29 December 2009

My Bikes And My Cats, As I'm Healing On The Coldest Day Of The Year

You've heard the old joke: "It's so cold the politicians have their hands in their own pockets." Perhaps we could update it by substituting "hedge fund managers" for "politicians." Anyway, that's how cold it felt today. As the weather forecasters promised, it was indeed about 25 degrees colder (on the Farenheit scale) and the wind blew about 25 MPH harder than what we experienced yesterday.

Sometimes I think cats know when it's cold outside even if the houses in which they're living are warm. It's as if felines have internal almanacs and thermometers. At least, all of the cats I've had seem to have been that way: They've curled up with me more at times like this than during more temperate days. It's no surprise, then, that Charlie is curled up on my left side and Max is on my right.

I went out briefly today. When I came back, I caught a glance of myself in the mirror. My face was even redder than it would have been if I'd spent the day out in the sun! Fortunately, I didn't have to deal with the pain and other after-effects of a sunburn.

Oddly enough, I started to think about bike riding. I haven't done any since Thanksgiving. I didn't want to ride today, but I was thinking that I'd like to get on my bike again soon. That big, ugly bruise and the swelling are all but gone now, and so is the pain from that mishap I had the day before Thanksgiving. On each of the rides I took last month, I adjusted the saddle position a little bit. I suspect that I'll have to ride some more before I find the "right" position for me. Before the surgery, that's what I had to do any time I got a new bike. (Well, OK, my "new" bikes weren't always new. Nor is the old Raleigh three-speed I bought last month.) Now I have a new body--or part of my body is new, sort of, anyway.

Filigree has suggested that I would want to ride in a more upright position. Actually, the three-speed is designed to be ridden in a more upright position than either of my Mercians. But I don't intend to ride it for long distances, which I can't imagine doing in a completely upright position. I doubt that I'll swap my road bike handlebars for cruisers, but I may experiment with the position of them. The nice thing about road bars is that they offer a variety of hand positions, so you can go "aero" for speed or when you're pedaling into the wind and slide upward a bit more when the going is a little easier, or when you want to go easier.

I don't think I'll be riding to work when I start teaching my winter session class next week. But I hope that some time early in the spring semester, I'll be able to do that. I was getting tired of having to ride the trains and buses. I haven't had to do any of that in a week. But next week, I'll be on the subway once again. Actually, I will take the train tomorrow, when I meet Bruce for lunch.

At least I don't feel bad about that, in a way: The day will start off cold and end with rain and/or snow, according to the forecasts. Time was when I would have biked in such conditions. But the times, they are a-chaingin', as Bob Dylan sang. And I'm sure they will by the next time I get on a bike.


Filigree said...

Glad you are feeling better after the mishap. Oh, and I did not mean to suggest that you should always ride an upright bike form now on - only that you might want to do so for a few months after the surgery, even beyond what the doctor told you was safe. But I believe that time has safely passed now in any case. I agree that an upright bicycle with swept back handlebars is not right for longer touring because of the limited hand positions. Are you planning to tour on your Mercian when you have some holiday time in the summer?

Justine Valinotti said...

Hi Filigree: Yes, I'd love to tour on the Mercian this summer. I just need to get myself in shape for it.

Thanks for the good wishes, and Happy New Year.