May 11, 2017

Big Wheel

Most of the group lined up and ready to roll, Bike to Work Day 2017
It's been an odd year. Cold weather. Wet weather. (Lots of that.) Not a whole lot of blogging going on because, well, not a whole lot of cycling going on.

And then came the Cold of the Century. Three weeks of misery (and counting). Yesterday I despaired that I might not be able to ride at all, today (Bike to Work Day). I assured my co-conspirator that I could, at least, lead people the few miles to our rendezvous point. From there, he might not only have to take the lead—he might have to manage the group alone.

Our peloton was smaller this year. Normally, a few weeks before the big day, I promote the ride and start egging people on; but I had no energy for that. When we reached the bridge leading to the Stevens Creek Trail, a woman and her daughter counted off: one, two, ... twenty-four of us. One rider had turned off before that.

Uncharacteristically this year, we were gruppo compatto for most of the route; at the first energizer station [rest stop], a few speedier riders usually split off. Not this year.

A couple of first-timers joined our crowd of mostly-familiar faces. And we celebrated a new first: an odd number of wheels. [Think it through.] A tricycle? [No.] A unicycle.

Who would ride a 36-inch unicycle some 20 miles to the office? Mixing it up in a line of bicycles, in stop-and-go traffic? In the lead, I didn't get to watch him (or to witness the facial expressions of the drivers who passed us). Having watched him dismount, I'd characterize it as a controlled fall, essentially. “There's nothing to it,” he insisted. “You land on your feet.” [Right. You land on your feet. I'd land on my butt. Or worse.]

pep on Bike to Work Day, 2017
Once I started moving, my body just kept moving. Maybe I could ride home after all; I felt surprisingly good.

Until I stopped moving. Suddenly, I was tired. My last real bike ride (also a commute to work) had been six weeks ago.

Twenty-four miles for the day. I made it.

So did my followers: No mishaps, no dropped riders, lots of smiling faces, and only one flat tire.

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