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On the Way Home

I love clicking into the big gear, that gigantic 50-tooth crank gear that makes me go faster than most people ever see bikes go. That is, most people living anywhere but the Bay Area, where you can’t stand in a grocery line without sharing it with a Lycra-clad road warrior with an economy sized box of Fig Newtons tucked under his arm.

Comparatively speaking, I’m neither fast nor strong. I know there are plenty of riders around here who can cruise half again as fast as I do. But I find with daily practice that I upshift more often into that magical range of high gear ratios that makes my thoroughbred carbon frame hum with self-fulfillment.

By this time, I’ve spent almost eight hours on my new Trek Pilot 5.0 road bike. By this time, I’m coming to realize the bike is, by several orders of magnitude, better than I am; however, I’m completely happy with my purchase, as it’s everything I want at a 20% discount. My only reservation is that I feel considerably too soft and slow to be seen on a $2400 bike.

On the other hand, 20 daily miles has a way of melting excess fat and building strength at fast rate. I should approach riding my fancy bike like a frugal mother gives her child a sweater that’s a size too big – I will grow into it. At least I probably wont ever have to worry about my own equipment holding me back.

In eight hours, I’ve done various tweaks to the fit of the bike, so much that I no longer feel as though I’m driving a dead frame. It feels very much alive, an extension of myself, and I move with a certain grace.

On the way home, I sailed along in high gear, and my last right turn of the day gives the green light. As there are no crossing pedestrians to spoil my momentum, I tapped the brakes till I was running a little over 20 mph, started wide and swung aggressively through the turn. The entire frame bowed down towards the pavement at some astonishingly acute angle while my body remained high over it, straddling the frame as it was, rounding the corner by less than two feet. At the top of the centrifugal curve, I let loose a very audible, “Wheeeeeeee!”

As I gently pull my frame upright, brightly-colored jerseys zip past my periphery in the cross-traffic. Were they smiling? I don’t see how they couldn’t be.

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