I’ve been trying to get my dad to take a bike ride with me for months. We’ve had some great rides together in the past, when I was riding regularly as a kid. But then I lost interest in cycling and moved away from home. He kept his interest in cycling. He bought more bikes and more gear. He took some independent and supported tours. But over time, despite holding on to all his stuff and continuing to profess a love for his bike, he spent less and less time in the saddle. Meanwhile, I rediscovered the joy of bicycling.
My Uncle and I had such a great time riding together last weekend, we decided to do it again this weekend. He wanted me to show him around my local bike paths. So, just as I’ve done countless times before, I asked dad to come along. This time, however, much to my surprise and delight, he said yes.
We met at a nearby park a little before 8am Saturday morning. The weather was positively spectacular: a crystal clear blue sky, bright sun, billowy clouds, temperatures in the upper-60s and low-70s, and almost no humidity. We set off for Xenia Station agreeing to take it easy (it was my dad’s first ride in more than a year) and to turn back whenever we felt so inclined.
At our first rest stop, we saw this:
A Cadillac with a bike carrier? I still don’t know what to make of it, but I knew when I saw it that it deserved mention on my blog. All I can really say is that it seems like a rig fit for the World’s Greatest Madone. Come to think of it, it’s probably the sort of thing Hadrian would have driven to the local bike path, were it available in his day.
Clipped in and once again making our way down the path, we encountered what would be the first of two rather interesting and entertaining groups approaching from the opposite direction: a 5K run. With all due respect and sincerest apologies to any runners reading this post, I just felt sorry for them. All I wanted to do was give them a ride. They were working so hard to cover such a small stretch of earth, while we zipped right along like kids on holiday. Now, my point is not that greater distance necessarily equates to higher quality. After all, that’s what led us to highways and motorcars. It’s just that bicycling is (obviously) so much more fun!
The other thing we saw was a recumbent club with what must have been twenty or thirty riders. Talk about feeling like an oddball. I might as well have been riding a unicycle. I’ve resisted trying a recumbent because I think my uncle’s right: once you do, it will spoil you, and you’ll never go back to riding a diamond-frame bike again. These things are like lawn chairs on wheels. All you need is a bolt-on beer fridge. But I’m just not ready to cross that line. I am, however, hoping that it will dawn on my dad, very soon, that he’s never going to ride an upright bike again, and that he will, as a result, offer to sell me his Trek 720 (the original, early-80s version) and/or his custom built Serotta. Alas, I must wait.
When all was said and done, we’d made it to Xenia Station and back (just over 38 miles), and it was a little past 1:30p. If you do the math, you’ll realize we weren’t moving very fast, and we made a lot of stops along the way. But it could not have possibly been a better ride, unless it had somehow never ended.
Sorry for the sentimental tint of this post. Like all fathers and sons, my dad and I have our share of issues, most of which will forever remain unspoken. But such things magically fade from view amidst the whir of spinning freewheels and the meter of casual conversation. At one point, my dad admitted to having not wanted to come along. But he went on to say that five minutes into the ride he had forgotten about everything that made him feel that way. Precisely. Spot on, my good man. I had a hunch that would happen.