Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Last Ride

I got in what will likely be my last bike ride of the season today. I did 16 miles in 25 degree weather. Luckily wind was negligible today. I rode on the recently completed Fishtrap Trail from the bottom of Sunset Hill all the way past Marshall and back late in the afternoon. The only thing that was cold on me were my big toes.

I rode on my classic black Schwinn 10 speed (without toe clips) wearing my handmade cap, my amber colored shop glasses from Lowes and some funky gloves that worked well. I also had on some trad cotton underwear beneath some work out pants. I had on my windbreaker bike jacket over a t-shirt and two sweatshirts. In retrospect, I think I need a pair of those booties that go over your shoes designed for cold weather biking. I also had on my National Geographic Polar Bear Buff Thermal Headwear worn as a mask in order to warm the air as I breathed it into my lungs. All elder outdoor enthusiasts with any kind of respiratory or cardiac issues should wear something over their mouths and noses when exercising in temperatures below freezing. I used to teach that when I did Cardiac Rehabilitation at Deaconess Medical Center years ago. I really didn't need it today but it feels better to have slightly warmer air coming into your lungs when you are exerting yourself.

I saw 3 turkeys, some Canadian Geese and a Magpie on my journey. I was even friendly to the one other person that I passed going the opposite direction (twice). I didn't even notice what kind of bike he was riding.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gear Snobs I Have Met

They say that writing helps a person to understand themselves... so bear with me here. Okay, I am just gonna say it...I am sick of meeting people on the trail who glance down at your bike/skis/ snowshoes/whatever and you can see in their eyes that they are making a snap judgement on whether you are 'worthy'. On the other hand, a person who doesn't care about that stuff will look you in the eye and say 'hello' and talk with you. I had both experiences, again, on Mt. Spokane while cross-country skiing.

I met an older man a couple of years ago that was training with his ancient external pack on and, instead of trekking poles, he was using old pink cross-country ski poles. As we passed each other we said 'hello' then we turned back and started chatting. He was a very interesting fellow who was training for a solo trip into the Norht Cascades and happened to be thrifty. He was also a pilot and former competitive body builder.

In Spokane there is a retro bike group that gets together monthly and rides together to Brown's Addition for refreshments. I passed them one evening and there were 40 or so in the group and it just made me smile : )

I am of two minds about all this. Sure, I have a few nice things but the last time I went backpacking with some friends I chose my old external frame pack (bought in college) because it is so cool and funky. I could have taken my newer one but it was a fun trip composed of us goofy letterboxers. We are all just kids at heart anyway.

I guess I just pine for the days when your old pair of running shoes, tattered sweats and the T-shirt that you bought at the Champion outlet with the logo misprinted backwards for 39 cents was 'in'. At least I thought it was 'in'. Maybe I just feel this way because I grew up with little money and still don't like to spend much. I know that good gear, especially in the clothing realm, can save your life. However, when I am just dinking around I think I will just stay with my tattered cotton sweats with the paint stains and let people judge me for my behavior... like 'hey, at least that old guy is out exercising!'

This is not meant to be offensive to anyone and I am guilty of this myself. Like the ubiquitous 'Northface' logo that I see everywhere that makes me cringe...