Monday, September 10, 2007
No respect for the Towniespeople
I reside in Miami, in an area not yet devoured by highrises, but deep enough that the Postman and the Taxman agree it's urban. Though the locals comprehend bicycling for transportation as poorly as they do vegetarianism ("No, la sopa no tiene carne" "Isn't it made with chicken stock?" "Si"), I still attempt to do all my errands within a 3 mile radius a la Cruiser.
This Death Gauntlet has brought me a bit of self confidence while riding. If I can survive these unfit and abusive drivers, I believe I can take on tougher challenges. So I set forth this summer to hit the Sprint Triathlon series on the Key.
There, folks were decked out in their onsie Zoot suits, helmets shaped like melted gum drops, and high tech bikes whose one wheel cost more than my entire collection of stuff. Enter Crumbs stage right: Baby Blue Townie, with a rack to put my child's seat, big fat round mirror on the handlebar, and of course, a bell. Just out of curiosity, earlier that morning I held it on the scale: 35 pounds. I rode it in, back straight as a chair, legs comfortably forward in proper cruising position. They chuckled, so I thought I'd play along and ring my bell. Amusement morphed into pity. "Good Luck on the bridge" - I heard someone say.
Now, when people enter races with hundreds of people in it, how many think they are actually going to win? I mean, if you are one boasting 3% bodyfat, perhaps, but really, most of us enter to beat our best time, or go a distance we've never gone before. We go to socialize with other sportsmen and as an excuse to guiltlessly order a full stack of blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup afterward. We go to push our physical limits.
So, I take my 6 1/2 foot long bike and rack it alongside the 13 ounce jewels. I may not be able to keep up with the road bikes, but I'm doing the same course they are in decent time...only dragging 30 more pounds up the hills without the benefit of clips or aerodynamic positioning. I'm holding on to handlebars as wide as their wheels and riding tires fat enough to hide a dollar bill if I rode over it. There was never a moment I put any other riders in danger with my wide load.
I reached my goal: I improved my time, I competed as a Triathlete for the first time, I earned a little respect from a couple sportsmen who could appreciate my challenge.
So, ride on all you who ride for the joy and excitement, and nevermind the blockheads who think only fancy equipment makes you an athlete. In fact, I challenge ALL racers to have a go at the hills and bridges with a Cruiser. You just might feel more accomplished afterward. And the pancakes might taste better, too.