01 August 2008
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike, I want to ride ... ok, I'll stop
A little taste of last year's action...
I think assimilation is pretty cool (if you're a communist), so when I moved to Boise I took a look around and realized I would either have to get a dog (beagle) or a bike (banana seat). The place reeks of granola (or "kashi" if you're a hipster) the type of place where mentioning "Wal-Mart" and "Starbucks" is equivalent to dropping the F-bomb (like Target treats its Indonesian factory workers ANY better) It took a while to catch on, mainly because I didn't really understand the "lingo" (note: cool word for "language") and everyone wouldn't shut up about their "times..."
Standing in the line at Java waiting for my coffee:
Dude, what's your "time" on that 4K? I got like 5:32, yeah, pretty good "time," better than my last "time"...
First, I went for the obvious -- these two grown men wearing spandex and complaining about their knees were part of some cult, that they got together on Wednesdays and did weird stuff involving clocks. But then, buying toilet paper at Winco:
"Hey Sarah! how's your time on the Eagle Run? I did about 20:13, not so bad huh?"
The homeless guy who smokes the cigarette butts off the sidewalk on 9th street:
"Hey Rusty (not even gonna tell you how he got the nickname) what "time" did you get walking from Fremont to Fairview?? I got about 20 minutes..."
Okay, it wasn't just me, it was like I was stuck in this Cindi Lauper music video where "Time after Time" was playing on vinyl (my new favorite thing) ... just circle after circle of some of one of the worst tunes (cough..George Michael...cough) produced during the 1980s. I finally broke down and asked someone about it (yes, Rusty the homeless guy). He explained like so, if you live in Boise, this weird city of hippies and Capitol types in suits, sooner or later you look around and realize everyone is either training for a triathalon, or improving their "time" on some local trail.
I got my road bike when I got back from Guatemala (where owning a bike is kinda like owning a Suzuki) and there it was, in my apartment staring at me (awkward).
And here I was, in the apparent biking capital of the world. all I wanted to do was throw on some sweats and hop in a rickshaw (preferably hauled by a dog (yeah, that's right, the tables have TURNED). I've tried to live by a non-conformist code, sometimes succeeding (nothing but cold cereal for an entire month) sometimes failing miserably (scrunchie phase, circa 1980s) but I felt I just couldn't ride my bike in a place where people actually gave you a thumbs up when you passed by and Saturdays, man, Saturdays were like a parade of goofy smiles riding Huffys and Schwins ... it was just embarrassing.
But then, there was the bike race of the year had enveloped my apartment complex, some mess of an event called the "Twilight Criterium" and it was me against the biking world as I realized the entryway to my apartment had been blocked off.
So, I did what anyone would have done in the same situation.I sat at my window mapping out the trajectory of a lugee for a few seconds, then I grabbed my bike, waded through the massive crowd (cooler and involving more sweat than it sounds) and rode to the other side of town to a really nice bike trail called the Boise Greenbelt, and for two hours I shifted gears, balanced just right on the curves, and tried to pretend I hadn't just started drinking the Kool-Aid.