Sunday, May 16, 2010

My 7th Century or How to Bike Long Distances and Not Go Crazy

One more week, one more century.

Biking long distances can make you crazy.

Here in Indiana we have some games that help while away the hours on bike.

There's the ever-popular water tower game - that's when you see who can first spot the water tower in the distance - a sign of the next small burg you're approaching.

Extra points if the water tower has a bow tie.

This game has the advantage of helping anticipate the next possible rest stop with the ever welcome snacks and restrooms.

If this game doesn't challenge your mind enough, you can play the moonball game.

I'm not sure of the purpose for moonballs in your garden, but they're especially popular in Southern Indiana.

By the way, Chris, if you Wikipedia moonballs they are called gazing balls.

But bikers here call out "Red moonball on the left!" and I think we know better than ol' Wikipedia.

Myself, I bike alone these many centuries, so the moonball and water tower games don't really work for me.

I spend hours with just the spin of the pedals and the crunch of the tires on the road to keep me company.

On a day like Saturday, that can drive you batty.

There was little wind - besides I'm strong enough now I can laugh at wind.

There was no searing sun, no pouring rainstorm, no lightning.

Just a gray overcast sky and the miles.

So I blog.

I bike along blogging in my head for the next day's post.

Will I blog about life or moonballs?

I stop frequently to take pictures to illustrate my blogs.

I must look waifish or like an addled old lady when I stop, because people are always asking if I need help.

Can't they tell I'm lying on the road to get a picture of this fascinating skull on the roadside?

Or when I stopped for a rest and took pictures of my hubs?

It makes it easier to get a little addled when people decorate their trees with faces.

Wizard of Oz, anyone?

Blogging doesn't really work after 70 miles though.

After so many miles the brain gets numb and the creative impulse fades on the horizon.

I was much better when I studied French.

I started out with the numbers.

Biking down state road 38, the drivers could hear me mutter...un, deux, trois....

Up to 100 (that's cent) and then start all over again.

Sounds crazy, but concentrating on my French accent made the miles pass by more quickly.

I graduated to calling out the colors I saw...
bleu, blanc, gris...lots of gris.

Then full sentences...

Je vois une vache blanche - I see a white cow...and so on.

Soon I had a French tutor through the internet...
My Personal Language Tutor  -

You can't beat it - for $20 an hour a personal lesson on Skype in your home at your convenience.

I learned French very quickly for an oldster.

And the miles passed under my tires like a breeze.

So, Katie, you can go to a bike trainer and learn all about cadences and gear ratios.

But take my advice...

...if you don't want to go crazy this summer biking across America... your French.

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