Monthly Archives: April 2012

Tips for Riding in the Rain

My grandfather used to take the weather very personally as did the postmaster in the little New England village near where we grew up, and often when we went down with him to get the mail we’d end up twiddling our thumbs for an hour while the two of them would strike up long grumbling…

My Bicycle and I

When I think back on all the different modes of transportation that have seduced me over the years, only the bicycle has ever remained true. The thrill of gaining my driver’s license barely outlasted my teens and a few college road trips, while the prospect of going to an airport, ticket in hand – once the very summit of glamour – has become like the halo before a migraine. Even the romance of taking the night train or sailing away on a long sea journey has turned out to be like the aroma of fresh ground coffee – somehow the stuff always smells better than it tastes. But forty years down the track, I can still set off for a bike ride with the same jaunty expectancy I used to feel when I was a kid and the world was wide and bright as a shiny new penny

Flights of Fancy

Other than on the bottom line of a home-loan agreement, with the tiny letters APR after it, I cannot think of a single instance where the figure 25% would be less welcome, or more disheartening, than it is when you see it on a road sign beside a hill, like this one I saw near…

Illumination

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is quoted as saying in an article in…

Wind Versus Hills

The wind was blowing a gale this morning, tossing the treetops and shifting the cloud cover at a lively rate and reminding me yet again that strong gusty winds are among my least favourite riding conditions – black ice being the other. Never mind the possibility that a sudden strong crosswind can scoot you out of your lane position and into the path of an overtaking bus, or whisk your wheels out from under you if it catches you unwares while you’re carving a turn, to me there is just something joyless and deadening about churning, head down, into a strong wind.

I really dislike it. Given the choice I’d far rather pedal up a hill, even miles of hills – steep ones! – than ride into a strong wind. At least with a hill you can see your adversary. Often it is very pretty, even inviting.

Variations on an Enigma

As personal as all my bicycles have been to me, past and present, I have never given any of them names. Not one. They’ve all been what they were – the Schwinn, the Trek, the Cannondale, the Thorn, whatever. To be sure a few times over the years I’ve toyed with the possibility of naming…

Ownership

It was mighty grey and cold and damp when I was wheeling my new randonneur out of the garden shed this morning at a quarter past five, and when I glanced to the north and west from where the wind was coming I saw a mass of low purplish-grey clouds rolling in over the rooftops,…

A Handy Little Gadget

In my breezy eagerness yesterday to put winter behind me once and for all and get out on my springtime randonneur I not only forgot to take an air pump with me – an omission that fortunately had no consequences – I discovered later when I got home that I’d also forgotten to pack my…

The Best Laid Plans…

How sweet it was to hop aboard my Enigma randonneur this morning, freeing it from its months of lethargy in the garden shed, and setting off down the street bound for the seafront and from there on to more distant places. Eastbourne was the turn-around point I’d more or less settled upon, a forty-odd mile…

My Winter Bike

We’re a month past the spring solstice now and it’s getting noticeably lighter and brighter in the mornings, enough so that I am thinking it is probably just about time to put away my winter bike for the season and start riding regularly on my summertime bicycles – the Pegoretti road bike and the Enigma…