Been lurking on this forum for a couple of months now… and since yesterday was my fiftieth birthday, it seemed a good time to go public.
Started cycling many years ago, in high school. I was a long-distance runner then, and cycling was just something I did for fun. It was cross-training, I guess, though it was so long ago I’m not sure the term had been invented yet. Had a nice bike, rode it hard, but I never really thought of myself as a cyclist.
College came along, then jobs, and my riding became more sporadic. Then, in ’86, my wife and I decided to do a long bike tour through Norway. Got really nice matching touring bikes in Stockholm: comfy steel frames, Suntour drivetrain with a granny up front to handle all those Norwegian mountain passes. The trip was fabulous… we rode most of the length of Norway, and had the time of our lives. But we didn’t keep it up.
Fast forward almost twenty years. Kids have arrived and grown, the job has gotten very intense, and now it’s 2005 and the only regular exercise I’ve had in a decade has been running through airports. I go in for my annual physical, and things aren’t looking so good. Cholesterol is high, blood pressure is really high, and my doc tells me I’d better do something.
So what to do? Clean up the diet, for one thing, but what I really need is exercise. Running’s not an option; my left knee was funky even when I was sixteen, and there’s no way it can take that kind of pounding now. Swimming is fine, but it’s a pain in the neck to get to a pool every day. And then I remember the old touring bike, which has been sitting unused for something like fifteen years. Get it out, fix it up, and wow… suddenly I realize what I’ve been missing. Within weeks I’ve gotten bike shoes, clipless pedals and a fluid trainer for the rainy and snowy days. Before long I’m designing workouts, calculating wattage, planning my days around when I can get on the bike, the whole nine yards. Since September 15th I’ve ridden just over 1000 miles. It’s not a lot compared to many of you on this forum, I know, but it’s progress. More to the point, blood pressure is down more than 20 points, resting pulse is down 10 bpm, and I’ve dropped fifteen pounds. And best of all, I feel great and I’m having a blast.
So far so good, right? Now for my confession. Today I ordered a new bike… a birthday present to myself for fifty years of mostly good behavior. Some guys when they hit this age go crazy and get a sports car. Some go really crazy and get a twenty-five year old girlfriend. Me, I decided to get The Bike Of My Dreams.
The thing is an embarrassment… an egregious waste of carbon and titanium, and far too good a bike for a hack like me. Me on this bike is gonna be like Joe Sixpack tooling around on the backroads of upstate New York in a Formula 1 race car.
But I haven’t been this excited over a new toy since I was about twelve years old.
I figured if anybody would understand, you guys would!