in Big Wheels

Biking for Dummies, Part I

Math and I have an adversarial relationship. Math, for example, insists my time spent in Calc. II was a beleaguered, pathetic attempt at learning the difference between a parametric equation and a paratrooper. Math insists this was highlighted by me showing up to class with a sloppily packed parachute in hand. (Math’s a little bit of a gloating bastard and doesn’t often get invited over for word problems dealing with dinner.)

Math further annoys me by pointing out that, no, contrary to what I always say, I haven’t been on a bike in almost twelve years. I say a couple years, and wouldn’t I know since I’ve got three bikes hanging in my garage, so that’s gotta prove something.

Sorry. Two bikes. I miscounted. (It’s the stupid parachute. In poor lighting it LOOKS like a bike. I only keep it around in case I run into a pop quiz. [You never know.])

But, let’s forget about math. Let’s focus on the fact that today, the weather at a blissful 80-some degrees, called for me to get my twenty-some year-old Giant off the ceiling hooks and down to the ground. The chain is twenty years old, the brakes are twenty years old, the inner tube and tires are twenty years old and the calcified seat is twenty years old.

But it has a brand-spanking-new LED headlamp, so that’s how I knew it was ready for the road!

Me and Giant, we hit the Indian Creek Trail at 11:00 and didn’t find our way back until 2:00. That’s 30 miles of back-and-forth, my friends, and I don’t care what the other trail riders were pointing and laughing about, not ALL of the miles were due to me getting lost. A lot of them were due to me getting WILDLY lost, and a handful of them were because quite a few parents chased me from the attached various parks and playgrounds as I lumbered up to them to beg and plead for someone to kill me because, Schwinn, the Greek God of biking refused to help me out.

I also asked for a ride home, but they were pretty unreceptive to that, too. Next time, I start with that as my lead request. I might get better responses.

Brian Fyffe, a seasoned bike master, joined me for the last half of the journey home, and from him I only rarely saw wide-eyed looks of pity. (Most looks of his were of concern, peppered with questions like, “Why are you riding like that? Are you sick? Is it catching? Are you deformed? You look deformed. Is THAT catching?”)

Thankfully, Brian was able to help me figure out a way back home when he threw out a few helpful hints dealing with parametric equations and curves. Turns out, for that last part, he was talking about a cute woman he saw jogging on the trail, but I followed her home anyway and called it quits.

So, that was okay.

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