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Solo ... shirt ... shoes

In my "Push to Pedal despite the Pandemic," or my so-called "PPP" campaign, I'm doing all solo riding these days, keeping physical distancing in mind. But as I've said previously ... no friends, not as much fun.

However, I do cross paths from time to time with Scott, who is one of my regular cycling chums. Even though our riding habits are different during the present situation, the routes and roads are the same, so we keep bumping into each other. We always stop and chat for a bit — he on one side of the road and me on the other — both of us expressing an eagerness to rejoin our paceline that usually includes our good friend Jon. Scott and I participated together in the Pedal the Penobscot century ride last year. Hopefully, we can do it again this September.

Relishing my Rapha jersey despite the price.

I'm going solo, but I'm also going long. I find myself doing 35- to 40-mile rides most days. That in itself seems bizarre when keeping in mind that I haven't even put a total of 40 miles on my car in the last six or seven weeks. In all my lonesomeness, I did top 2,000 miles for the season this past Wednesday. My first 1,000 for this year was accomplished with 50 rides; the second 1,000 took just 36 rides. Compared to last year, when I didn't reach 2,000 miles until July 7, I'm flying.

. . .

The arrival of warmer weather has given me the opportunity to try out my new cycling jersey made by Rapha. I refer to it as my "snobby shirt." The London-based company, while very popular throughout the cycling community, also has many detractors. Some of its clothing items are wildly expensive — $270 for a pair of bib shorts, for example — and many people believe Rapha is focused too much on style and not enough on the sport itself.

While it may be an apparel company people love to hate, I'm quite happy with my jersey. It is definitely the best one I've ever cycled in for a ton of reasons, but no, I didn't have to get a second mortgage on my house to purchase it ... not quite, anyway.

. . .

Yes, I do readily admit to having seven bicycles, but you could never accuse me of being the Imelda Marcos of cycling shoes. While the former first lady of the Philippines reportedly possessed 3,000 pairs of shoes, I've only have had four pairs — despite riding tens of thousands of miles.

Wearing my first pair of cycling shoes, yellow and black in color and made by Shimano, I pedaled a total of 27,000 miles. My next two pairs, also from Shimano, are still in use; one in white and the other in black. The latter pair finally feel "broken in" this season after having had them for three years, with only occasional use.

I went with the Bontrager brand for my fourth — and latest — pair. Purchased last summer, if they ever have to send out a search party for me I will be easily spotted, as these bad boys are viper red in color. It might take some time to get comfortable in these shoes, as while they only register at seven out of 14 on the stiffness index, that's still higher than any of my previous three pairs. Time to go for a ride!

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