high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Been awhile since the last post. Good thing blogging is like riding a bike.

Trying to get this post in before it gets too late tonight, as tomorrow will be another fairly early morning.  Tomorrow will start with a bike ride, as I ran this morning and I'm alternating run-bike-run-bike right now. Hopefully there will be more to share on the reason for this training regime later, but for now we'll just leave it that biking has become part of the regular routine.  Biking is significantly less jarring (that is, less difficult) to get up and do in the morning, so you could say that tomorrow is an "easy" day.  Some may say that if it's an "easy" day then I must not be trying hard enough.  To those people I say "If you're pushing hard every day then you must be on steroids."  To this they would respond "We're not on steroids."  To that I say "Yes you are, because I injected you when you weren't looking."

Obviously 'roiding
The bike I'm riding is actually the same bike that I had when I was a kid - a Huffy Mountain Storm.  It's black and green, with white spots that presumably represent a mountain storm (of snow).  This was my first 10-speed bike, and remains the only 10-speed bike I've ever owned (and no, I haven't dallied with more or less speeds - why go looking for something else when you have a 10?).  The MS has had some time in the garage, no doubt, but after getting it out recently and having it tuned up at a bike shop, it's back in good shape.  Both Nate and I had the same bikes as kids, as they were given to us as Christmas gifts by our parents.  If memory serves me, Dad was pretty excited to give us the bikes because it was a gift that he had always wanted as a kid, so retaining the bike over the years comes from more than just a desire not to spend money on something new.

Let me describe the bike further for you.  It has wheels, tires, a frame, and gears.  Classic bike components, all.  The bike also has a water bottle, which has accumulated some filth over time from lack of use, and to drink from it today may be like taking a gulp of pond scum, which seems kind of appropriate given the bottle's bright green color.  The bike has a seat and pedals.  The bike has fangs and can talk (in my imagination).  The bike does not have rabies (in my imagination).

The bike is not for sale.  Except the bottle - I'll take the
highest bid for that (you'll have to make a blind bid).
Let me describe how to ride the bike for you.  There is the simple procedure of raising your leg over the frame and hoisting yourself onto the seat, but then multiple options are available.  You can ride sitting down, you can ride standing up, or you can ride by clinging to the handlebars and letting your body fly up in the air behind the bike (this requires some amount of speed, and likely some powerful street drugs to make it work).  When seated, you have the option of riding with hands firmly grasping the handlebars or the option of riding with "no hands."  This means you simply let go of the handlebars and balance yourself as you pedal along.  It does not mean you are literally without hands.  If that was the case then the list of possible ways to ride the bike would be endless (no fingers, no arms, no head, etc).  Riding "no hands" does have some inherent danger associated with it, and could result in a rider with no skin on his or her knees/elbows/face, but it is worth it, because by riding "no hands" you can lift your arms and feel the air flow under your armpits, which is truly delightful.

As a kid the practice of riding "no hands" was pretty common, and in retrospect I'm fortunate that no significant accidents occurred, because I also rode "no helmet."  It's not as if I felt impervious to harm, because there was some prior experience with wiping out while riding a wheeled device.  Specifically, when I was about 3-4 years old I remember being out camping with Mom, Dad, Nate, some friends of the family, and Pop (Dad's dad).  At that time my preferred method of transport was on a Big Wheel, and there was this nice road going downhill near our campsite that obviously held some appeal for me.  Noticing the glint in my eye, Pop said "Don't go down that hill, you'll crash."  I distinctly remember thinking to myself - at 3-4 years old, if that tells you anything - "Give it a break old man, I've got this."  Down the hill I went, and needless to say the gravel patch at the bottom was unkind when it connected with the soft 3-4 year old flesh on my face.  Pop carried me back up the hill.

You know what they say - The bigger the wheel, the...the...
well, they don't really say anything...
Let me describe how to dismount from the bike for you.  As a kid my feet couldn't actually touch the ground while I was sitting on the seat, so the method of dismounting did not involve setting my feet on the ground and then raising one leg over the frame (it is possible to get on the bike in reverse fashion because you can hoist yourself with the pedal after getting your leg over the frame).  When dismounting, you have to get off while the bike is still in motion, otherwise you just keel over.  To dismount, you put one pedal in the down position, then raise your opposite leg over the frame with the bike upright so that you are basically riding alongside the bike, standing on one pedal.  Then you can simply hop to the ground with your hands still holding the bike to stop its motion.  When properly executed, this maneuver can look rather graceful I imagine.  Kind of 1930's, if you will.  Dad demonstrated this dismounting maneuver to us because obviously, after presenting us with our Christmas gifts that year, the challenge of getting off the bike quickly presented itself.

Dillinger.  Baby Face Nelson.  Pretty Boy Floyd.  Schwinny.
Perhaps the reason that the 30's come to mind so readily is because dismounting from the bike in this way is reminiscent of the way that gangsters used to ride on the running boards of cars.  Again, you're standing alongside the vehicle while it is rolling along.  Because I did not think of this parallel while a kid, I'll have to do my best to make up for lost time now.  Alcohol is legal these days, so while bootlegging would be cool, it wouldn't be much in keeping with the image of the 1930's gangster, not to mention the fact that I could only attach 3-4 bottles of beer to my bike, with maybe an extra poured into the pond scum bottle.  Since alcohol is out, I'll have to resort to some 1930's style drive-by violence.  Of course I'm not talking about hurting people.  That would be absurd, and a little too illegal, despite the awesome potential of garnering the nickname The Mountain Storm Outlaw.  No, my target is a bit different...

The streets just aren't safe anymore
Some may roll their eyes as they read this and think "un-original," but to them I say "Do you have a nickname for your bike-riding, 1930's style gangster?"  Didn't think so.  The intended target of my violence: Canadian geese.  These birds/monsters are the bane of my existence.  When I reference gangsters, these birds fit the bill.  And an open, hissing, tongue-protruding bill it is.  They really do go about in gangs, terrorizing passersby and intimidating with their long necks and big wings, not to mention the fact that they shit everywhere.  The V-shape that they fly in is no mere evolutionary development.  It stands for vendetta, dammit.  And now that ole Huff' is back in business, it's on.  Picture this: Some Canadian geese are milling about on a ravaged patch of grass somewhere in Columbus, occasionally hissing at a jogger and, of course, shitting everywhere.  Suddenly, the geese look up and see a figure coming out of the mist.  It is unlike anything they have seen before, so they stay their hissing and watch.  It looks like a bike, but unlike any bike they've seen before, because there is no rider on top of the bike.  Instead, it looks like someone is riding alongside the bike.  The unease starts to rise in the birds' throats, but it never comes out in the form of a hiss or a honk because their throats are too long and the shadowy rider is moving too fast.  To their horror, the geese realize that the rider is wielding a baseball bat, and several of their number fall before its 1930's style swinging.  The rider disappears, and the geese start to wonder about this new threat.

Too violent for you?  Well, then just think about the nice image of a little blond-haired kid gleefully riding his Christmas present, and turn your head when you see a grown-up clad in trench coat and fedora balancing on one pedal the next time you're on the bike trail.  

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