Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

30 March 2015

Defining The Season

What's the difference between a late winter and an early spring ride?

Since it's not yet April Fool's Day, this is not a joke.  However, you are free to leave humorous comments.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's been Spring--at least officially--for a bit more than a week.  Some places have had the kind of weather we normally associate with spring for days, or even weeks.  Other places, like Florida, have already had summer-like (at least by the standards of NYC) conditions, if only for a day here and a day there.  On the other hand, there are places like northern New England, much of Canada and the Rockies, where snow still covers the ground.

So what, exactly, makes a ride early spring rather than late winter?  One factor might be the amount of daylight:  There's noticeably more of it than there was even a week or two ago.  And, since Daylight Savings Time began three weeks ago, that daylight (sometimes a gray pallor) lasts to 19h (7:00 pm) or even later.  Of course, the day has begun later, but soon we will have early dawns to go with our late dusks.

That's a fair measure of the seasons.  But the further north one goes in this hemisphere, the more daylight there is.  (Conversely,there is less of it during the fall and winter.) And some of those places are even more packed in snow and ice than this area was after even a series of snowstorms.  For those who are accustomed to such conditions and have studded tires, that might not be such an important factor.  But even such cyclists--some, anyway--do not ride in such conditions.

That brings me to yet another factor in differentiating the seasons:  The number of fellow riders you see on the road or trail. When I rode to Rockaway Beach three weeks ago, I didn't see any other cyclists. Ditto for the ride I took through the Bronx and Westchester a week after that.  But yesterday, I saw dozens of other riders on the bike path that wends its way along the Brooklyn waterfront.  Then again, once I got to the cobblestoned streets around Bush Terminal--deserted on a Sunday--I had them all to myself.  If I go there in a couple of weeks, I'll probably see other riders, though not nearly as many as one encounters on the Kent Street path.

By that standard, the ride I took yesterday was definitely Early Spring, even if the temperature barely broke the freezing mark and the wind whipped against our jackets.

29 March 2015

Post #3000: Celebrating With An Allegro

Between this and my other blog, this is my 3000th post.  

I started this blog nearly five years ago, in June 2010.  My other blog, Transwoman Times, started nearly two years before that.  While TT has about 200 more posts, I have been more active on this one since I've started it.

I'm going to celebrate with an Allegro.  Well, yeah, I mean a musical piece by Bach. After all, I was listening to a classical music program before I went out riding.  But I also mean a derauilleur SunTour made, possibly because I saw one.


It's not the most refined piece they ever made.  But it wasn't meant to be. Like its predecessor, the Honor, it was cheap, sturdy and worked well.  That is enough to make most people as happy as the word "allegro" sounds.

Ah, SunTour:  Of all bike component companies no longer in business (at least in the US; in Europe there is a company called SR-SunTour which seems to share only the name), it's probably the one I miss most.

28 March 2015

Taking Cycling To Heart In Dixie

As Portland goes, so goes....Alabama?

April Fool's Day is on Wednesday, but I'm not putting in an early joke here.  You read the first sentence of this post right:  Some folks in Alabama are doing something folks in the Rosebud City--and Quebec--have been doing for some time.

Since you're reading this blog, you've figured out it's bike-related.  Indeed it is:  Today, the first Alabama Statewide Bicycle Summit brought together bicycle transportation and recreation groups, engineers, builders, planners--and state tourism representatives.

Cyclists in the  Selma 50 ride, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of  the march Martin Luther King Jr. led to Montgomery.  Photo by Mickey Welsh.

Yes, those reps were discussing bicycle tourism in the Heart of Dixie.  Now, I've never been there, but I'm told--even by people whose politics are well to the left of mine (Yes, there are such people!) that much of the state is quite lovely.  The few Alabamans I've met seemed like lovely people and, like neighboring Florida, it has warmer weather for longer parts of the year than most other states.

But those state tourism folks have figured out something their counterparts in Oregon and La Belle Province have learned:  making their state bike-friendly can be good for business.   A few years ago, Portland-based activist/writer/cyclist Elly Blue pointed out that 78 percent of visitors to Portland said the city's bicycle-friendly reputation played a part in their decision to travel there.  And, of course, numerous localities reap economic benefits from large, well-publicized rides such as the Five Boro Bike Tour in my hometown of New York.

So...Will it be long before we see a peloton whistling Dixie on their way through Sweet Home Alabama?