The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

No pics of me on my bike yet. I’m still working my way in on the thing and other than a continuing dedication to hi viz jackets, there’s nothing to see yet. Seeing a 50+ year old guy huff and puff his way up a small hill is far from an inspiring sight. Still, anything on two wheels right? When I get a bit whiny about it in my head, I just think of Guy Martin riding his way down the spine of America on the Tour Divide and I keep cracking on.

Things are getting warmer so I was able to finally ride my bike to work a few days this week. Though I did do a couple of practice runs prior to committing to riding to my day job. On days where I’m not working, like today, I took advantage of the break in the rain to get a ride in anyway. The rain has been a bit of a bonus really as it’s given me a rest day in between rides to let my leg muscles recover a bit. It turns out I had my seat too low by a few inches and that was overworking my thigh muscles. A bit of fiddling around with my seat height and I’ve got a much better riding position going on now (it always helps to talk to others with more experience).

Round trip to and from where I work is 9km. I know that’s not far for you lot who do this on a regular basis but for somebody just getting their body used to a bit more huff and puff than it’s used to, it feels like a good start. Riding in Mississauga on a peddle bike carries a lot of the same risk as doing it on a motorcycle, though I do have the added benefit of being able to take the cycle paths to avoid traffic, which are extensive enough I’m going to have to do some serious exploring to check some of them out.

As with everything, there are adjustments and learning curves. Some require me getting my head around some things I never even considered and others are of a more physical nature.

The bike path I take to work has a fairly consistent elevation rise on the way there. Though there are a few downward grades in places where I can coast and rest a bit. My current guide for what gear I need to be in is my knees. I simply gear down until they stop hurting. The down side to this is I need to peddle faster but as I work my way into it, it does seem to be getting easier and now on my return loop from work my leg muscles do seem to be looser and happier. One of the hardest things to get used to is how high my head is off the ground. On my V-Strom my seat height is about 31″ from the ground.  Seated, this puts my eye level fairly close to where it normally is when I’m walking about, so when I’m riding my motorcycle my position to the ground feels fairly natural.

On my mountain bike my seat is considerably higher . I’d say my eye height is closer to where it would be if I was 6’5″ and that’s taken some mental adjustment on my part. Plus my pedal bike weighs a fraction of my motorcycle and instead of my engine being the center of gravity, my body is. Plus the riding position is slightly forward, which puts me more over the front wheel. It’s an interesting sensation when you’re coasting downhill into a hard turn.

Then there’s the silence of it all, minus the rush of the wind in your ears, which I’ll freely admit, I’m not a fan off. Because of the coolness of season, I’ve been wearing the balaclava I wear on my V-Strom for those cold rides and it does a good job of creating an even flow of air over my ears. Earplugs will definitely be going in once things warm up.

All in all, I’m enjoying riding. I find myself looking forward to it and that’s a good thing. I think when it’s all said and done, I don’t want the bike to be a piece of gear collecting dust in my garage. Like most things with wheels, it deserves better than that.


If you enjoyed this blog post. Check out my long form fiction on Amazon or if you prefer to read with your ears, all of my books are available on Audible, with my new book, Devil’s Ante here.

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