Friday, November 18, 2011

The Small Matter of my Hands. And Bicycles.

A couple Sundays ago, for the first time in almost exactly two months I shakily hopped back onto a bicycle. After a quick ride up and down my street in the Lower Haight in the city of San Francisco, I realized I was good to go and rode across town free from the clenches of flaky and often unnecessary public transportation. So what happened?

In early September I made a colossally stupid set of decisions that lead me to have a rather frightening accident on my trusty touring bike. I'm so bored with the story I'll keep it brief: I was going camping and I packed a bag for what I thought would be a rather easy ride from the city of Dublin to Livermore, up into the nearby hills, and to a lovely reservoir where I could go swimming, sit around a camp fire, and maybe howl at the moon come nightfall. Anyhow I did a poor job packing, I went alone, I left late, google maps sent me an unexpected way onto dirt trails, my tires were over pumped, my brakes were soft, and I was tired. I lost control of my bike kind of in the middle of nowhere, went over my handlebars, landed on my head, messed up both wrists, and had to hike my ass a few miles with increasingly useless hands so I could be driven to some depressing emergency room. At least the bike was unscathed. Incredible.
Months later I still don't have the greatest of hearing in my left ear and have the strength of an eight year old boy in both my hands. However, a little more that a week after the cast came off my left hand, I was ready to ride again and this is cause to celebrate. I feel like I'm getting my life back.
I can't overstate how important bikes are in my life. I've done a fair bit of travel by bike. Around Southern Thailand, Northern Thailand, Laos, and the American West Coast. Besides these trips, I go just about everywhere by bike. It's fun, it's healthy, and it a great way to see the city. I rode thousands of miles in the last calendar year and in many ways these miles are a large part of my general health, both physical and mental. After my eight mile commute I feel very different after a nice ride than a wait and a sit or stand on a MUNI train that's for sure. I'm not mister fitness or anything, but I guarantee that riding one's bike on a daily commute will work wonders for you. It has me. And for the last couple months I've been pretty bummed out as I have to sit out nice days, organized rides, and my normal exercise regimen. I decided to take up running again for a while and after a few miles I always wanted to just be back on my bike.  Now that I'm slowly getting back into it, needless to say, I'm a little giddy.

In the last couple of weeks I've put well over a hundred miles on my bike. I'm feeling stronger and now I feel almost no pain at all. At least as far as my hands are concerned.
I write about food on this blog. Or at least usually. Bikes play a large part of my life these days and the everyday mundane experiences I have are more often than not shaped by my bike. It's hard for me not to talk about it.

Bikes get me where I wanna go. They help me make my appointments and help me burn calories. After a few months of riding erratic public transit I was tired of the waiting and tired of the paying. I'd rather be drinking a cup of coffee after or during a ride. A place where I can ride a bike is also a place I want to eat. Places that attract cars is a place I want to keep away from. It's rather simple. Much like this blog started over a love of street food, the author continues to be interested in the streets that we walk, ride, and drive on. I'd rather be be riding. Always.


nicklally said...

yay! winter touring, here we come!

a said...

get me a more appropriate sleeping bag, rain gear, and a tune up for my bike and I'm in. I can provide: a tent and lodging (hopefully) in LA.

Hanie said...

gosh. you're a truly resilient person! glad to hear you're all up and about again :D

a said...

I'm still standing!