I apologize for my absence these last few days. In addition to the High Jewish Holidays, which I don’t observe in any way but which do serve as a convenient excuse, I’ve also been quite busy tending to my children’s respective Pando-era educations. This involves being part IT professional, part tutor, and part lunchroom administrator:
In the plus column, I’m basically repeating kindergarten, which I probably needed since I’ve been pretty fuzzy on my numbers and colors. Also, today I brought them to their first day of actual, physical school (they are receiving in-person instruction every every third alternate Wednesday or something), which afforded me some much-needed time to take care of sundry important matters. So naturally I ignored those matters and immediately hopped on my bike instead:
It’s been wet the last few days, and so I’ve been riding my beloved and be-fendered Milwaukee–which, you’ll be pleased to know, is finally running smoothly after my recent-ish overhaul:
There’s been much written about using 10-speed Shimano wheels on 10-speed Campagnolo drivetrains, but almost nothing about the opposite set-up, because it’s something almost nobody is interested in doing. Therefore, the news that it works well is most likely wholly unremarkable to you, like learning you can use Miele vacuum cleaner bags as filters for your Mr. Coffee. But hey, it’s working for me, and that’s what matters.
By the way, as I took the above photo, a woman asked me if I was selling the bike. I replied that I wasn’t, but then I remembered that it’s still hard for people to buy bikes because of the Pando. I’m reminded of this regularly, because when people ask me what I do I tell them, “I write about bikes.” When they reply, “How the fuck is that even a job?,” only more politely, I explain that until recently I wrote a column about cycling for a big outdoor magazine, but I’ve since been furloughed for Pando-related economic reasons. Then they say, “Huh, that’s funny, because I’ve been trying to buy a bike for months and they’re all sold out. Funny how we’re in the middle of one of the biggest bike booms in history, and yet you, a person who writes about bikes, has nothing going,” only more politely. This leaves me feeling like the only person in the bike world who’s not making hay out of this whole Pando thing, which hurts my self-esteem, but which which I suppose is also the inevitable result of my having done my best to set myself apart from it ever since I started this blog back in 2007.
Anyway, all of this went through my head when she asked me if I was selling the bike, so after replying the negative I asked her if she was interested in it figuring maybe it was finally my chance to cash in on this whole thing. Alas, she was not interested in the bike. Therefore, I remain the only person in the bike world not making hay out of this whole Pando thing, but at least I still have my Milwaukee, so who’s winning now?
This past weekend was also noteworthy because I managed a long-ish ride on the Rivendell, which is something I haven’t been able to do since my end-of-summer vacation:
My route took me along some of the most popular Fred routes in the New York City area during basically the most popular time in the New York City area to ride a bike, and as someone who is always striving to set himself apart (see above) I admit I was way too proud of myself for being the only person out there in sneakers. One of the more interesting aspects of riding a bike like this among Freds is that every so often one of them will go out of their way to let you know they appreciate your bike, and will complement it in a slightly condescending way, kind of like you’re the “special” kid and they’re really impressed with your coloring. But no amount of condescension could rival that which I silently exude as I pedal along on my Rivendell, surveying the Lycra-and-crabon hordes and reveling in the fact that of these thousands of riders I’m the only one who really “gets it.”
Then the next day it’s me in Lycra on the crabon bike. Because it feels good to hover above it all, but it also feels good to let yourself fall back down to earth.