Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ah HA!

No, I'm not getting into ironically notable-by-way-of-obscurity '80's bands (although, now that that's come up I could do with some Journey, Steve Perry's falsetto really is the greatest thing ever). No, I'm talking about rediscovering something a little more significant to me. It's not that I forgot about bike riding, or even that I haven't been riding, just not the way I was a couple months ago. Blame the earlier sunset, the cold, the wet, the snow, whatever, for many reasons I'm not putting many miles on lately.

Concurrent with my drop in mileage, I've been in a %&$#ing SHITTY mood of late (ask my friends and co-workers, no one can really stand to be around me right now). There are also a number of reasons for that, grad school and certain members of the opposite sex playing somewhat significant roles in my ill temper, but there is definitely a correlation between my mood and my mileage. Today was particularly bad, and I walked (ok I stomped, like a toddler having a tantrum) out of my lab around 5:00 pm and hopped on my fixie just because I couldn't really handle anything else at that point.

I wasn't really headed anywhere, the sun was setting, and the temps were starting to drop below thirty, so I certainly wasn't planning on putting on any significant mileage. However, this being Montana, and me being a dedicated bike commuter, I did have the lights, clothes, and studded tires to handle pretty much any of the standard winter-time barriers against doing some riding. I headed south out of town. By around mile five I was feeling really good and I realized that a ride, a real ride was exactly what I needed.

I made my favorite post-work way-home south-of-town loop, and got back into Bozeman feeling warmed up and better than I have in a few days. I certainly wasn't in any rush to get off of my bike. By this point, I was remembering all those conversations I'd had with various friends over the years regarding the malaise of not riding for a while, and I decided to keep going. I headed north. I hit up some snowpacked trails, and some rutted out gravel roads. I spun over sections of desolate asphalt and navigated traffic-filled highways. My trusty little LED headlight illuminating just enough road to allow me to navigate the terrain, but also leaving a few unseen surprises, just to keep it all interesting. I hammered up climbs and spun out coming down the other side. I spent a couple hours listening to the cacophonous sound of my frenetic thoughts being tempered by the soothing bzzzz of my studded tires. I rode back into Bozeman, exhausted, and chasing traffic from stop light to stop light. My legs were like lead weights from spinning a 42x15, studded tire adorned fixie, for around thirty miles, and the rest of me felt good, real good.

I rode my bike. I haven't done that in a while, not really. I'm still stressed about this and that, but I remembered what it seems I'd forgotten.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Blog!

Yes. New blog, apropos of very little and/or nothing. It'll unfocus on the mediocre, mundane, and utterly anti-thematic, and it would probably be best if it was never read by anyone at any time. In fact, it will most likely be the buffer for all that late night drunken blogging I feel the need to do.



It's here Micellaneous Haberdashery.

Monday, November 17, 2008

You want to know why?

People sometimes remark to me that they're a bit taken aback by the violent reaction from the cycling community, or any one individual on a bike, when there is any sort of altercation between a bike and a car.


Friday, November 7, 2008

News Flash

The American auto industry is extremely flat footed! Frankly, I'm pretty amused that part of the dead weight pulling GM down is Hummer. I mean, if you can't sell Hummers, that's a problem. Remember the early Nineties when people were looking askance at 'rice burning cars'? All of this American Hubris is a fascinating thing to watch.

I'm sure this bodes nothing well for our distraught American economy, but every house of cards comes down eventually.

I noticed that gas is $2.19 a gallon on my ride to work today, so you can't buy a Hummer, but you can fill one with gas again. All those people hopin' an prayin' for gas to come down from 4 bucks got what they asked for, it just came on the heels of what may yet turn into GDII. My ride to work cost me about $1e-10, so I still feel pretty good about the cost ratio of riding my bike vs driving a Hummer. Maybe GM and Ford can melt down all those huge trucks to supply the bike industry with raw materials so Surly doesn't have to raise their still quite reasonable prices just because the cost of steel is rising.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


There are a few brief windows between seasons where you get an absolutely perfect temperature for a morning ride. Today was such a day. Soon it'll be cold, and icy, and after that wet, and slushy, then raining constantly, and ultimately summer will reappear and getting to work will entail a lot of sweating. I've got all sorts of special little gear bits and clothes to deal with all those varied environmental fluctuations, and I enjoy aspects of all those types of conditions and the challenges and special skills they present and require.

But today is clear, cool, beautiful. Today's ride was perfect.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Why do this? Why tackle physically demanding sections? Why do a seven hour ride? Why do a 60 mile fixed gear race in a hail storm and laugh through most of it? Why switch to riding a single speed mountain bike, and spend 90% of your rides so far beyond your anaerobic threshold that you end every ride so weak you nearly pass out? Why put yourself through physically torturing situations on a daily or weekly business?

It's not just that it feels good to be done with a long ride, it's more than that. We actually enjoy suffering in the moment we're pushing ourselves at the limits of our endurance. We like that feeling that we're about to explode and then reaching down to push a little harder. Not all addicts are cyclists, but clearly all cyclists are addicts of one sort or another. What the hell is wrong with us?

I'm not saying I like it when I'm hurting, but I seem to continue to throw myself into situations that I know are going to be physically and emotionally demanding and midway through I'm gonna wonder why I did it in the first place...but I keep riding, and when I'm the most exhausted is when I feel the need to push myself the hardest, and then it's over, and I can't wait to do it again. Do we REALLY like something about pain? Does that make any sense?

I know there are a lot of other things to a ride than pain and suffering, but that's a big part, and I kind of doubt we'd like it so much were it not for that fact.

I wouldn't call myself a masochist, but I seem to seek out things I know are going to hurt.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


The weather turned to crap today. It makes a harmonious backdrop for my mood.