Bridge Over Fredly Water

As I increasingly default to upright riding:

I am relieved to find that my new predilections have not rendered my entire Fredly wardrobe obsolete. Consider for example this vest from Pearl Izumi, which I received one year ago:

Well, now that it’s vest weather again, I’m finding it’s equally at home with more casual attire:

And yes, I am the type of huge dork who wears a Rivendell shirt while riding a Rivendell:

That’s like wearing the band shirt to the show.

Meanwhile, with the opening of the Putnam Trail through Van Cortlandt Park, I’ve been fascinated to watch as my own backyard has now become a major cycling thoroughfare. This past weekend my son and I went fishing in the lake, and from our vantage point I watched as everyone from newly-minted Gravel Goobers on earthtone bikes with flared bars to families took advantage of the new path:

There’s a certain type of Fred–older, usually–who arrives at a crowded multi-use path in the late afternoon and then acts imperiously because pedestrians, children, etc. are interfering with his ability to ride briskly. I was sad to see this invasive species has found his way here. Otherwise, however, it made me very happy to see the new path flourishing.

As for angling, I am certainly no Fishing Fred, and we hit the lake equipped with a child’s rod and reel from a popular chain of sporting goods stores and a yogurt container full of worms from the garden. After about an hour or so without a bite, my son’s attention wandered, and so I took over, plunking the worm into the glassy surface of the lake and admiring the reflection of the turning leaves thereupon:

Beyond the world of cycling my knowledge drops off considerably, and I worried about how I might look to an observer with my Team Lampre-colored kiddie pole:

But then it occurred to me that like half the people riding by were adults on too-small department store bikes, and I certainly wasn’t judging them, now was I? Oh sure, maybe Imperious Middle-Aged Fred was, but of course Imperious Middle-Aged Fred on his crabon bike and dressed like it’s 30 degrees colder than it actually is while barking orders at children is also completely unaware of what a gigantic doofus he is himself. Ultimately, I concluded that since it’s much better to be the adult on the too-small department store bike than it is the Imperious Middle-Aged Fred, then it must also be much better to be the adult with the kiddie pole than it is the guy who goes fishing in the park wearing waders and a vest with like five hundred lures on it and shouts, “On your left, I’m casting here!”

That’s not to say I wasn’t dressed like a faux outdoorsman, mind you:

By the way, Rivendell sent me that bag probably like 10 years ago now and I’ve been using it as my man-purse ever since:

Anyway, having reassured myself, I relaxed and savored the contemplative nature of fishing. In fact, after awhile I even forgot I was trying to catch a fish at all and simply enjoyed the process of casting occasionally while basking in the surroundings and losing myself in my thoughts–which is of course when I finally caught a fish:

[Photo: Elliott Weiss]

It’s barely the size of my own diminutive hand, but as far as my son was concerned we’d just reeled in Jaws, and it’s amazing how something as simple as hooking a fish can completely make your day. Plus, even though it was small, it was delicious:

Nah, we threw it back.

But yes, I’m inclined to say that cycling and fishing are quite similar in that they’re time-consuming, many of us build our lifestyles around them, and there’s a bewildering array of equipment available to those of us who do so–yet they’re both fundamentally quite simple, and ultimately the best moments are those in which you totally forget what you’re doing.

I wonder if Rapha makes waders.

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