Monday, December 19, 2005


No, it’s not the answer to “What is six times nine?” We all know that’s forty-two, as any Douglas Adams fan can tell you.

No, it’s not the number of miles or kilometers I’ve ridden today. I wish!

It’s not today’s temperature, either. It was 25F when I passed the bank this morning.

It’s my birthday. I’m fifty-four today. Fifty-four years spent on this little blue planet.

It’s a lousy time of year for a birthday, let me tell you! When I was a kid, I got the combined Christmas-and-Birthday presents, because my parents and relatives were too tapped out to make a big deal of both. My Mom has it worse, though. Her birthday is New Year’s Eve.

What have I learned in my fifty-four years? Sometimes, I really wonder about that. I may be starting to understand my wife after only twenty years of marriage. I may understand women in another twenty or thirty years, but I suspect the epiphany will arrive right along with my final breath – too late to share with the rest of the unsuspecting men out there.

I’ve learned not to gamble, since I’m only good at losing money. I’ve learned to avoid using words and grammar I don’t understand. I’ve learned that people who see themselves as too important to do the little jobs shouldn’t be trusted with bigger ones.

But this is supposed to be about cycling, after all, so what have I learned about that?

I’ve learned it’s easier to take care of little problems before they become big ones. That means I do routine maintenance, lubrication, and cleaning in order to avoid mechanical problems. I replace tires and tubes regularly, before they develop lumps, cracks, or too many patches. I try to have back-ups for critical items like lights.

I’ve learned my body requires proper nutrition and hydration, and that like the bicycle, it too prefers preventive maintenance. Saddle sores are a perfect example. They’re easier to avoid than to cure.

I’ve learned to take my place on the road as just another vehicle. This is not as simple as it sounds. Like many cyclists, I was afraid of riding in traffic for a very long time. But as I learned more, the fear ebbed. The capper was taking the Road1 course, and discovering that many of the things I’d learned via experience had been distilled into genuinely educational classroom lessons, coupled with practical road cycling.

Best of all, I’ve learned that when we encounter things like the simple, child-like fun of riding a bicycle, we should share that with whoever will listen. That’s one of the reasons I write CycleDog, to share the fun with all of you.

I realized just recently that I’ve been writing this for a year. It really doesn’t seem that long. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll run out of ideas, my mind going dry and sere, and CycleDog withering from lack of attention. That day will probably come, but not today.

Today has to revolve around fifty-four. Maybe I’ll eat dinner in fifty-four bites. Maybe I’ll dance lasciviously atop a freeway overpass for fifty-four seconds. (Fat chance!) The traditional thing would be to ride fifty-four miles, but there isn’t time enough for that. Maybe I’ll deflate my tires to fifty-four pounds….nah. Maybe I’ll tell Mary that I love her fifty-four times. She’ll suspect that I’m up to something.


Blogger Fritz said...

Happy birthday to you.
You live in a zoo.
You smell like a cyclist
and you act like one too.

Happy birthday, Ed. and happy anniversary on the blog.

3:22 PM  
Blogger mags said...

Happy birthday!


6:19 PM  
Blogger the old bag said...

Happy birthday! Glad to hear you're not running out of cycling stories to tell!

9:37 PM  
Blogger hereNT said...

Somehow I doubt you even scratched the surface of what you've learned about riding...

Happy birthday!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Coelecanth said...

And yet another happy birthday!

I'm afraid I got you the same thing as last year, hope you liked it.

12:21 PM  

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