Todays's forecast: slushy bike lanes and a light dusting of sexual harassment

(Note - this picture isn't actually me and my bike, but it's not too far off on how old riding the thing makes me feel)

Monday again, and back on the road, this time on my old Raleigh 'sport' cruiser. I always found it funny that the side of this massive, brown steel blunderbuss was emblazoned with the blatantly-false epithet 'sport' - about the only think sports-related about this ride is the amount of effort it takes to lift its bulk up stairs.

It's funny how a year away from an old ride completely changes how you feel about getting back on it. The ride in today felt like I had never ridden the Raleigh, even though it was my only means of transport last summer. Riding on a step through cruiser after a year of a fairly light men's racing road bike felt completely foreign to me - from the upright position, to the large seat and flat pedals that don't require clipping in. I never noticed how much when riding my men's bike I used the distribution of my body weight and posture to balance and steer; with this cruiser, I feel like the bulk of the bike itself, and my arms, do all the work. Needless to say, I can't wait to be back to normal.

In addition to feeling like a complete bike beginner, the roads were terribly maintained after our recent storm ; I normally ride up Roosevelt (a pretty large and busy street) because it gets a lot of traffic and tends to dry out quicker, but today the bike lane was completely covered in about 3" of dingy gray slush. I was then forced to ride IN the busy traffic on an unfamiliar bike whose unsteadiness under pressure brought back bad memories of my mule experience in Peru. On the plus side, having the wider tires and heavier bike added a bit more traction and stability; I was able to go over patches of slush that would have made me fishtail on my regular bike, so that was comforting. However, on the other side of the coin, being on the heavier bike made me feel like I was driving a large SUV through a snow storm in that it felt much harder to bring to a full stop - this was a bit nerve-wracking when going down the large hill at the end of the bridge on Roosevelt, which terminates at a stop light that I never seem to be able to make on my slower bike.

Finally I reached the footpaths by the museum, and began my slow and cautious descent towards the underpass (my nemesis). I was feeling pretty happy that, for once, the paths were completely snow-free (lord knows how), when I saw a pedestrian in the distance. Being in a decent mood, I said hello, and was greeted by a hoot and the lovely greeting of "big buuuuuuuuns. How you doin' big butt?' Great... just great. Judging by the leer, I guess it was meant to be complimentary, but it still makes me happy that Fat Race is just around the corner. Some guys just can't resist the sight of a corn-fed Midwestern girl riding a bike.

This flashback to all the comments I got riding over the summer in my bike shorts (usually from men in their 40s-60s) will probably be one of my main forms of inspiration. Damn it, if I'm going to get hollered at, it better not be for having a fat ass! No big girl sexual fetish niches for me, please.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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