NOT REALLY QUARANTINED DAY ____
I debated for two days on whether to do a Pandemic Ride or not. At first, I was like, “Nah, what if I crash or something and piss the hospital people off?” Then I was just lazy, and finally, on Thursday, I was like, “Fuck it. If my slow ass crashes so bad on a dirt road ride that I need medical attention, it was probably due to something that would kill me, like a 10-ton tractor.” So I rode.
I hadn’t ridden my bike outside in 159 days. Most of that was due to the now “complicated”1 relationship I have with cycling, and the rest was due to weather and/or pure laziness.
The ride was a short, flannel-wearing, 22-mile ride from the Cul-De -Sac-Shack. The dirt roads were hard-packed and fast, I was gelatinous and slow. It made no difference to me; I was outside on my bike and away from any news of viruses, social distancing, and all the other fucked up shit going down around the world.
While I rode many a mile to nowhere at the gym and in the No So Stankement this winter, it still doesn’t compare to riding outside. I have no doubt that the 22-mile ride I did will have me feeling like I rode 100 in the coming days. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life. Yet here we are.
I rode my bike, I took some photos, and I blew the stink off myself. Hopefully, the “complicated” relationships I have with cycling, and my bike start to improve in the coming days and weeks. I love my hikes, and time in the gym, but the mental rub and a tug that one gets from a ride is like nothing else.
As I entered the last stretch of dirt that would lead me home, I was chased by Katie, the dog. I had never seen Katie before but got to know her well on Thursday as she ran along with me, doing her best to get run over. I cussed, I squirted water at her, I gave up. After a while, her owners came out of the house to try and wrangle her back, but it took me turning around and riding toward their home for her to go to them. A process that would be repeated two more times before I could continue on. Her one owner—clad in a stay-at-home pandemic uniform of an old Red Wings t-shirt, nasty sweat pants tucked into his socks, and sky blue Crocs—was thankful but unable to hide his contempt. Not sure if it was for the dog or me. I assume me.
- As I wrote in the fall of 2019: These days, if my relationship status with my bike were on a Facebook profile, it would surely say, “It’s Complicated.”
A series of injuries, illnesses, time restraints, mind funks, and increased loves of things not bike related means that my 25+ year affair with cycling is now more like a Tinder date than a faithful longtime lover.
It’s all good, though, because whether it’s self-gratification while pedaling to Zwift®, a quickie from the Cul-De-Sack Shack, or a well-planned multi-hour tryst, the result is the same; I look lovingly towards my bike and ask why we don’t do this more often.