Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

23 December 2012

A Clarification In The Sunshine State

No, I didn't disappear in a cloud of smoke or get swallowed up by fissures in the earth.  I survived the 21st, the day the world was supposed to end.

The reason I haven't posted in a couple of days is that the end of the semester was more hectic than usual:  More work was crammed into it because of the classes that were cancelled during Superstorm Sandy and the Nor'easter that followed it by a week.  Then, I had to get ready for my Big Trip.

I'm in a place with a name that begins with "F".  No, it's not France.  And it's not Fiji.  That leaves....where else?  Florida.

Yes, I'm here, visiting Mom and Dad for the holiday.  I arrived last night:  The plane skirted the coast and descended, it seemed, with the sun. Twilight was turning to darkness as I disembarked and my parents met me in the airport.

I know I normally employ manner of cheap, sleazy writers' tricks.  But I did no such thing in my previous paragraph.  I meant it to be a literal statement, without metaphors or "deeper" or "hidden" meanings!

Anyway, today I rode the borrowed beach cruiser I've ridden on previous trips here:

If you've seen some of my earlier posts about this bike, you may have noticed some differences in this photo.

For one thing, I've installed a seatpost rack.  I picked it up at a yard sale for 50 cents.  I didn't need it for my own bikes, so off to Florida it went.


And there's the handlebar bag.  Really, it's just a nylon box with some kind of stiffener on the inside, at the rear, and webbing on the outside.  It looks rather well-made, and would probably work better with some sort of support or rack.  But I don't think there are very many things that would fit this bike without doing considerable violence to the handlebars or rack. (Actually, that's just a way of saying I'm too lazy to do the work and too cheap to buy another part!)

Anway..a stop at a service station brought me into contact with this bike and its friendly owner. 

As I was taking the photo, a burly guy with a droopy mustache and bandana chatted me up.  He said he's never ridden a bicycle in his life, but if he did, he'd want to ride "one like yours."  Although I tried to explain that the blue Raleigh is faster, higher-performance (and, for long rides, more comfortable), he insisted he "doesn't understand" why a bike made for men is built with a horizontal top bar.  "You know, if we stop short and land on that bar, it could cause all kinds of damage."

At that moment, I was trying very hard not to laugh and to reveal too much about myself. Of course, I knew exactly what he was talking about, and why his fears were unfounded.  But I said that, indeed, some men ride "women's" or mixte bikes, and that I had bought one of mine (Vera) the man who was its original owner. 

He touched his chin (something I hadn't expected from him) and said, "That's nice to know.  I'm glad you explained it."

"No problem.  I hope you have nice holiday."

Thank you, Miss.  Perhaps we'll meet again."


  1. Oddly, I know about lugging bike extras to a corner of the US, though my own extras go to the opposite corner than yours. Maybe that backpack I never use will go up this year...

  2. Steve--Use that backpack! Perhaps one day our extras will meet at 30,000 feet over West Virginia!