This memorial day Cara and I rode our bikes over to my parents for some cook out action, Ive been thinking about getting a single speed, light bike for some time so for the whole day I left my bike in one gear to see what hitting climbs and starting from a dead stop at traffic lights would be like. Even the relatively steep cobblestone hill leading up to the street my parents live on was no real problem.
I also learned that one of my brothers reads this blog. (Hi Kevin!) Which is sort of strange in a way, mainly for the fact that I actually talk a lot more about my personal feelings and life on here than I do to my family. Lambert gatherings tend to be closer to a celebrity roast than a Hallmark moment. We are not big huggers or vocal with our affection, its more of an understood thing, but that didn’t stop me being jealous of my friends who talk openly about their love for each other with their families when I was younger. Still, we have much more fun and almost none of that family drama of most folks I know and I have yet to visit for a holiday where I’m not laughing my ass off most of the time.
For example, as we were all sitting around the backyard with various kids and dogs running around everywhere, my dad starts talking about a person he knows with different colored eyes.
“Hes got one Blue eye and one Brown Eye” and with consummate comedic timing (a Lambert genetic trait) one of my brothers calmly adds “Yea, Ive got two blue eyes and one brown eye”.
Now we were all busted up by this, including my mom who tries her best to be un-amused by everything and yet can not hide her emotions at all. At the same moment she will say something like “that’s disgusting” she also has this giant shit eating grin on her face totally negating her attempt at moral reserve.
By the way, the burgers were delicious.
Anyhow Kevin mentioned how this has been slowly turning into a bike blog. I cant really deny it, in fact I cant even really say that it wont be about making taffy or the grapefruit diet by this time next year. Like a lot of guys I tend to pick up a hobby, some small thing will spark an interest and all of the sudden I’m reading everything I can on the subject and talking about it non-stop (poor Cara. . .). I get obsessed by something for a while and then, eventually, I put it down again. . .forever.
Sometimes stuff is useless and transient, my once all consuming love for cameras is long gone and I rarely take pictures at all unless its of a tattoo. The same goes for my fascination with handmade knives or military history. But, sometimes it sticks around like my 7+year love affair with Buddhism and my 12+ year fascination with tattooing.
The jury is still out about bikes. Maybe a harsh winter will kill it, maybe a wreck, or maybe Ill just see some other newer thing that is shiny and pretty and my bike will gather dust and cobwebs while I’m off kayaking or basket weaving somewhere. However,in favor of its lasting. riding has led to some pretty incredible changes in my life.
For one thing I have lost nearly 12 pounds in 2 months and I have drastically altered my relationship to food. Instead of eating food for boredom or as a comfort, I treat food as fuel, I eat amazingly less than I did, crave almost nothing anymore, and am careful to burn more calories than I take in. Food has ceased to be a love/hate relationship and become simply a fact of life that I enjoy in moderation. When I ride a bike I don’t want cupcakes and giant bowls of cereal, I actually find myself looking hungrily at a pear or a handful or raisins instead. No one is more surprised by this than me!
When I first wanted to buy a bike this past February, I had a very specific idea about what I wanted and why. I wanted a commuter bike, with fenders and racks, I wanted to be able to haul stuff and I wanted a bike I could oaf around on, crashing pot holes and curbs without worrying about too much. In short, I wanted a beast. So I bought one.
I love the bike I bought, I commuted with it every day and on my days off I would take it on long long rides around the city. As I got closer to some form of physical fitness (still far away, but not as far these days) I realised that in some situations my bike was holding me back.
It was heavy as hell for one thing, the wide tires seemed to drag on long climbs for another, at the end of a few hours ride I literally felt like I had an anchor chain wrapped around the bike. I seldom used the gears anymore except to get a quicker start at stop lights. It was time to go lighter. I began to look online at lighter, single speed bikes.
There is something in the male mind that is obsessed with simplicity.We love nothing more than to pare every item down to utilitarian minimalism, I suppose it appeals to our macho need for effectiveness.( To this day I still cant look at a peacock without wondering if he wouldn’t just be better off with one feather and some bells rather than to lug that ornate feather duster around everywhere. I wanted a bike that simple, minimal, like if the Vulcans and Japanese got together to make a bike as functional and basic as possible. No hipster fix gear dangerous trend-monster either, I needed a functional daily ride that didn’t drag my ass down more than my own ass already did.
So on my search I went to 4 different bike shops yesterday. I may impulsive, but I am impulsive with an obsessive thoroughness that makes it OK, right? There were several contenders, one shop turned me off with the kind of hard sell bullshit we used to pull back in my camera shop days (“Yea I know you told me your upper price limit, but just look at this beauty for only a couple hundred more!”) Another apparently only had bikes for 6 foot 5inch giants with 52 inch inseams. Finally I found the right one at the right price. Here she. . .er. .I mean. . .here IT is.
Did I mention that it was pouring down rain all day yesterday? Oh I’m not only impulsive, I’m impulsive and pig-headedly stubborn which makes it OK, right? So I rode my new baby home in the rain and It felt amazing. I think it weighs a third of my old bike, its aluminum frame can not rust and its tiny inch wide tires seem to bear up under my bulk without a complaint or a flat (yet).
How much do i like it? Well, im going to ride it right now.