T E D P H E L P S'
B I C Y L E P A G E S
I've often been asked how many bicycles I own? I'm not sure why this question comes along so often. Perhaps they expect me to reveal that I have a garage full of custom Italian race-bred beauties that I polish in my spare time and ride in the country on Sundays. Not the case. Actually, I've had several fine rides over the years, but at present, I do have four right now—a road bike (Pinarello Surprise), a mountain bike (Stumpjumper M4), and a dedicated touring bike (vintage 1983 Specialized Expedition) and a (1990 Bridgestone CB-Zip) all-rounder that I use for errands. Each of these steeds serves a special niche—a very particular purpose. To use a phrase that is quite popular in some circles today, these are "purpose driven" bikes.
Now, my true identity in the world of all things cycling, is that I'm a just an old "roadie" at heart—a road cyclist most of the time—and "self-contained cyclotourist" whenever it's possible. Ancient history would reveal that I raced for a number of years (Cat. 2), as well, expanded to triathlons (quite successfully) for several more. Like I said, ancient history. I will have graced this earth some 56 years this summer, and it seems now that my road biking keeps me fit for life, as well as touring endeavors. Since my teen years, pedaling some amazing distances in suburban Maryland, until now, it seems I've been perched atop a road bike. I could relate chapters of memorable moments on club training rides, triathlons, century rides, solo treks, or even races—like the ill-fated crash in a criterium race that found my whole left side resembling ground round. Or, on a better note, the many solo jaunts around Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts, or a particular Sunday outing from Arlington, Virginia to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, and back, via the wonderfully rolling Virginia and Maryland countryside. But, alas, I won't pen those pages today. However, as a long-standing member of the road cyclist fraternity, I consider myself to be a fairly strong and efficient pedaler. Everyday, after a little warm-up, we ride hard for 40-60 miles, sprinting for lines in the pavement and challenging hills out of the saddle—all of this behavior causing our heart monitors to explode!
As crazy as all that hard-charging may sound, the secret of a successful and most enjoyable touring experience is in pacing. You don't want to charge hard at the beginning of the day when you feel invincible, only to find yourself collapsed under one of Nevada's three trees on a sun-scorched afternoon. We must learn the art of pacing. Smell the roses. Wave to passers-by. Let the scenery inspire. Become a part of the surroundings. Find contentment at 17 mph or less (in the flats), and don't push for 20+. Ease over each of the mountain passes instead of attacking them. Stop at the top and enjoy the view—and the accomplishment. Capture the moment with your digital camera. Take a deep breath. Let it out, and savor this, and every, moment.
So actually, I'm a roadie when I'm training and a dedicated tourist when the call of far distances on the open road beckons. And both require strict discipline in order to enjoy each to the fullest. (My commute now is only one-mile to the office, so I hardly consider that I'm much of a bike commuter.)
At the heading are links (click on the respective pictures above) to three of my current bikes: A Pinarello Surprise, vintage 1983 Specialized Expedition, and 1990 Bridgestone CB-Zip. Let me know what you think.
Always ready to ride,
Central Valley, CA