all and cause me to laugh until i’m crying…again.

these hormones come once a month and often take effect in the form of rash decisions concerning the topic at hand. lately, the topic is bikes.

in anticipation of an upcoming bike tour in iceland, i bought a new (read: new-to-me) fat-tired bike with a manageable amount of shifting capabilities. this bike also came with a smattering of rust, questionable cobwebs or pet hair, and a picturesque horn to alert any pedestrians who hadn’t been forewarned of my approach via the clean yet squeaky chain.

last night we took advantage of boulder’s bike-to-work month activities and ol’ unreliable got herself a free tune-up. (ol’ unreliable is a named coined by my nephew to fondly describe my 1997 civic that now resides in NC and provides sporadic transport for my brother-in-law between repairs.)

in light of how i began this post, the rest should be self-explanatory. it did not go well. the cables are shot, the rust may-or-may-not cause crumbling of the frame, the brake pads are disintegrating, and the slightest speck of debris lodged in the wrong place could lead to implosion. in short, the bike rolled away with its tail between its spokes. i didn’t fare much better in my attempt to outwit the hormones gathering like a raincloud about to burst. (“eh, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” “…except he’s a bike mechanic by trade.” “pish posh, if something breaks on the road, i’ll figure out how to put it back together.” “perhaps, although i’ve been in this saddle for just a week and remember so little of bike anatomy from the first bike trip!”) anyway, i cried. then i sat in rapt attention during a 2-hour bike maintenance class and absorbed each word as it slowly pricked away my confidence in ol’ unreliable.

so i did what any rational-but-hormonal person does and i decided to prove them all wrong and make this morning my first proper bike commute, all 26-turned-30 miles of it! us-36 does not have a designated thru-pathway for bikes, which is unfortunate. so using a mixture of the phone’s gps, printed maps based on forums’ route suggestions, and the handwritten directions i’d given myself from what i deemed the top-36-knowledge-expert (his screen name on the 36-commuting solution forum led me to believe he practiced what he preached), i set off at 6:30am this morning.

Imageby 9:30am, i had arrived at work after a mirage of sprinkers, dodging weeds as high as my waist, and several dead ends. it wasn’t physically challenging (save for the infamous s. boulder road hill), but it was mentally and, you guessed it, emotionally challenging. it also wasn’t the forum’s fault, i merely missed a street (or two or three or seven) and found myself in bowels of broomfield’s endless “interlocken” variations.

i wanted to write about this experience because it wasn’t a midweek adventure that i will do often (the standard 5-mile-ride-bus-4-mile-ride routine is much more pleasant), but nonetheless i’m glad that it happened. and anyway, it was not nearly as awful as the mixture of hormones and bikes trailing me on my first day of work when i blindly attempted to find the park-and-ride during a snowstorm.

Image

the conclusion is simple: be bold and take chances. if that doesn’t go well, buy yourself some chocolate.

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