So you know how sometimes you’re sitting around with a bunch of your best friends and just because you’re all totally comfortable with each other you start playing “Never Have I Ever...” [or whatever the male equivalent is] and then you find out that you’re the only one that hasn’t done this one thing? And then all your friends are like you gotta try it, it’s going to change your life? And then you do and you’re like eh...meh...not life changing so then you’re totally not into it after that first experience? And then someone persuades you to try it again and you figure out that you were doing it all wrong the first time and it’s actually sort of life changing?
Yeah, that’s me and gears, lately.
Having felt like I’ve hit a wall with the single speed rides, and tired of the sheer exhaustion at the end of each ride, I spent most of the weekend away from my bikes. The weather providing a good enough excuse, both the Dolan and the Bianchi stayed parked in their respective spots in my apartment as I headed to NYC on Sunday morning. I was ready to spend most of my extended weekend [Marathon Monday + a cancelled class on Tuesday] bike-free.
It didn’t work...and why would it when you bring your shoes and helmet “just in case”? I looked at the sunny weather and weighed it against my discomfort riding anything with gears, especially a bike that’s a bit too big for me. Then I thought about how it wasn’t going to change my life and that I really should have brought my own bike and dealt with my inability to climb anything more than a 2% grade. Then I figured, I gotta start somewhere, and got dressed.
And surprise, surprise...it did sort of change my life. This time around, instead of riding Mike’s Cyfac like a single speed [keeping it in the big ring and mashing], I did as I was told and started out in the small ring. I spun.
Up the West Side Highway, back into the city and around the Cloisters, it was a short 25 miler with some fun sprints and big ring action on the way back. Less miles than I usually do, but it was so easy I knew I’d have a hard time getting back on my own bike[s]. I could climb hills - real ones - at a decent clip without that inevitable slowing down. My legs never hurt like they do when I drag myself through Dover. And strangely enough, I didn’t feel like I wanted to crumple up into a ball of sleep within 2 hours of getting home.
A part of me missed that fall over feeling of exhaustion, but a lot of me really loved that unpainful rides really do exist. And if 25 miles felt that easy, with the right bike, I’m pretty sure 50 wouldn’t be a problem. And if 50 isn’t a problem...well...100 doesn’t seem like such a pipe dream.
Okay so everyone was right that a road bike would solve more of my problems than add to them. Yeah, yeah, go ahead and say "I told you so"...BECAUSE THAT'S NOT GOING TO HELP ME LATER TODAY WHEN I HAVE TO DO THAT DOVER RIDE ON ONE GEAR AGAIN. I'm working on that geared thing though. For real this time. Trust.