Riding back into town the other day, I noticed two cyclists behind me. I was cranking along at a spanking pace, despite the Thanksgiving feast still with me from the previous day. But looking over my shoulder, I noticed they were getting closer. I'm thinking "these puppies are really motoring."
It also crossed my mind that these dudes are behaving like I would in a similar situation. If you see a rider in front of you, it's time to put the "pedal to the metal" in an attempt to catch up. It's a game most cyclists play, but rarely admit to doing. So I poured on the foot pressure, too.
Eventually they were on my wheel, with the lead guy pulling up alongside me. And he was a real Guy, as in Guy Berthiaume — a local cycling legend whom I profiled on my blog in April 2019. In the past, I would run into him at the bike shop, but because of my work schedule there, this was the first time I'd seen him all season.
Looking left, Guy said, "I thought that was you. I didn't think we were going to reach you." I didn't have the heart to tell him I was actually braking, as I was approaching my house. Anyway, I knew Guy was a mileage monster, averaging around 8,000 each season, so I asked him, "How are the miles coming this year?" He replied, "I'm nearing 7,000." Not too bad for someone in their mid-70s.
And then he was off, continuing down the hill; speeding back toward Chelsea, where he lives. It was good running into him; two cyclists having a quick, friendly totally unexpected exchange of words while cruising on their bicycles.
What a difference a day makes
It's a good thing I've got several types of bicycles to keep up with our changing weather conditions here in Maine. Each day seems to call for a different kind of ride, with a road bike, for example, good for one outing, but not so good the next time.
A case in point. On a recent Wednesday, it was cloudy with flurries falling out of the sky, which left a coating of snow on the ground. The temperature was 23 degrees. So it was my first cruise of the season on my Specialized fat bike. Two days later, on a Friday, it was cloudy with temperatures in the 40s. So my two-wheeled weapon of choice? My Trek Domane road bike.
The two days' computer readouts were as different as night and day. Again, one bike clunky and slow; the other, sleek and fast. Here are the statistics: Wednesday ride — an hour and 14 minutes, maximum speed of 17.5 miles per hour, average speed of 8.9 mph, and a distance of 11.09 miles. Friday ride — an hour and 23 minutes, maximum speed of 28.2 mph, average speed of 15.2 mph, and a distance of 21.06 miles.
Completely different outcomes, completely different bikes, and completely different rides. But the weather conditions dictated the selection of which wheels to choose, in order to keep safe and able to ride for another day on whichever bicycle that may entail.