Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guilt and Expiation

Hello everyone!
It would give me great pleasure to say that the reason for my long absence is that I am very busy, which would be true. But it doesn't give me pleasure at all. In fact, I spend my days skulking around the Park with a dark cloud of guilt hanging over my head. Why guilty, you ask? I'll tell you: Even though I am constantly occupied and never seem to have enough time, I can honestly say that since the New Year started I haven't done a single constructive thing. Which ain't good, considering I earn my keep by being, uh, well, constructive.

No working on trailers, no riding my bike; I'm falling behind on my beer-drinking and Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog really needs a bath. Oh, the shame, the degradation! Worst of all is how I have been ignoring my Beloved Blog and the Three People who read it! O Wondrous Guilt!

 In Other Words You're A Lazy Bum
So what have I been doing? Glad I asked. The truth is, I don't know. I took a 40 mile cruise Sunday Morning and huffed and puffed over a course I usually ride with ease. In spite of my best efforts to abstain from over-indulgence, the Holidays have certainly taken a toll on my physique. When I pulled on my bib shorts for the first time in 2012, it looked (and felt) like some Evil Elf had sneaked into my closet and sewn a bowling ball into the front liner. And listen: that same Elf apparently works on bicycles as well; my handlebar drops were obviously several inches lower than they were last Fall and I spent the entire ride with my gloves on the hoods. This meant, of course, I spent almost three hours riding around in a mostly upright position resulting in the dreaded symptom technically referred to as PITA. Look it up in your medical journals.

Do You Want A Little Cheese With That Whine?
I know, I know: I live at Whispering Pines, not Whimpering Pines. (As a side note, I have lived here for nigh on two years and I still don't know what those Pines are whispering about. It's spooky.) But all my Masculine Whining aside, it has been a multi-layered dilemma that I suspect my Readers are familiar with: cycling is physically addictive and endorphin junkies like me need the fix. But Seasonal Affective Disorder sets in sometime after Thanksgiving, the skies darken and the temperature drops. The warm glow of the computer screen beckons and there is nothing like a frosty beer or ten while you are surfing the web and imagining all the riding you are doing while reading about all the riding others are doing.

And I live in Florida! The cold weather I am complaining about would be positively balmy to my Northern Friends. (The North is defined as any area above Interstate 10.) Hence the guilt.

This Part Ain't Funny
Another thing happened just before Christmas. A touring cyclist from Oregon was hit by a truck here in town on Hwy One. A seventy-two year old man with "low blood sugar"  was blasting South in his van and had a dizzy spell or something and ran over a twenty-one year old kid who managed to pedal all the way across the United States before getting to Florida and...what? The newspaper only reported that he was in critical condition. There has been no follow-up story and by now it is old news. We may never know how it turned out.

My Friends Try To Cheer Me Up
That section of road is part of my North Wind Ride. When I ride North to Daytona, I return on that very shoulder of the highway. It could have been me. At the cookout Sunday, I was talking to Uncle Bill about bicycles.

“Aren't you afraid somebody might smack into you with a car when you're out on the highway like that?”

 I instantly flashed to the Oregon kid's accident. It wasn't pretty. I don't know what that young guy looks like, but sometimes I get up the courage to look in the bathroom mirror in the morning, so I know what Tim Joe looks like. It was Old Tim Joe I got a mental snapshot of being struck from behind at high speed by a truck veering onto the shoulder. Man, it wasn't pretty. I took a big gulp from my Budweiser, took a breath and looked Bill in the eye.

“I'm not afraid,” I said. “It could happen anytime, but there is nothing I can do about it. I can't let it stop me from riding.”

There were others around the fire and everyone started talking at once about various people they have known over the years who managed to get run over while riding bicycles. What cheerful Sunday conversation for the Trailer Park Cyclist!

But I am not afraid. I rode over 2500 miles in 2011 with nothing I could really describe as a close call. There were moments. Oh, there were moments, to be sure. But what are you going to do? Wear high visibility clothing, pick your routes as best you can, be very aware of your surroundings and Keep On Stroking.

Ahem. OK. Now then, back to the whining...
What does 2012 hold in store for us? Hard to say. I have a hard enough time even typing the number 2012 and associating it with an actual date. Isn't that the Future? Seriously, what the hell happened?

One year follows another and so on but how can so many years have gone by so fast?

Maybe That Is What the Pines Are Whispering About.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Old Folks Home


  1. SADD has that same effect on us in SC. We have very few overcast days here but today is one of them. It's a full-blown foggy bottom morning here.
    And I too pulled up my blogsite fully intending to chronicle what 2011 meant to me, particularly the joy that the month of December brought.

    But no, it's nearly 10 am and I sit in a ratty pair of Christmas pajamas and an Old Navy sweatshirt that should be a cleaning rag by now.
    Write! If you do I will. And if you get back on the bike, make me get on the blasted treadmill or elliptical machine Tim Joe!

    Most sorry to hear about the young rider from Oregon. Pray he has recovered.
    Getting old sucks and it is taking me a long time to get motivated to work on my poochy overhang. But I will and I have no pines whispering to me, unless of course you count all the ones from the lot next to ours which cast pine needles all over my lawn. Whispering Pines, Greenwood, SC. Hmmm.

    Your friend...D

  2. Tim Joe, I guess i look at it this way, if today is the day i am going to leave this earth I would much rather have it be doing something I really like. So it comes to a very short list, riding, eating/drinking, well you know the other one. I would really hate to cash out working on my truck in the rain...So bring on all those half blind fools...

  3. Welcome back! I have missed reading your words of wit and wisdom. I agree with Doug - if its time, I would rather it be while doing something I love.

  4. TJ

    Good to see you post again. By the looks of your comments section I'd say you have WAY more than three readers (maybe as many as TEN).

    After injuring myself riding the bike on the road up the street from my house I have to admit that riding in traffic makes me lots more nervous than ever before - and my accident was due to pavement conditions, not traffic. I still go out and ride, but I am very reluctant to let cars come up behind me when I'm riding on the roadside. Lots of times if I see more cars coming I'll just stop and let them pass before I continue. That's not really a problem when riding in the Ohio country side - but it can make it harder to get there via the main roads.

    Hope that tourer had some sort of recovery, and that he's able to ride again.

    Steve Z

  5. glad to add myself to your list of readers... missed you, glad you're back. I sometimes try to remember that way more people get injured ( or worse) while riding in a car. My heart goes out to my fellow Oregonian, hope he is doing ok so far from home.

  6. Well I too hope/pray that the rider from Oregon heals and gets back out there. To spread more tales of riding woe, a couple was mowed down in Amarillo Tx. just last week. I know them both from my days riding in the panhandle of Texas and it is very tragic.

    Also, my number came up this past summer as I was struck by a inattentive driver this past August. The worst part was the loss of my beloved Kona CX bike. I had lovingly put on the components of my dreams and rode it for almost 10 yrs.. I just took my inagural ride this past weekend on my new rig and I found myself car shy, a bit of acute stress I reckon, but I would not let it deter me from claiming my rights to the road/ride. I finished my ride but after getting buzzed a few times cut my ride short. See Tim, there's more than four folks who read your blog!

  7. Happy 2012 my Velo Brother glad to see you posting. I think the evil elf has been in the greater Seattle area as I am experiencing some of those same issues. When I think about the whole "getting struck by a car thing", and what road riding cyclist doesn't, I remind myself that there is a fine line between caution and letting fear rule my life. At this point I am more worried about getting broadsided by the sloth of being a couch potato then some inattentive driver wiping me out. That said - be safe out there Velo Brothers and Sisters.


    PS bonus for making me look up "expiation"

  8. Keep 'em comin' Tim Joe. Miss you when you are gone.

  9. I'm running short on patience for people who ask or warn about the dangers of riding in the road; it's old news and often unproductive conversation with a dull-mind. Welcome back to blogging, the best way to waste time since beer and bicycles. Still planning a bike trip this next month?

  10. If I can catch that elf, he's finished. Until then, my jerseys are funny shaped and 30 miles seems like forever. Spring will come to the north and the salt will wash away...and down the road we go.

    Fear not TJ.

  11. Nick, I don't have any plans for next month but I'm trying to figure out a way to do the PCH (Marin to LA)in July. My son in LA has offered airfare and Mike said he would put together a Black Mountain for me, but so far unless I sell the book I haven't written it is just a dream.


  12. So I have actually worked in some riding between all of this travel that has happened since full. Here in SC we fall into "winter riding" which means logging miles at a steady cadence on the small chain ring. I went out New Year's weekend and flew, I mean flew down the road. I was thinking that I was in great riding shape even with the lack of miles. Then I turned into the headwind to come home...

    Christmas Eve I stopped on my bike at a tavern where they know me. All the guys said to be careful out on the road and I do know they like to watch out for me. I told them all not to run over me on the way home and that perhaps they would wait 30 minutes before leaving...

    Keep on stoking. Yer Pal

  13. Thoughtful blog. I'll blog a response tomorrow, because this has been a thinker on the morning ride, and I need the perfect photo. p.s. You are absolved.

  14. I don't like biking (although I live in The Netherlands) but I do love reading your blog - you are one of my daily stops and I am happy every time I find a new post.
    Keep it coming!

  15. I don't like bi ...
    I don't li ...
    I don't ...

    Okay, I'm trying to type what Ingrid typed, but everytime my brain figures out what my fingers are about to do it sends them a "cease and desist" order. Successfully typing such a phrase would be a monumental - although diabolical - accomplishment.

    But I agree, Ingrid - TJ transcends his original reason for blogging.

  16. I know there are more than three readers.....heck there are at least ten FC readers that you mildly irritated with biking and beer drinking stories!

    Keep the blogs coming TimJoe.
    It's good reading!

  17. Lance post was good!