Friday, July 15, 2011

The Early Morning Spin

When I drew the drapes and peered sleepily out my upstairs bedroom window this morning at 5:30 am I was disappointed to see that after a succession of brilliantly sunny days the sky was grey. There were small patches of blue here and there, but by and large the ceiling was somewhere between dreary and lacklustre. Knowing however that as we have now passed the summer solstice the days will only become shorter, I was resolute to take advantage of the opportunity to bicycle early in the morning without having to sport a flashing light on my wrist. This accoutrement – along with helmets – are now so de rigueur as to be considered exceedingly unfashionable if missing.

As I am generally an early riser, I am familiar with the patterns of activity at that time of day. There are for example several people who regularly walk their dogs. Given the early hour and the tranquillity of the day I make a point of never intruding upon these people other than to say Good Morning! I take it that they value the serenity as I do (as much as I am tempted to cuddle those bushy-tailed and spry Golden Retrievers).

The air was still this morning so I encountered no headwind in either direction. Sometimes if the temperature is warm enough even a bit of wind is a welcome reprieve.

Given my advanced age bicycling is no longer about strenuous exertion, rather enjoyable exercise. This coincides with my current philosophy of life which mandates that I no longer do anything hard. The days of triumph and grasping are over! I am satisfied with what is reasonably within reach.

As for the route I take when bicycling, I have adopted one which (like my philosophy of life) is mostly flat and which avoids the possibility of high speed traffic, especially trucks. I formerly travelled along the Appleton Road because it made for a convenient ten kilometres from our house to the Women’s Institute and Museum in Appleton and back again. However, apart from being chastised by the robust wife of one of the local farmers for bicycling against the traffic on the left side of the road (even though I kept on the gravel shoulder, not on the road), the more compelling deterrent was the threat of the trucks. More than once on the Appleton Side Road, where trucks regularly travel from one end to the other, I have noticed reasonably large sized rocks on the side of the road. Those rocks closely resemble the ones being carted by the trucks to build the new ramparts for the highway from Carleton Place to Ottawa. Recently I had a rock fly from a passing truck and hit my car, so I know the possibility of collision exists. In any case I am probably just making excuses because the prevailing pattern of my bicycle travel is much more condensed and manageable. Besides it satisfies the exigencies of my present diet which – for some inexplicable reason is associated with 17 days – exacts no more than 17 minutes of exercise per day, something even I can conveniently accomplish thus neatly expiating my guilt.

Bicycling is for me the preferred exercise. I know there are contemporaries of mine who insist upon lifting weights and playing squash or tennis. As much as I admire those athletes I have reluctantly accepted that my days of acting gingerly upon my weary feet are long gone. Anyway you know that old saying about doing what comes easy; for years I have been drawn to bicycles and bicycling. Note the use of the noun and the gerund; it’s the thing and the act which attracts me. I expect the nominative attraction is the mechanical side of the equation, much like cars are one of my interests. As for the participatory element of the equation – the bicycling – it has to represent not so much the speed as the distance. I find it much more pleasing to say I have bicycled ten miles than to have walked four. Of course everyone knows that there is no comparison (I fully accept that running is far more demanding), but I nonetheless prefer the breeze and the travel.

No comments:

Post a Comment