Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
I am off to a late start today. After working into the wee hours of last night I treated myself to a little R&R this morning. I am just now curling up on my couch with a bowl of cereal, my computer (for both writing and watching Horse stock fluctuations over on Wall Street) and my best friends, the Maximals.
Besides over-indulging on the insurmountable childhood vices of sugary cereal and cartoons my week has gone pretty normally. There was a dabbling of cycling, an unexpected run… and I was blown off my bicycle going to work on Wednesday. Yeah.
I find it interesting that while the remainder of the Rust Belt has no particular notoriety when windiness is concerned, Chicago seems indignant that other regions of the country may boast shittier weather than it (we’re looking at you, Tornado Alley). Fueled by its chagrin at this fact, Chicago stepped up its game this week and transitioned immediately from the severe cold/snow warnings of winter to the cyclist-tossing zephyrs of spring. Right here the incredulous reader would probably be thinking “Ok, Nick… While surviving in Chicago might require a steel resolve and bulletproof constitution, I doubt that the weather is that bad.”
And that is where you would be wrong, my very young, naive and dear Reader. Take, for example, the tornado scene from the Wizard of Oz. Impressed by the special effects, right? Wrong. Not special effects. The scene was actually shot in Chicago. Don’t believe me? See for yourself, Dear Readers:
Ostensibly, this is just Dorthy awakening within yet another (Chicago) tornado. Proof that Dorthy is so used to this crap is that she doesn’t even get out of bed (kids these days!). Miss Almira Gulch is even less shaken as she is riding her bicycle right through the storm (I could learn from her). But do you see what’s in the red square? No? Allow me to enhance that for you:
What?! Chicago basketball sensation Derrick Rose!? I believe that the fact that he is in the midst of the storm, juking so bad he’s about to break the tornado’s ankles, proves that the Wizard of Oz was shot in Chicago. And please, Dear Reader, don’t spout some nonsense about the Wizard of Oz being filmed over half a century ago. We all know Derrick Rose transcends space-time.
I feel better now that I have gotten the obligatory weather complaint out of the way. Stay tuned for more of those. Not much has gone on in the seven days since we have last spoke and, because of that, I am going to keep this short and sweet. Now, as we all know, montages are the most time-efficient means of conveying ideas and achieving goals. Unfortunately, I am in no position to be filming those right now, so, for the sake of short-and-sweetness I am going to round this off with montages’ blog-equivalent; lists.
1). Some people have given me some great suggestions. One among them was to develop a sort of glossary for the items and components I discuss. For example, some of you may not know what a rear derailleur is. So, in the future, if I were to use that term I would do so like this:
“I totally smashed the hell out of my rear derailleur. I regret trying to use my bicycle as a sword.”
So the glossary will be constructed as the blog goes on. Additions will be made and organized alphabetically so all you have to do is click on the link and look it up! This whole trip that I am planning is meant to be a learning experience for me. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be the same for all of you who have been so supportive. Hopefully we can all come out with some newfound knowledge (you’re welcome.). Oh, also, I hope to apply the glossary retroactively. That means updated old posts! (But not now, so don’t go snooping just yet).
2). Some people seem to think this trip is impossible. Now, I am pretty inexperienced and not the strongest cyclist, so it will be difficult for me. But self-supported long distance touring has been going on for ages and I am planning on making it pretty plush. What I am getting at, Dear Readers, is the fact that there are some real badasses out there who push this sort of thing to the limit, and I want to recognize one in particular:
1500km across New Zealand is going to be taxing no matter how you cut it. David Wilson decided to up the ante by doing it self-supported on a penny-farthing. And no, he isn’t the first man to do long hauling on a big wheeler, but he is the first badass to make it look as good as he does. Besides the (probably) 130 year-old bicycle and a bumpin’ beard, Wilson decided to do the whole thing in his Sunday-best and with a sharp pannier set. Oh, and that smile? Is that the kind of smile you see on a man who just completed several hundred miles on a contraption that was considered outdated before the abominable horseless carriages existed? Generally no. But Wilson doesn’t care. His life is one of constant luxury because he knows how awesome he is. Here’s to you, David Wilson.
Numerous articles on the internet explain Wilson’s exploits. Here is one:
3). And, finally, technology is ridiculous. How heavy is your bike? Some people would argue–and rightfully so–that the weight doesn’t matter. It’s the performance and the feel that you get out of it. Ok, fair, I definitely subscribe to that belief. But I have to admit, when I got on my Scott Speedster S20 for the first time it was like riding a Ferrari. And tipping the scales at a little over 19lbs, that is saying something. She certainly isn’t the lightest girl out there. So what if the bike weighed half that? 9.5lbs? That would be insane! Well, Jason Woznick pulled it off. Except 9.5 was a little heavy sounding to him so he just took it down to an even 6lbs. I present to you the lightest bike ever made (and at approximately $45,000 it had damn well better be):
Here is a link to an entire article about the bike and a lot of cool pictures:
Ok gang, I think I have mustered up enough resolve to go for a run, so I’m gonna head out for today. Onward to withering headwinds and endorphin addictions! (No joke, it just started raining. Outrageous.)
So I really appreciate all suggestions for this blog and my trip. The glossary one is a good example. Any others? Feel free to write them in the comment section!