Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Long Way Home

Moon's new commute is flat. And Moon's ass is getting fat. So extraordinary measures are necessary. This route, as notable for its hills as for its length (modest), was interesting.*** Oranmore, the last street priot to Stanton, between milemarkers 9 and 10 on the map, is particularly entertaining. While the map doesn't show it very well, the lion's share of it is a slope so steep that, at least on a fixed gear, it feels more like working some new fangled Nautilus machine than it does riding a bike. It's not, that is to say, just like riding a bike. It's like kneading a mountain of pizza dough with your feet in a room full of ammonia while someone hits your thighs with a rubber mallet. It's short, at least -- it's only virtue.

Anyway, a fun ride.

Last night I removed my old handlebars and replaced them with new time trial bars. No bar tape (yet). I also removed the brake, along with the old bar. Whether I buy a new lever and put the brake back on remains to be seen. Tightened everything up, and rode in this morning brakeless, in the rain, bringing me two steps closer to Brian's particular brand of lunacy. I would have been fine with the weather if a) I hadn't forgotten to bring a pair of work socks (my riding socks, tiny little ankle socks, were so wet when I arrived that I had to wring them out), forcing me to wear wing tips without socks all day, and b) this hadn't been the morning I discovered that the waterproofing on the sleeves of my weather shell is more or less completely gone.

Still and all, what a rush; the new bars are even narrower than the old ones so I'm ruthless between parked cars and traffic. And while finding comfortable upright hand options near the stem is proving surprisingly elusive (both last night in 20 minutes of futzing around at midnight on my street trying to find the perfect adjustment and with additional experience this morning), which is sort of frustrating since I bought the trial bars thinking I would make that position more ergonomic, I love being down on the horns in any event, so I might just ride there more.

And brakes? Bah. A mile from home I forgot I didn't have any; it's not like I ever used the one I had until last night.

UPDATE?: I should also link Eli's and Brian's recent thoughts on regular commuting. I haven't made a systematic choice, but with the good weather of late I've been commuting a great deal, probably 3.5 days a week on average in the month and a half since I moved to the new house, and it's increasingly gratifying. Though I've been riding to work some for nearly a year now, it's different now. With an easier commute, I'm less hesitant. And today having tackled the bad weather to work reservation (needless to say, I've had plenty of days where the weather turned on me by the time I left, and have been caught in a monsoon or two, and I don't mind any of it when a hot shower waits for me at home), by proving that though I arrive wet I'm still able to dry off, dress up, and look halfway professional, there remains one less obstacle to commuting daily. It's nice not to spend the money. Nice not to drive. I miss reading on the bus, eavesdropping, but I don't miss standing around waiting for it or the smells or standing in the side door well on a rainy day when the bus is overcrowded and the ride interminable.
*** Of course, I live a little further down the hill, somewhere in Lawrenceville. But my house is less than a mile from where the blue line ends.


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