Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Would you like a shot of adrenalin with that?

When I was a teen, I thought my Dad was an idiot to bicycle to work. For one thing BIKE is to ANCHORAGE DRIVER exactly what RED CAPE is to BULL. Ask my son. More to the point Dad owned a sleek emerald Datsun 240 z sports car that not only looked fast standing still, but also could fit my sister, her 'cello, my sister's friend Leslie, and Leslie's viola, with room left over for Dad to drive.

Dad would forsake all this for the hard seat of his 12-speed, pedaling off to the hospital at all hours in the long subarctic twilight of summer.

Sadly his idiocy seems to have been passed down to me, in an even more virulent form. As I ride to work in the morning, the soundtrack is the rhythmic rattle of my medication. So in addition to cyclist=red cape, we have a sporadically spastic moron with compromised balance aboard a two wheeled contraption that shouldn't even work for a healthy person.

My neurologist has told me twice that the physics of cycling are not understood, and in fact, that it shouldn't be possible. That's incentive enough for me right there. For some reason, I experience a better sense of balance aboard my bike than afoot. I am more likely to lose my balance putting on my socks than pedaling my way to work. I feel trapped in a car this time of year. On a bike, I'm free.

There are times though, when I think twice about the wisdom of this habit. Let's replay the phone call I made to my wife shortly after leaving the house yesterday.

Pam: (groggily) Hello?

Peter: Hi, I'm at turn-off for the Science center, There's a BIG (Expletive deleted) BLACK BEAR down the road bank and across the pond.

Pam: (Alert) Should I come get you?

Peter: No, I'm leaving RIGHT NOW.

There were plenty of cars and people around, I wasn't that worried. The real moment of terror for the day was about twenty five minutes later, two blocks from work. An enraged Yorkshire Terrier/wolverine cross chased me at top speed (for both of us) a good 500 feet. Less dangerous than a black bear, you say? Maybe, But much more inclined to bite!

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