Sunday, October 20, 2013

Post #9: Bikeography Part VI -- Plus: There Are No Skunks in Australia!

View from the back of the Coronado Ferry as I sat on the bench with my bike (of course) on the way to work Friday morning:

Yes, it was way early, but still great to be able to get to work without a car or freeway . . .

Remember these guys?

As I biked along with the Aussie couple riding one of these last week, we happened upon a dead skunk in the middle of the shoulder.  I knew it was coming long before we reached it by the obvious odor.  Oddly, to me, though, just as we passed the little black, white, and red bit of roadkill, the stoker asked "What is that?!"  I, immediately, identified it to her as a skunk -- wondering, though, how it could be mistaken for anything else.  I mean, come on -- who could possibly not recognize the unique odor and look of a skunk?  Well, as it turns out, an entire continent's worth of people are likely to be unfamiliar with the odor that is unmistakable to most North Americans.  Thanks to the relentless efforts of my crack research team, The Bikeist is now aware of the fact that there are no skunks in Australia.  Who knew?  (Besides 22 million Australians and, probably, Bill Bryson . . .)

So, where were we?  Hmm, oh, yeah, the Probe -- my first bike purchase.  Great bike -- got me around campus as an undergrad and through my first year of law school at Syracuse.  It was during that first year when I learned the true stress-relieving benefits of biking.  Law School (and first year in particular) is no picnic.  Saturday mornings spent doing mile after mile along the Erie Canal towpath, or mountain biking in some of the forests outside the City allowed me to clear my mind and do something with all the pent up energy stored during the hours and hours of reading and outlining.  It also gave me something else fun to do with my soon to be long-suffering wife.   I know that many of you have been wondering why I always refer to my long-suffering wife as "my long-suffering wife."  Well, besides the fact that it should, pretty much, go without saying for anyone married to me and my bike addiction -- it is actually more a literal reference to the suffering she has endured on many a bike ride with me.  Starting with the aforementioned towpath, I always had a penchant for going about 1, 2, or 20 miles further than her comfort zone.  Why do only 5 or 10 miles when we can bike all the way to Rome?  I always needed to see what was beyond the next bend.  This led to a string of what she now lovingly refers to as "death-marches."  I have to give her all the credit in the world, though, because it wasn't until we were married for several years that she absolutely refused to ever go riding with me again . . .

Thus, despite her feigned shock, I am quite certain that there was some underlying relief for my soon to be long-suffering wife when the Probe was stolen from right under my nose.  This was the first -and only- time I have had a bike stolen from me.  It was after a long Saturday afternoon mountain-biking at Highland Forest.  It was dark when I got back, and I was beat, so I (lazily) left the bike in my locked car overnight (parked right outside my open bedroom window).  As it turned out, this is not the brightest of things to do when you live in a college town.  When I woke up the next morning, I found the white wire hanger used by the opportunist to pull up the lock on the Mighty Malibu still hanging out of the window, and, of course, no Probe.  -- I was crushed.  I LOVED that freaking bike and could barely afford the six pack of Matt's beer in the fridge, never-mind a replacement for the Probe.

I am sure that it was just my imagination, but I thought that I detected a suppressed grin when I broke this devastating news to my soon to be long-suffering wife.  I am also sure that it was a mere coincidence that the dry cleaner she went to only used white, wire hangers . . .

Next Up:  The Cannondale Years (and, this time, I really mean it . . .)

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