No Name Tour: Aftermath In SF

Friday night Jessie and Mike took me to the neighborhood Puerto Rican restaurant In Haight Ashbury and we stuffed ourselves. How do you say gut bomb in Spanish?

Yesterday we took The Mule to Bespoke, a bike shop across town. The owner used to work at my local bike shop in Mt. Vernon. He’ll ship my baby home later this week.

I rode a Jump bike back from the bike shop. It was my first time on an electric assist bike. It’s two-wheeled crack.

We had breakfast al fresco at a restaurant on the Wiggle, a bike route that weaves through the streets of this section of the city, avoiding big hills. It’s painted green and includes a counterflow section.

I bought a massive duffle bag Friday. It had straps on it so I can wear it like a backpack. I could wipe out every passenger on a BART train with this baby. Bwa ha ha.

Last night we had phenomenal tacos at a Mexican place before imbibing a huge bowl of punch at a bar. Not much of an improvement on my bike touring diet I must say but it felt considerably less painful.

I’m staying with Jessie and Mike until Monday morning when the duffle and I will relocate to a hotel near the Oakland airport for Tuesday’s flight home. I’ve already scheduled two happy hours for next week. Unfortunately they are for the same evening.

I looked up some descriptive statistics on the Western Express yesterday. Between Pueblo CO and San Francisco I did more than 98,000 feet of climbing.

And today to prove that this tour has traumatized me, I signed up for my 11th 50 States Ride on Sept 7. Nigel Tufnel would be pleased.

Team Rootchopper assemble!

It’s Electrifying

I normally get passed by several bikes on my way to and from work. Most of these are lycra clad dudes in a great big hurry to get to or away from work. Some are simply run of the mill bike commuters who are in better shape than me. (This, of course, covers several billion people worldwide.) On my last two rides to work, I have been passed by someone who doesn’t fit the fast commuter mold.

Yesterday, I was riding up the gentle grade alongside National Airport. It’s a what cyclists call a false flat. It looks flat but it’s uphill enough to slow your speed by a couple of miles per hour. I was doing my usual 10 miles per hour along this stretch both mornings when she passed me.  She’s a petite woman. She wears street clothes including a quilted winter coat. She rides a heavy looking bike with an upright seating position. She was pedaling gently. And she blew by me like I was standing still. In no time flat she was out of view taking my fragile aging male ego with her.

Today she passed me in the exact same spot. I check out her bike. The front wheel had a huge hub which housed an electric motor. A grumpy person might say that trails like the Mount Vernon Trail are not intended for use by motorized vehicles. Not me. She wasn’t harming anyone. In fact she was riding more safely than many of the Lancelots in the lycra crowd. And she was getting to work pretty darn fast.

Did the future just pass me by?

You don’t have to be a big time bike rider. Being old doesn’t much matter. You can navigate streets and trails with ease. And there are no parking problems when you get to your destination. And you get some exercise and fresh air.

As an aging bike commuter who finds his 30-mile bike commute increasingly difficult, I have to admit this electric assist thing has legs.

Or wheels.

Or pedals. .