Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Right or wrong

There’s a guy who has shared part of my commuting route for several years now. I often wave to him or yell “hello” as we pass while riding in opposite directions. I sometimes notice how many things he does wrong.

He sits way too upright, for one thing. As he pedals, his feet point inward at a nearly impossible angle. He rides in too low a gear, so he’s always spinning too fast with his hips bobbing up and down. A few days ago, I saw him rise out of the saddle to sprint a short distance—across smooth, shining glare ice—about 25 yards from a place where he was going to have to hit the brakes anyway. Worst of all, he sometimes avoids snow-covered bike paths by riding on the road shoulder against traffic.

On the other hand, he rides nearly every damned day. Regardless of snow, rain, wind or sub-zero cold. Some mornings as I plow through a few inches of fresh powder on my Pugsley, I marvel at the sinuous tracks he has left in my path as he charged to work with his 2-inch tires, wildly drifting and swerving through the new snow. I’ve watched him do this, and he often appears to be on the verge of a sensational crash. But I’ve never seen him fall.

I don't know how he does it. It's almost as if it hasn't occurred to him that he could fall.

While everyone driving by him is warm and dry, he hammers to work and back home every day looking like he just ate half a case of Ding Dongs and washed 'em down with six cans of Red Bull.

I still think he’s playing Russian Roulette when he rides against traffic—especially on dark, winter days—but maybe he’s not doing so many things wrong, after all. He’s out there riding, having a ball, and doing it day after day.

And, somehow, staying upright.


Dano said...

I also see people like that, and I have all good intentions to ride up and maybe give them a few pointers, but when I ride up next to them, all I can say is "good job!"

Bujiatang said...

My wife and I stopped some folks in their snowy tracks last weekend. We have the Kenda K161 tires on our road bikes, and went from Minnehaha to Fort Snelling and back again in Minneapolis. 1 3/8in tires broke some brains.

It was hard going but the stabilizing muscles got one hell of a workout, and we laughed the whole way. I'd say wider would be easier, but it would also mean different bikes.

lemmiwinks said...

Spinning is a great aerobic workout and probably keeps him toasty warm :-)

Anonymous said...

Maybe he is Jesus and he is working miracles in ALaska!

Frederick Ingram said...

I saw a guy like that outside the library in Sugarhouse, a suburb of Salt Lake City. He was pedaling furiously, coming up the sidewalk on the wrong side of the street riding a tricky bike. Said he'd been to Bountiful, which was in the next county. He was in rehab.