Back In The (Leather) Saddle Again

After many weeks of riding my foul-weather bike [insert stock photo]:

I recently transitioned to my plastic one:

Having spent so much time crouched over those curly-type handlebars like they use in the Tour de France, I wondered if perhaps over the winter I’d reverted irrevocably to Fred-dom. The Lycra, the integrated shifting, the clicky-type shoes…it all felt, well, natural:

But today, with the salt and slush largely gone, I finally returned unto my Rivendell, and as soon as I sunk into that leather saddle my Fredness slunk away into the dark corner of my memory, like the guilty recollection of some drunken dalliance:

Consulting my meticulous records, I note that it’s been almost exactly one year since I first took delivery of this bicycle. (A popular courier service with a brown motif delivered it to me on March 6th of 2020.) Shortly thereafter, the world began to shut down, though through it all this bike opened my both my eyes and my crotch to a decidedly more jeans-and-underpants-oriented cycling existence. Sure, society may have been locked down, but I was riding free, free, FREE!!! In this sense, it was like a tab of LSD slipped to me while I languished in solitary confinement–they could imprison my body*, but they could not imprison my mind.

*[They didn’t really imprison my body, I still rode every day. While people were saying in the early days that it was irresponsible to ride lest you hurt yourself and single-handedly overwhelm the hospital system, my attitude was always, “If I sustain an injury and there’s no room for me in the hospital, go ahead and shoot me where I lie, it was worth it.” In fact that’s exactly what’s inscribed in my ROAD iD, and my offer still stands. ]

Anyway, here we are a year later, and this is a photo I took completely by accident, probably while checking my email or something:

For those of you who ride in and around New York City, please note that there are still patches of snow on the South County Trailway:

Portions of this path lie perpetually in shadow, which means there’s generally snow on it until like August.

One thing I’ll say about Rivendell is that it’s so smooth and comfortable it has almost a narcotic effect. While you can certainly ride it in a spirited fashion, you soon find yourself so subsumed in smoothness that you simply decide, “What’s the point?” The upshot of this is that, whereas on my plastic bike I find myself squeezing in an extra 10 miles, on the Rivendell I stop thinking about distance and how much ground I’ve covered and instead decide, “Fuck it, I’m going to hang a right and tool around Yonkers:”

To crest a forbidding Yonkers summit and then gaze upon the stately skyline of New Rochelle is to experience the sort of aggressive mediocrity you wouldn’t think possible so close to Manhattan. Indeed, I stood there and took it in for a full nine seconds before remounting, pedaling away, and wondering to myself, “How the hell did I manage these last few weeks without a kickstand???”

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