I flew out to Phoenix last week for my niece's wedding. Barely made the flight because the taxi's wouldn't drive in the snow and the buses were barely able to. I would have ridden my bike but there's no bike parking at the airport.
The wedding was great, but a lot of work because I was on the setup and cleanup crews. After all was said and done, I had a day left over. The choice of what to do came down to renting a bike for 4 hours or repairing the flat tire on my brother-in-law's department store mountain bike.
Since my brother in law had been saying how he didn't care about the bike and my sister had been saying how she wanted to get one, I figured that getting their machine roadable again might be a way to transfer the machine into her control.
I had spent a little time in one of the Chandler bike stores the day before, perusing what kind of bikes they sold locally, and talking to the fellow in the store about the differences between utility cycling in Phoenix and Little Rock. So I returned to get a new tube, tire levers, etc.
The repair was easy, but I discovered that this was the kind of bike where you could raise the seat, but not the handlebars. I did what I could. Lack of a water bottle rack and any kind of curly cable or lock made sure that the bike remained a toy.
So, after chugging down a large amount of water, I set out, riding south, hoping to escape the shopping centers and gated communities. It was so nice riding on flat ground in a bike lane, with perhaps a mile between stop signs or traffic signals. In Little Rock I had forgotten what a joy simple intertia could be. I finally got out to where horse pastures and plowed fields replaced tan brick walls. I reveled in riding in street clothes instead of having to bundle up in winter clothes.
Coming back I happened upon a Chandler police substation and environmental park which had a welcome water fountain. And later I passed the Gilbert SWAT team doing training exercises in an abandoned house. It was about a 12 mile ride in total, and was very enjoyable.
Coming back on the plane the next day, I found myself trapped next to a man who loved to talk and who only asked a question about you when he ran out of subject matter and needed a cue for a new subject to talk about.
He talked on about his one-owner 69 GTO, and his Cummins diesel truck and his other 5 cars. After he finished, I mentioned that I was like him, but only with bicycles. I got as far as briefly listing my two vintage 10 speeds, my utility bike and my recumbent, and he took off again. His son owned a couple of recumbents, and quite a few others. This was a bit more interesting, and the son did seem to be a good solid dedicated bicyclist, which I was glad to hear about. And his grandchildren seemed to be picking up the biking bug as well.
But it was good to see my own wee beasties greeting me when I stepped back into my apartment that night.