Wednesday, January 23, 2013

23 millimeters of rubber

I am a relativity sane and normal 44 year old man and I am in love with my bikes.  I have two rides and I love them both with equal intensity.  I actually have a fondness for all bikes but my girls are special.  Millie and Forrest (they are my bikes and I can name them anything I want) have both saved my life and put my life in peril   Both of my girls have had a hand in changing and shaping my life.  Both of my girls and I have spent a lot of time, and a lot of miles, together.  My girls and I have been in relationships longer then most of my people relationships.  But to be fair, I put more time and care and love and effort into my girls then I do with most of my people relationships.

TOP 10 REASONS WHY MY GIRLS ARE BETTER THEN REAL GIRLS (except for my wife, she really is the coolest girl I know...and my daughter, she's a little angle.  When she smiles at me first thing in the morning...fugedaboutit!!!! It just makes my whole day)

1. They don't get jealous of each other.  I can ride Millie all day and Forrest will just sit at home and wait her turn.

2. They each know their place and they don't try to be someone they are not.  Millie is my road bike, she and I have been on some epic long rides together.  She was with me for both Ironman's and all 6 half iron's.   We've ridden from our home base in Bethesda, MD to exotic ports of call like Frederick, MD and Sugarloaf Mountain, Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah and Harper's Ferry, WV.  Millie gets to go to the beach with me and ride from the northern tip of Ocean City to such diverse and charming little hamlets as Dagsboro and Selbyville.  Millie is fast and smooth and well mannered.  Forrest is my daily commuter.  A single speed cyclocross bike, she is tough and durable and very stable but sorta nimble too and surprisingly fast.  Forrest is perfect for running errands and getting me around the city.  Forrest gets to go to exciting destinations like Nationals ballpark, the gym at Friendship Heights and The Giant.  Forrest, I rarely ride for more than an hour at a time, usually only :15-:20 minutes per commute.  Millie, I have rarely ever ridden for less than an hour at a time, usually 2 or more.

3. Both my girls have taught me lessons about life purely with my best interest at heart.  Lessons about overcoming obstacles  lessons about expecting the unexpected curves life throws at us, lessons about being aware of your surroundings, lessons about planning, and lessons about what to do when those plans go south.

4. My girls never lose interest in me.  They are always ready for any adventure or mundane task I may call upon them for.  They are also willing to wait months or even years for their next adventure.

5. Although usually very predictable they sometimes like to be unpredictable, just to be silly.  Like the time that Forrest decided to loosen her rear wheel so the chain came flying off.  Then there was the summer that Millie flatted 6 times in 8 weeks.  I really learned how to change a flat that summer, got my time down to about 5 minutes.

6. Nobody is more dependable.  Sure, Forrest lives in my car and Millie resides under the stairs with the furnace and old cans of paint.  But when it's go time, they are ready.

7. Forrest helped me find a condo to move into.  Millie helped me find myself.  When I first got Forrest my home search was limited to a half mile radius from work, I didn't want to have to drive everyday.  She expanded my search to a more affordable 5 mile radius.  Millie and I have ridden over 11,000 miles together, including 9 separate rides of 100+ miles, usually solo, but never alone.  If you don't learn something about yourself during a century ride then you are just not paying attention.

8. They taught me a little bit about how the body works.  Think about this for a bit.  If you went to the "body parts store" and bought a hip bone and tried to balance it on the saddle of a bike it would fall off.  If you got a complete skeleton and placed it on a bike it would still fall off.  If you were able to see a working model of the human body in motion while peddling and controlling a bike you would see every muscle in the core working to either stabilize the hip bone or shift the hip bone into a slight tilt forward or back, left or right to help control the bike.  It is those slight variations in position that steer the bike or provide power to the peddles.  It all starts from the core.

9. I love the potential they hold.  What will the future hold for my girls?  Will Millie and I ever go more then 100 miles at a time?  75?  50? If we move to a new home will Forrest ever get to do the daily commute?  Will she be regulated to errands and blowing off steam around the 'hood.  When my daughter starts to ride how will that start?  I suppose in a bike trailer behind Forrest, then a third wheel trail-a-bike.  When she get's her own bike what adventures are in store for us then?  I can't wait to find out.

10. These girls are part of my past, my present and my future and I will never get rid of them.  Unless I unexpectedly come into a large sum of money, then I can see a new race bike in my stable, and a re-purposing for Millie and maybe Forrest as well.  But they will always be here for me if I need them.  Because I will always, to some extent, need them.

See you on the road friends

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