Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Ride Report: Riding Partners

Exciting weekend at COMO CYCO headquarters.  The PooBah's head bidon-washer, editor-in-cheif and all-around good eggette got herself a sweet, sweet new ride.  Actually, the bike is not new, but she is rather gloriously vintage and brought back to new life.  I cannot divulge details without bringing untoward paparazzi-like attention to her because she will be all-too recognizable around town.  Just know that there is brand-spanking new addition to the COMO CYCO cycling scene, and she's pedalling proud.

Before we picked up the new addition to the ever expanding COMO CYCO bike collection, I was lucky enough to get out for an absolutely beautiful long ride Saturday morning by myself on my road bike.  As I was spinning along, I passed some cattle with an interesting appearance, who all looked at me incredibly un-impressed.

I may be mistaken - but I'm pretty sure at least a couple of these are Scottish Highland cattle.  Zipping by them, I had a fleeting Walter Mitty-esque imaginary moment that I was Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree,
but then I looked down at my computer.  Whereas Obree's computer would likely have been registering something like 33.3 mph (which is what he averaged for a 10 mile time trial in 1997 the day before the British Cycling Federation 25 mile championship), my computer looked like this:
But as I was looking down at my computer, my eyes glanced over to notice that something had attached itself to my left shifter cable.  I carefully reached into my back jersey pocket and pulled out my cell phone and tried to snap a picture while still spinning along (not a wise thing to do).

Realizing this photo is as clear as mud - I will tell you, and you will have to trust me, that it was in fact, a fly, which had landed on my shifter cable and was pointed head first into the wind, his translucent wings fluttering gently.  Obviously, few things desirable or pleasant in life attract flies, and I figured this occasion was probably no exception.  Despite the coolness of the morning, I was still working up quite a sweat and hadn't exactly showered that morning before I headed out, so perhaps his presence wasn't that surprising.  I watched him for a while as I scooted along and was impressed that he was able to still hang on, but attributed this to either 1) how he kept adjusting himself to optimize his head and body position in perfect Obree-like time-trialing fashion or 2) that I indeed suck, and don't have the power to blow a fly off my shifter cable.  I decided it was probably the latter.

After about 2 miles of watching him thrust his bulbous, multi-eyed head into the wind, I started thinking about his motivation and wondered if he was taking enjoyment from the ride anything like this:

Ok - maybe that's a bit of a stretch.  And incidentally, I would rather have my dog along for a ride any day over a fly - but you get the analogy.  And speaking of bringing along the COMO CYCO dog for a bike ride - I have to confess that I've contemplated letting him ride in a BOB trailer, but I'd be worried about him behind me where I couldn't see him.  Plus, I think this would be much cooler, especially if I got him some goggles and a scarf:

Not only would this work to let him ride along beside me - but check out what a chick magnet a bicycle side car apparently is.

When I got back into town, the homecoming festivites were starting to ramp up in full force and I was the unfortunate witness to a tiger mauling a helpless retarded college kid on a BMX bike right in the middle of College Ave. 

I'm guessing he was in a lot of pain by his erratic cycling.  However, I did nothing to help him, as I figure tigers need to eat too, and would the world shed that many tears over the loss of a kid with a cerebellar disorder on a cheap BMX bike?  In my mind, this is Darwinian theory in action: survival of the fittest.  Plus, tigers are cool.

I parked my road bike, grabbed my commuter and hooked up with the COMO CYCO GEEC (Good-Eggette and Editor-in-Chief.  But please - it's prounounced "geech" NOT "geek" in honor of the Italian history of cycling and pronounciation of a solitary 'c' as 'ch' like in the word "Cinelli.")  We picked up her aforementioned sweet ride and tooled around campus together like a couple of 10-year olds, watching the insanity of Homecoming unfold.  Drunk undergrads yelled at us from their porches.  We smiled.  It was wonderful.

I recall an article written not long ago titled "Running Alone May Offer Diminished Rewards" which examined rats that were allowed to run either alone or with some buddies.  They found that the solo-running rats had less brain cell growth than those that got to run with others.  The scientists suggested that the potentially harmful stress hormones induced by exercise may be buffered by the social interaction one shares while running with others.  I'm not sure if this data can be extrapolated to cycling as I think they had a hard time getting the rats on bikes for some reason.  At any rate - I absolutely love riding alone.  That said - I can't dispute the sheer enjoyment of getting to share this with someone else.  As long as we never, ever look like the couple I spied on my ride home that evening.

Pedal On!


  1. Their seats are too low. Other than that, I would love to look like them some day if it meant riding with my husband. Matching fanny packs and all. That is much better than, say, matching love handles and double chins, which is what happens to many folks who don't have a lifestyle that incorporates exercise.

  2. Well said. And yes - their seats are too low.