Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I am the new 40

Lordy Lordy, look who's... yes well it isn't a surprise. I look the part, feel the part and my wife hopes that one day soon I'll even start acting the part. While some might not consider me to be old (your numbers are dwindling daily, I might add) I also can no longer be considered to be young.

I'm in the purgatory of age brackets.

Oh and apparently I'm now old enough to be called a 'mamil' which oddly, I'm okay with. Speaking of biking, I was up this morning for a leisurely ride around Stanley Park this morning and I have to say it was fantastic. There was another truck coming through the infamous intersection I had my accident at today, but I was already braking properly and there was no drama involved. I even wore my favorite cycling jersey, a green and black one from a shop I used to frequent when I lived in Aldergrove. The shop is long gone but the jersey still fits (barely).

My old bike is still holding up, mostly thanks to the work I had done on it two years ago in preparation for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It is developing some new mystery creaks and the shifting is getting sloppy but somehow it continues to carry me over each hill, or at least down to the pizza shop and back on those evenings when ordering a pizza is just easier. I continue to lust after new rides but after a solid year I haven't managed to do much about that. They say we procrastinate against not only the things we don't want to do but also against the things we really want to do too. I'm a classic example of that I guess.

One of the things I hoped to do last year was to learn how to ride a fixed gear bike. The closest I came to that was to sit on one once at a bike store, so that goal will have to roll over into this year instead. Part of the problem is that I don't have a bike that is easily converted to ride fixed gear. The other part of the problem is that I don't want two bikes, so whatever I end up with should be convertable. I don't care if it is because it is a road frame that has horizontal dropouts or a track frame with cable stops for internally geared hubs. Boy, am I ever getting off track with this post.

For years I have asked Holly for a leather jacket, be it for my birthday, or other gift giving holiday. The problem has always been in finding something that actually looks good on me. Two days before my birthday Holly and I are out shopping and while I'm waiting in line to pay for some things she stumbles across something she thought might work. It turns out the one she picked was too tight for me (see the link above) but we were able to find a size larger that fit me correctly.

Today is only partly done, but already it has been better than good. Just about everyone at work has wished me well and I've heard from lots of friends and family. That's pretty much what it is all about, right?


Derek said...

I still don't understand the appeal fixie bikes, except for lower maintenance costs (which a convertible type would presumably negate). When I was a kid and had a one-speed bike (still with a freewheel, but coaster brakes), I longer for something with gears to make hills easier, both up and down. Now that I've had those kinds of bikes for years, I can't imagine why anyone would want FEWER gears, let alone a bike that can't coast.

I suggest you get a unicycle instead.

iTripped said...

Well for me, it's one part nostalgia, another part mid-life crisis and a bit of curiosity. Converting a road bike won't negate lower maintenance costs as I would not be using those derailleurs, etc.

Where I ride most often today is along the seawall or in the West End. This is not exactly hilly country and I'm certain I can find a single gear to handle any of it. The other thing is that given how short my commute to work is, I barely get much of a workout that way, so at least riding fixed gear would give me a bit more exercise (no coasting, for example.) As an analogy, compare it to driving a standard shift compared to an automatic. Standard shift drivers often talk about how much more 'connected' you feel and they do have the ability to slow down the car with the engines instead of only relying on the brakes. A fixed gear bike is able to do the same by resisting against the pedals.

Basically it's something I've been curious about for a long time and I do have an appreciation for old school track bikes but I admit that comes more from an appreciation of the crafting involved in producing them as opposed to riding.

Finally, I don't have the balance to ride a unicycle with confidence. At forty, I'm finally getting an appreciation for my limits and the unicycle takes it a bit too far. :)

Derek said...

Hmm, maybe one of those old Pennyfarthings with the giant front wheel, then?

I see some of the appeal, I guess. But I think the analogy with cars would be to a vehicle with a single gear and no clutch plate or torque converter, wouldn't it?

I think I'm too cynical because of all the hipster connotations that come with fixies these days. After all, I'm no stranger to using old technology. Plenty of people wonder why I still own and use film cameras, for instance.

iTripped said...

Actually no, the car analogy was merely to illustrate the ability to slow the bike by applying resistance to the pedals, much like you can gear down and let the resistance of an engine settling into a comfortable RPM to slow the vehicle.

So wait, you are opposed because of 'hipster connotations' yet you then mention you use film cameras? Aren't film cameras just as 'hipsterish' if that is a real word?

If it helps any, I've liked track bikes for years now, kind of like how you have been working with film for a long time.