No power but my ownSeptember 7th, 2008
So I have been skateboarding since I was 13. That’s a (very) long time ago. While I was never very good at it, that never seemed to deter me from spending every waking instant obsessing over its slightest nuances. This obsession barred any other activity (well, physical activity anyway) from entering my realm of possibility. That is, until a couple years ago.
When the fam and I relocated back to loverly New England from the eternally (foggy) sunny shores of California, we were a bit unprepared for the dim, grey reality of winter. The sandy wet streets and icy cold weather really sucked the enthusiasm for outdoor activities right out of us. Well, out of Angie and I. Bella, like any five year old, seems to be completely impervious to cold. Or wet. Or really anything else that may stand in the way of her playing where she deems playable. We built a lot of fires, and drank a lot of (adult) warming beverages.
It wasn’t until we were in Corner Cycle looking for a bike for Bella that I felt the first twinge of the bike bug. I had grown up with bikes, both my parents had been involved in racing (my Mom still is, and she can kick my arse), and I spent some small part of my formative years volunteering at USCF (United States Cycling Federation) races and generally making a nuisance of myself. I appreciated the sport, but something about shaving my legs and wearing spandex was fending me off. My friend and I actually had mountain bikes in high school, but all we really did was use them to scout places to hang out in the woods and see how fast we could get going down hill and then crash into things (wait, isn’t that what I’m still doing? Hmmm). But there was something about all those shiny new full suspension bikes lined up that seemed to be calling to me.
We left the shop, but I couldn’t get the noble aluminum steeds out of my head. After several trips back to ponder them, I rather predictably wound up bringing one home. I have to be honest, after one trip into the woods, with the weird click - in pedals, giant roots sticking up all over, and un forseen amount of necessary effort expended to get only a short distance, I almost abandoned the danged thing and walked home. Something in my head made me stick with it, and day after day I was out there pounding away in the woods, grunting, sweating, and swearing my way to nowhere fast. I even had a pair of spandex shorts (actually, they’re Lycra. Totally different. I swear.). Somewhere in the midst of all that hard work (Gasp! Exercise!) I wound up with a new addiction.
Much like skateboarding before it, my brain was almost completely consumed with my new hobby. I studied magazines and the internet, lurked in bike shops, and spent preposterous amounts of money upgrading and tailoring my bike so it was exactly the way I wanted it. Hours and miles of riding fell away behind me, and the next year was a blur of wooded trails and broken bike parts.
Sadly, a few months ago I had a career change, and in the process found myself needing to sell off my bike and all the surrounding accouterments to make ends meet. It was a sad goodbye, to say the least, but hey, we got to eat so no complaints here.
It was only last week that I finally managed to get my hands on a bike again, and while no small amount of fitness had fallen away, it was still like seeing an old friend again. There is something magical about flying through the woods under your own power, feeling the wind in your face and holding on for dear life as you crash haphazardly down hill and over dale (I have never been known for my grace). Couple that with the fact that now I get to ride with my daughter (the training wheels are off. Lookout!), and you have yourselves one happy guy.