Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coffee Surprise

With only the slightest of headaches, and a fuzzy perspective, I rolled through the morning. I enjoyed the ride through unusually cool air, even if it was a bit forced. I needed this ride like I need my morning coffee. So with a full Saturday schedule, I forced it in. The plan was to ride one way to Denton, meet up with my bride, and ride home with her. It was a good plan, except I awoke to a kitchen with no coffee. I decided not to sacrifice the ride time for a coffee fix, and hit the road hoping the morning would be sufficiently invigorating.

Riding along was so enjoyable, it was hard to stop. The plan was to pause in route and the appropriate time to coordinate final errand arrangements. With the sun low on the horizon, doing his just-out-of-bed stretch, I found a hilltop and made the necessary calls. The bad news was that the item to be picked-up was not ready. The good news is that my schedule just opened up considerably. This is the kind of adversity I can handle. It didn't take long to conjure an alternate plan. As my bride indicated a need for a little more rest, I said that I'd go on into town and pedal back home. It was coffee time.

With my fuzzy sights set on my favorite shop on the courthouse square, I rolled on. Moments later, while sitting on a courthouse bench, I tasted my chocolate muffin, sipped the aromatic brew, and reflected on my good fortune. I was able to enjoy my morning coffee afterall. What's more, I purchased a half-pound to take home and was able to double my time on the bike. What a delightful surprise! Like one of my bride's dogs watching a piece of toast fall from plate to floor, sometimes circumstances provide surprising rewards.

What started as a squeezed-in errand ride turned into a leisurely forty mile, fixed wheel coffee run.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Evening Encounter

I suppose we never know what we'll see when we set out on a journey. However, journeys on the bicycle, even short ones, allow more than seeing. On bicycles, we can have encounters.

Just out riding around this evening, I saw the guy with the hat "high stepping" his horse down the street. I'm sure the horse's technique has an official name, but all I know is that it appeared much more like prancing than simply walking along.

Then the children ran out toward the street to watch them pass by. Me, the mom, and the horses all arrive simultaneously. The guy without a hat says to the mom, "Would they like to pet the horse?" The children smile, laugh, and the horse patiently goes along with it all. I watch, listen, feel the breeze, and enjoy the moment.

And just like that, we have ourselves a brief evening encounter.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No Travel Tour

Lamenting the lack of time on the bicycle lately, I began a trend toward grumpiness.

Then, reflecting on Elden's recent devestating loss of his beloved, grumpiness turned to shame. How could I waste time on a minor inconvenience and not be grateful for my beloved, who remains with me? I still have a chance to demonstrate my appreciation for her.

I took a quick tour around our little prairie home...

...and celebrated the wonder of the no travel tour. Because she makes everything she touches, a thing of beauty.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Grant Was Right

I don't know how many times I've read the stories of guys who chose against Grant Peterson's recommendations. The theme of these stories, quite often, is to express remorse for not taking his suggestions sooner. They speak of how much they regret not raising their bars earlier, or they finally try platform pedals and regular shoes and are amazed how little performance they loose. Maybe, after poking fun at his retro ways, some become converted wool fanatics. Some of them learn a more expensive lesson. These guys have a frame for sale that is just a little too small. They want to sell it and buy the size Grant suggested originally. Now I have my own "Grant was right" story.

I just installed wider bars on my A. Homer Hilsen and am surprised how much better they are. Like some of those other guys, I thought I knew better. After all, before Homer, I had two bikes. One had 41 cm bars and the other had 44 cm bars. I liked the handling of the bike with narrower bars, so when I ordered the Rivendell, I ordered the 41. Grant suggested that I try the 44, but I said that I had tried both and preferred the 41. He said something about it being hard to argue against experience and gave me what I wanted. The problem was that I hadn't done my experiments on the bike in question. So after a few hundred miles of my own internal mental nagging, I moved the wider bars to the AHH. The difference was surprising. The wider bars seem to have increased comfort and improved the bike's handling. The improvement was at once delightful and humbling.

Grant was right. Now, if he suggests something that appears to be utterly silly, I'll probably give it some thought. For example, I think I might go back to the article on running with your bike up hills wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat (Pedal & Hoof, Pedal & Hoof, Rivendell Reader 37, Winter 2006) and give it another read.