Monday, May 31, 2010

I was on my left

Dear Mark

I hope that all is well these days. I know that Siobhan had a birthday and I trust you two celebrated the day well. I've already sent her notes on how to stretch the birthday into a week-long celebration. I've been doing this for years. I found that it helps to take that much tequila over several days rather than one night, so all the best.

Recently it was Bike To Work Day in Seattle. I prepared several events for the group at work. My work site can boast that we have nearly 8% of the on-site population riding to work in the good months and we only drop to 5% during the icky months (for those of you outside the NW that reads like this; Good Months = July-Sept, Icky Months = rest of year). This day is like a religious day for those that pray at the altar of a piece of leather stretched over a metal pole that we find comfortable.

It was fun to ride in that day. I love seeing everyone turn out and nod to each other with an acknowledged grin that it is indeed our day. I have not been riding much because we will drive Jack to daycare in the morning. I've pulled him to daycare in the trailer, and plan to do so soon again as the mornings warm up. While it would be super character building of me to do this all-year round, the kid is up to his neck in character and there is no need to get him all cold and discouraged in the morning like that.

On the bike ride home and interesting thing occurred. I was riding along on my good bike (I do love my titanium Davidson bike) and was going a good pace. Not breathing hard, just pushing the pedals and rolling along. I could tell you about the laptop in my bag weighing me down. I could tell you my weight which would make an eyebrow raise (mostly from me) or I could refer back to my lack of fitness. Keep all those framed in your mind as my tale continues.

I was riding along our Burke Gilman Trail and a rider passed me. No problem. It's not the Tour. I didn't throw down my water bottle and blaze after him to assert my trail dominance. I was riding a bike with a light and rack for crying out loud. I was cool.

I caught the rider at the light and started chatting him up as we rode along (I know, shock that Jeff talks). He was a nice guy and like efforts at his work to get more people riding (bravo!). I got to take a closer look at this individual and his bike that passed me.

He was riding a mountain bike, with fenders, and slick tires. His helmet was a cheaper model, not the aero race style I've been riding for years. His glasses were meant for another sport. He was not dressed fully in spandex, shorts yes, but the top was not a team kit. He just looked thrown together. This is not a judgement description from me, just an observation. It caught my eye.

Anyway, he said his good-bye and pulled away from me up the hill. Now, stop. He pulled away from me. It was not like I let him or was standing still. He just picked up the speed and sped a way. Here I was the older, better put together rider with years of experience. I bleed cycling lubricants and I preach cycling goodness. But he pulled away from me.

It struck me why it seemed so silly. I had been passed by myself, circa 1996.

That person pulling away was me from back when I first started commuting. I used to laugh at guys like myself when I passed them wearing a t-shirt, hiking boots, and on my mountain bike. Lordy how I laughed.

Well, I got mine and it felt good. I was grinning the rest of the ride up the hill as I watched that guy pull away. We often say the only person ahead of me is my damn ego. He just took a time machine and got some physical form this day.

Your brother is not only getting older, but he is proving that he's human too.

On your left,
Jeff

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