Monday, October 19, 2009

Hanging On

Cold weather cycling is something both treasured and hated, simultaneously.  Whereas it seperates the truly obsessed from the mildly interested cyclist, it can also be a lesson in pain and endurance.  Having raced down a mountainside in Colorado at 55 MPH in 35 degrees and not knowing if my fingers were actually on the brake levers or not because my gloveless hands were numb, I recently came to appreciate the necessity of dressing appropriately.  But I also came to appreciate the art of hanging on - even if you can't feel a thing.  This was also drilled into me at last year's Froze Toes race where I learned that the mental and physical requirements necessary to hang on to the leaders was enough to keep me warm, but as soon as I was dropped, the real cold of not only the climate, but also the dissolutionsment, set in.  So sometimes, goals shift from winning to just simply hanging on.

I thought of this yesterday when needing a bit of a break from some office work, I decided to ride across town to grab a cup of coffee.  Coming down 9th street, I saw a long line of cars backed up by something obstructing their way heading north toward Broadway.  As I got closer I saw that it was a three-wheeled recumbent bike going about 6 MPH.  The car behind him was laying on the horn pretty severely and giving this guy quite the earful; another example of car versus bike road rage.  This reminded me of a video someone had sent me of an another bike vs. car road rage incident captured on film in bike-Mecca Portland recently in which a cyclist had yelled at a drunken motorist for speeding in a residential area.  The driver of the car then intentionally ran into the cyclist who, upon landing squarely on the hood of the speeding car, instinctively grabbed onto the windshield wipers and hung on as the car tried to shake him off, TJ Hooker style.

I believe the cyclist was unharmed and the driver eventually caught, but not without scaring the living hell out of every cyclist who saw the video.  I don't know how that guy hung on....or for that matter how William Shatner managed it either.  That TJ Hooker was a man among men with his unflappable nature and kung-fu grip. 

I'm sure many other cyclists like me (and TJ) were at least mentally hanging on by the slimmest of threads last week with the weather, wondering if we would ever get a break from the steady onslaught of cold rain so that we could get comfortably back in the saddles without getting swamp ass.

But alas, the rain stopped in time on Friday for some spectacular cycling this weekend.  All reports indicate that the BikeMO event was a massive success with a good turn out despite the chilly start.  Apparently this year's BikeMO also doubled as a costume party as one cyclist dressed his young child up in the kiddie seat as a Dachshund wearing a halloween-colored argyle sweater. (Great BikeMO photos Melalvai!)

Variations of this costume have been documented in other cities.  Take this one for example where the small child is dressed as a Pomeranian and is accompanied not by an argyle sweater, but instead a six pack of Coors Light.  Nothing says refreshment like riding around town on your Zipp Y-foil with a Pom-pom and a luke-warm Coors.

And speaking of just hanging on by slim threads, I thought I would show you the new bike security system I recently witnessed outside RagTag on Hitt St.  No - I'm not speaking of the U-Lock orgy system that has also been popularized as of late.  This one is far more simple:

To pull this one off, you must pass your cable lock around the top tube and then secure it to an immovable object.  Position the wheels very close to the immovable object and then cantilever the bike perilously outward so that it is hanging on by just the cable.  I don't know if this one has been named yet, but I'm going to call it "The Rappel".

Yup, it's Monday.  And now my 'hanging on' comes in the form of getting through another 5 long days until a sweet enough sliver of time will allow me to escape on the bike for something longer than my morning commute. 

Pedal on!

P.S. A little photo quiz of the day.  What is this picture of?

Something little vomiting Falcon would have seen if his ass actually had been in the flying saucer.  (Courtesy of the CraigsList BikeFO....and users "jayfaz" and "glory_bound")


  1. True fact (and by that I mean, I am making this up), the Grand Poobah is actually in that BikeMo picture. Sitting in the Pizza joint behind dark windows...

  2. I wonder if we zoomed in on the picture whether we could see the top of his fez...