It seems every spring, when the ice on the ponds is too soft to skate, the slopes too sloppy to ski, and the country roads still to salty to pleasure cruise on a motorcycle, my fancy lightly turns to a bicycle.
Tune Up Time.
Here, (the Twin Cities, to be exact) it was recently unseasonably warm and daytime temperatures climbed to the 60s, on a sunny weekend no less! I found myself instinctively excavating my bike from it's winter home and conscripting it for a pre-season ride.
I, like many of the meticulous men in my family, set about tuning up and cleaning the machine before rolling it even a single revolution down the street. The maintenance and preparation is almost as satisfying as riding the bike itself. I enjoy the ritual.
I promptly cleared three times the space actually needed in the living room for the procedure and flip the bike upside down in the newly-created space. Great care is taken to ensure a thorough session. Glass cleaner, rags, paper towels, 112- piece tool set, chain grease, extra batteries, and of course a well-chosen music playlist are all necessary. I adjust the brakes, seat, handlebars, grease the chain, inflate the tires to proper specifications, change the batteries on both headlight and taillight, and clean the bike in it's entirety.
Now, I really nerd out. I put on my 2XU compression shorts to keep everything in place, and then add the token gym shorts to be a bit more modest. Add in a light-colored long sleeve shirt from UA to regulate temperatures, a bike helmet for paranoia purposes, and an EcoVessel bottle of water.
Heading out, I travel along the bike paths that criss-cross the city. (One of the greatest developments in city planning in recent years has been the re-purposing of the disused railroad tracks that cut their way to the heart of any big city.)
After a joyful mile of embracing the warmer temperatures, I've managed to roll through just the right amount of puddles to notice the back of my shorts are wet. I thought I was more careful and had avoided them, but alas, I have toddler pants now. An adequate punishment for not having a rear fender.
What happens when you don't run fenders in the spring.
So, back home I go and the cleaning process begins all over again, this time with a beer in hand.
Wet pants and dirty shirt aside, I'm grateful for the chance to get out and ride the bike, if only for the change of pace from the dreaded treadmill.