The Joy of Jalapenos
I didn't ride today. During the night, I awoke to the sound of rain on the roof. At first, I thought it was the ceiling fan, but as I laid there in the bed listening, I could hear the metallic patter of rain hitting the neighbor's air conditioning unit. Still, I planned to ride, but most likely I'd ride the Centurion with its fenders.
When I got up – roughly a minute before the alarm went off – it was raining harder. The radar showed it would be moving off to the east very quickly, yet the rain continued as I had breakfast and checked the news. Shortly before I reached the 'decision time' of 5:30 AM, the skies opened up and it rained very hard for a few minutes. I checked the radar again. It looked like successive waves of heavy rainfall were forming just over Tulsa, then moving off to the northeast, directly toward me.
I put work clothes on and resigned myself to driving. It's probably for the best. I've been aching and miserable all morning.
The one bright spot was at lunch. I made hot wings yesterday, along with fresh-baked bread in the machine, and I made a LOT! That meant I'd have hot wings for lunch today, too. Let's just say I was heavy-handed with the hot sauce. My lips are burning. Also, I nicked my finger this morning. Applying hot sauce to an open wound, even a small one, is not recommended.
I seem to recall reading that spicy food causes our bodies to release endorphins, those same chemicals that are released during exercise. When we can't get our regular exercise 'fix', we get moody and depressed. Maybe eating hot, spicy food is a good substitute on those days we can't ride. One thing's certain – after eating all those hot wings I'm definitely feeling better. This may require some investigation. Let's see, locally there's Mexican, Thai, Korean, and Indian food to experiment with, though there's probably more. I better stock up on Tums.
While I'm thinking about it...
And since I drove today, I could indulge in one of my co-workers favorite pastimes, bitching about all the other idiot motorists out there on a Monday morning. Now, I'm a boring old fudd, set in his ways, an ironclad creature of habit. Even when I drive to work, I follow the same route as I do on a bicycle. It's the low-stress, low-traffic alternative to the highway. This morning, cars were spaced out along the road traveling at the speed limit. But there was one motorist who was obviously late already. I watched as he (or she – I couldn't tell through the heavily tinted glass) passed each car behind me, then rode my bumper until we reached a passing zone. He passed me and a few more cars, only to reach the light at 46th Street. God decreed that it remain red. Speed Racer sat there as all those he'd passed caught up and stopped too. When the light changed, he rabbited off to the next light where the process was repeated.
This is a minor annoyance in the greater scheme of things. I know that driver was already late to work, because he works here at the maintenance base. But driving aggressively doesn't really result in saving much time, only seconds at best. My life is stressful enough already. Taking chances on the road and driving like a complete dick are too far down the list to contemplate.
My only concern is that people who drive fast and aggressively are a greater menace when I'm on the bike. Several times, the Speed Racer types have hurtled by me at far over the speed limit. I'm not talking about 5 or 10 over. It's more like 30 or 40. They overdrive their headlights, and I know there's very little reaction time to avoid a slow-moving cyclist at that speed. Fortunately, these fools are comparatively rare. This morning's fool, however, is a regular, though thankfully I'm usually on that section of road half an hour after he's late for work.
Tour de Owasso
I met Wade for coffee on Saturday morning, then rode around to various garage sales. So far, I haven't stumbled across a vintage Mercian, a pristine Masi, or a concours Paramount, but I did score three usable paint brushes. I'll take whatever good luck I can find. And I really did need the paint brushes.
The surprising part is the people. I heard, “Oh, I know you! I pass you on my way to work every morning!” Or, “You're the guy who rode his bike to the elementary school a couple of years ago.” Or, “I see you in the parking lot at work every day.” It's good to be recognized, but frankly I'd feel better about it if there were scads more commuter cyclists on the road and I was just another guy going to work.
One of my goals in life is to become the village eccentric. But a co-worker pointed out that 'eccentric' is usually reserved for odd people who have a lot of money. He went on to say that with my income, the best I could hope for was “local nutcase”.
From the Accra Daily Mail in Ghana:
A. R......A little bicycle story
| Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2007
They pleaded guilty to careless cycling and riding without headlights.
Chief Inspector Emmanuel Kpodo told the court, presided over by Ms Janet Awo Bakudie that the 12 were arrested after a police clampdown exercise at various locations in the Hohoe Township between 1830 and 2130 hours.
The court after sentencing each one million cedis further ordered the accused persons to fix their headlights before they receive their bicycles.
Ms Bakudie warned other riders to correct the defects on their bicycles since the law would be applied sternly on subsequent offenders.”
That's a little over $100 USD. For comparison's sake, a cyclist riding without lights in Oklahoma can be fined $25 plus court costs. Apparently the authorities in Ghana take riding without lights far more seriously than we do. My only question is – how do you fix the headlight BEFORE you receive the bicycle?