Let’s see if Uncle Dan can actually ride his bike without crashing. My snapped ribs and concussion are behind me but the lingering residue of knowing I am no longer invincible will be with me for the rest of my life. Pity I didn’t discover this earlier. I quite like playing the old man role as I wince in pain each time I lean back in a chair. But there were miles to be ridden people, and we had a nice little break in the wind and weather, so with friend Larry in tow we headed south to the flatlands of Albuquerque.
Seeing as I had been on the mend, my mileage count was nonexistent, so what I was looking for was a flat, simple, slow ride to grind out a few miles. Paseo del Bosque Trail was the perfect thing, a remedy for my past ills. Flat, wide, paved or dirt, and loaded with families, fellow cyclists and a range of other human powered obstacles. In addition to being a perfect 17-mile stretch of easiness, the trail also offers some of the best birding around. The trail head parking lot is filling with elderly in adventure kit. Binoculars, lenses, guidebooks and the slightly deranged look of those possessed by life lists and ticking vagrant boxes.
Riding flat pavement on a single with 2.2’s might seem like an odd thing to do, but frankly, it was just what the doctor ordered. Well, the doctor actually said “Whatever you do, don’t get another concussion over the next few months.” But what thought I needed was a flat, untaxing ride, and that is precisely what we got. Never once did I feel fatigue in my legs. I did, however, feel my taint. My cycling bib from Voler is crazy good and crazy comfortable, but instead of wearing that like I should have, I decided to wear my cheap shorts with cheap insert which did little to protect my taint. Seeing as the ride was flat and I was on my single, well, I didn’t stand much. Consequently, the old taint paid the price.
After completing the ride, my first thought was “I want to come back and do a flat century here.” Well, my first actual thought was “I gotta check my taint,” but after a quick recon I knew I was in the clear. A flat century on tarmac on a single with 2.2’s might seem like your worst nightmare, but for me it’s just about being on the bike. With lingering C19, busted ribs, a concussion and a stomach bug, the last two weeks have been less than stellar. Any ride feels like Disneyland on mescaline. Dreamy. At some point, I will return to “normal.” I will return to my dirt adventures and even have plans for some longer rides this summer if the job doesn’t shut me down. For those of you contemplating getting back on a bike, well, now is the time to begin the planning. Spring is around the corner for many of us. Suddenly, you will see 2-3 day warmish breaks on the weather report. These are for us. Take advantage.
Being out on the bike is not only fun and healthy, but the time on bike provides me with a clarity of mind I rarely find anywhere else. Even when I’m riding with someone, Larry in this case, and we are talking photography or projects or all-time worst roadside toilets, I have a parallel conversation playing out in my mind. I write stories, I craft project ideas and I put critical thought into a myriad of topics. There are times when I ride twenty miles and have little to no memory of the actual ride because I am so deep in thought. Not all rides lend themselves to this. Technical trail, downhill, etc. all require my undivided attention, which is perhaps why I gravitate toward long, solo rides on gravel and road. I’ve written 5000 word essays in my mind. I’ve connected dots I’ve never been able to connect any other way. Like all pursuits, cycling provides a rabbit hole of options, and with this reality comes the silo-effect of those wanting you to fit a certain style of bike or tire size or shifter type or pace. Don’t listen to any of these people, me included. Ride what feels right. However long, however far, however up or down. Just ride.
Hey Dan! Glad you’re feeling better. A concussion is nothing to sneeze at! Is this your single speed bike?
That is my ONLY bike and yes it is a single. (get one)
Both the bag and the bike are sexy AF Dan. I ended up collecting my Surly over the Christmas period BTW. 2.8″ x 29ers on that. Love em. Proper do it all bike. Worth the 4 month wait.
I love Surly bikes. Had the Salsa not worked out I was looking at Surly as well. And so inexpensive in comparison to so much else.
Is it possible to get an AG23 bag?
Hey Eric, it’s just a Mystery Ranch Ruck 15 but that bag comes with a patch of velcro on the front so you can attach whatever patch you wish to attach. My hope is to have a merchandise line with AG23, eventually, which will allow for people to buy the patches. The goal is to use the revenue for micro grants.
Oh, and did you ditch the Brompton?
No, I have and love the Brompton. I don’t ride it much around here as I live on dirt and it’s not meant for that. I will take it when I am out and about this summer, however.