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Ah, August!

The mighty Kennebec in Hallowell ... although rather calm this morning.

Humorless heat & humidity

I know I moan about having to put too many layers of clothing on to cycle in the colder weather. But this hot August climate has got me thinking otherwise. Of course, I could always not go for a pedal, however, that's not really an option.

My built-in heat index — the end of my chin — has been giving a clear indication of how extreme the high temperatures and humidity have been here in Maine. It all has to do with sweat. The stuff has been dripping from the protruding portion of my face like it was connected to a faucet. Normally, there is no such dampness in evidence. My bike's top tube ends up being littered with dried up blotches. Very unsightly, indeed.

Despite all the water vapor in the atmosphere, it seems to have the opposite impact on my bike chain, by sucking the moisture right out of it. I'm having to re-lubricate after only a few rides. If not, the squeaking noise would drive me crazy.

I've just got to keep hydrated and keep going, getting ready for my upcoming events. Speaking of which, I sought strategic advice from Alan, who works at the bike shop and is well-versed in racing, concerning the Maine Senior Games competition. Basically, he said try to get in a paceline — and draft — with those in your age group and go like heck near the end.

It will be flat and probably fast. I hope I don't crash and burn.

Squirrelly squirrels

A quick "from the saddle" observation. Lately, I've been encountering a lot of squirrels while riding on the Kennebec River Rail Trail. They have been zipping across in front of me, almost daring to get tickled by my bike's tire.

But they've all ended up doing the same thing. At the very last second, they whip their tails out of the way so that they lie flat along their backs — giving the illusion that they are actually tailless. A bizarre sight, for sure.

Garmin guffaws

So the guy walks into the bar and ... Isn't that how the joke begins? Anyway, I stopped by Mathieu's the other day, at a time I wasn't on the clock. Entering the door, I was greeted with laughter by four people — the shop's co-owner, staffers Alan and Nash, and our Garmin rep. As it turned out, they were chortling because of me.

Before my arrival, Alan mentioned to everyone present that someone who works at the shop had been using a Garmin bike computer. But because he was a writer, he preferred paper and pencil, having a deep-seated aversion when it came to using apps, etc. You guessed it, he was talking about me.

Out of the blue, and right on cue, I showed up and, thus, the ha ha moment. The Garmin rep was poking fun at me for my lack of being with it, tech-wise, and implied I should get with the program. Yes, I was the butt of the joke, but it was all in good fun. Another reason why I love working at the bike shop.

'Thought for the day'

"Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world." — Grant Petersen, bicycle designer, author, and founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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