Is Bicycling Hard? Or, A Little Story About How I Got Back On The Bicycle
Wednesday • August 30th 2023 • 11:25:31 pm
In my teenage days I’ve noticed, a strange and mysterious little path running along the i-275 highway in Michigan.
It is so small compared to the Highway, that to this day looks silly.
I then set of on great many Michigan adventures, and one time upon my return from camping at little Nordhouse Wilderness.
I just started missing nature and adventure, and I couldn't go back to Nordhouse…
Because I camped there for sixty days or something like that, and the raccoons almost elected me as their leader and protector.
So I remembered an ancient bicycle, that came from some garage sale, and looked really expensive, it said it was made from aluminum – OK!?
So, I got on it, threw a load of bread in my backpack, and bushwhacked my way to that little road.
Days before, I was jogging in the area, and figured, might as well try to shuffle on that litter road.
That's when my foot sank in a foot of mud, and I had to hop to the little road, to dry my socks.
While my socks were drying, I did some detective work, and it turned out the silly litter road is called the i275 Bicycle Trail.
So now that I had a bicycle it made sense to bicycle on it, hours later, I made it to some distant park may 20 miles away, or more.
And my pedal started squeaking, really badly, then I lost pressure in my tire, from a little wire, and had to walk home three miles.
I abandoned the bicycle on a rest area, because after dragging it for two miles, the inner tube came out, and I had no idea what to do.
I had no tools, nothing to repair the tire with, I didn’t know where to begin.
I drove to the rest area, got my bicycle, got a tire repair kit from a supermarket, and followed the instructions.
Next I took my awesome bicycle to a bicycle repair shop, to figure out the squeaking problem, and why the pedals were wobbly.
The man said he can replace the pedal assembly, but I could read his behavior, and asked.
“Is this a cheap bicycle?” Yes! He almost yelled out, it seemed that he’s been holding it in like gas.
The repairs would cost as much as a new bicycle, what I had, was the cheapest kind of bicycle, and it was way too small for me, even.
But I didn’t know, I loved anyway.
I started riding a mountain bike, and it was large, it was long, but it turned out to have too many moving parts.
Things were always a little off, it is still a good bicycle, it is still around.
But, I stared tiding a $135 dollar fat tire bike, it has one gear, and you trigger the breaks by moving the pedals back a little bit.
And it is really hard to lose balance because those tires are heavy, and they really want to turn, just forward.
Fat tire bikes, almost ride themselves.
Despite the stability, I did end up falling from the bicycle, I am a natural born sea captain – commanding old-timey tall ships is in my blood.
So when I ride a bicycle, I use the terms port-side and starboard, instead of saying left and right like a normal person.
And actually notifying the person ahead of me that I am about to pass them, on the left.
Because I am drunk from the power that the command of my bicycle bestows upon me, I often use the terms interchangeably.
Knowing that people don’t know what the hell I am saying anyways, I use the word starboard, even when I am passing on the left – it is such a pretty word.
And I developed a habit, of dumping all my weight on my left pedal, and actually standing on my bicycle like a proper captain.
Well, I went in a fast food joint by a gas station for a Ice Frappe, and on my way out...
I either stepped into a cleaning solution, or some car oil in the parking lot.
Not a minute later, with all my weight on that one pedal, my foot slipped.
I went from a proud captain, in charge of the sea of asphalt, to a stupid 280 pound bird about to kiss it.
I went flying through the air at seven miles per hour, flapping his wings, with the bicycle now intricately interwoven between the two of my legs.
I skinned my elbow like a nine year old boy, but quickly got up, without crying.
As a side note by other trick as a more muscular nugget now, is bouncing down the stairs, hitting all 12 of them, and feeling fine.
Well, certainly awake, stairs are actually my only fear.
Just today, I replaced the pedals, now worn rubber, with aluminum that has screws crudely driven through it.
There is no possibility of slipping of that pedal now, but those screws are much to pointy in an area where the legs generally go.
Previously I replaced the seat, my bicycle trail adventures last the whole day.
And that seat was just for making a few loops and presumably popping a wheelie, or something.
I went to the supermarket again, and got a seat for large and plump bottoms - now, it feels like sitting on a sofa.
If you are just starting to ride your bicycle, get the big seat, don’t worry if your bicycle looks odd.
Those other seats require few bruised days of getting butt bone used to it, just find a large comfy seat.
Remember, whatever can go wrong will go wrong, so you must always have a bike tire repair kit with you.
As as big of an air pump as you can find, the little ones are flimsy and cheap, they may bend or come apart.
And all the tools you use for poking around your bicycle, must come with you as well.
I bought a handlebar bag for just the tools, and that’s also where I mounted my air pump, beneath the handlebars.
If you can patch and inflate the tire, and screw whatever came unscrewed, your bike will always bong you home.
You may need a bit of grease as well, maybe a little can of that WD stuff, these two will help with squeaky things.
For the last three years or so, I had a dollop of a moisturizing sunblock, in one of my squeaky pedal handles, a little bit of grease goes a long way.
As to weather, usually, before it rains, you find a spot to wait it out, you can wear a poncho, but it best to wait it out.
Mud however, is different kind of problem, your back tire will actually throw mud at your back.
And your front tire, even on a sunny day, can send a little pebble at your face.
So you will need mud guards, the universal flimsy ones are just fine.
They just need to stop little bits of dirt, and watery mud.
You will need plain transparent plastic glasses, to prevent bugs and dust and tree bits from flying into eyes.
I never ride without eye protection, in my experience, it takes little more than 30 minutes…
For a stupid fly, to try die in your eye.
Don’t ride without glasses, they cost nothing, and will keep your eyes perfectly safe.
And you will need bug-spray, you don’t have to spray yourself ahead of time…
Just if you need to stop, to repair something.
I am yet to become wise enough to wear a helmet, in part because my fat tire bike is just super slow.
But I totally plan to wear one, as motorists can’t really see you – nor should you trust them to see you.
Get some neat blinking lights, and a proper helmet.
Please, be safe, and drink plenty of water.