June 15, 2011
In the darkness of a cold Oregon night.
Through the city.
Onto the bike path.
Over the river.
Sorry Grandma, no woods.
Onward on my fixie. Usually by the time I get home, after a day at work, I’m not all that interested in rolling on. This time, I didn’t want to get off my bike. But I had to.
My legs proclaimed that if we keep this up, they’ll be buff beyond recognition in SF. They’ll be calling out the hills. They’ll be calling out anyone. Bring it on.
I slept on it.
Then I rode the fixie back to work in the morning, understanding the nuances of addiction much, much more intimately than 24 hours ago.
It’s the kind of bike that you expect to see after someone interrupts you in a back alley with, “Pssssst. Come here. I’ve got something to show you.”
That becomes one of those moments you rerun over and over in your head. Why did I look? That’s the way I’m starting to feel. I knew better. Really I did.
Part of me wanted to run away screaming at the mere thought of a fixie. I’m just not a fixie type. Just like I’m not a suit-and-tie guy. Or a BMer dude. But I didn’t listen to those instincts.
Next thing you know, I’m spending lunch on my fixie. The early rise of Bailey Hill Road was a test, but a real test would be something like Skinner Butte in town. Sure, it’s not climbing Mount Evans. Or Washington. Or Hood. But it’ll get your heart rate up, and it’s urban. Let’s not forget the tikit is primarily a commuter bike.
Next thing you know, I’m huffing up Skinner Butte, on a wonderful sunny day in Oregon. At the top I can see the snow-covered peaks of the Sisters in the distance. It feels like something cosmic is happening. I attribute it to lack of oxygen, and head back toward work.
On my way down, though, I find myself playing a game. How long can I go without touching that brake? Going pure fixie, you know?
Seriously, the answer is not very long. This has to be a an acquired taste, or talent.
When I get back to city cruising, I find my hands ignoring the brakes with an air of bravado. I know these challenges begin in the head, but at this point, my head is enjoying a front-row seat in this game of chicken between my hands and my legs.
Sick. I know. Totally sick.
The rest of the way back, my speed is up, down and all around. It’s like I’m clicking through my gears, seeing what’s right for me. Only there are no gears. It’s just me and the fixie. And we have a lot to learn about each other.
What’s this mean for my future? I’m not certain. I just know it will involve shaking legs.
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