Friday, July 2, 2010

Epic ride!

Yesterday, I rode forty-two miles (42.135, to be exact, if you believe that level of precision can be produced by a twenty dollar computer). Now, in this epic age of labelling the most mundane of acts and creations as epic (as in "Man, that taco gave me an epic case of farts"), I do not use the word lightly. It should be applied only to things whose epicness has achieved a level of epicicity unparalleled by the ordinary. For instance, for anyone over forty (which I am), I feel the rule is that you can refer to your ride as epic if the first digit is the same as (or larger than) the first digit of your age. Hence, a ride of 39.9999999999999999999999999999 . . . (you get the idea) miles would for me be merely a good ride.

Even more remarkably, eighteen of those miles were on the gravel biking/hiking trail in Mammoth Cave National Park. I've ridden that trail in all four seasons, and I have to say the number of clueless tourists on rented bikes is substantial in the summer. You can spot them easily: no helmet, and the saddles are not adjusted properly. Now, I will not deprecate anyone's innocent lack of knowledge about cycling--we all start somewhere--but I do think the people who rent bicycles should also be required to rent a helmet to go along with the wheels (and also explain that if both feet stand flat on the ground while your butt is in the saddle, your saddle is too low and/or your bike is too small.) When I started cycling a lot, I didn't own a helmet. In my defense, I don't think anybody had ever heard of bicycle helmets when I got my first bike (in the late 60's, it must have been). But the helmet was my first purchase, even before buying a good (or, at least, better) bike. Watching a replay of the Tour de France from the late nineties (or possibly early thousands) a few weeks ago on Versus, I noticed even the pros weren't wearing helmets. Of course, renting a helmet doesn't necessarily guarantee wearing of same. But if your hair is too pretty to squash, you probably don't belong on two wheels to begin with. I ride because it makes me feel like Superman, but I'm no man of steel. More like Styrofoam.

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