• Patrick Gabrion

Where is everyone?

Keeping to a musical theme once again — following up on last week's "I Can See for Miles" by The Who — this blog entry's topic can be best described by Roy Orbison's 1960 hit song "Only the Lonely." Why? Because, for the time being, my riding sphere involves me being the ONLY cyclist on the road ... and I'm definitely finding it rather LONELY.


While a good percentage of my rides throughout the years have always been of the "me, myself, and I" variety, that doesn't mean I prefer it. Sprinkling in some companionship every now and then just makes riding more fun and it makes those long miles seem more tolerable. And besides, who wants to suffer alone?


Jon! Scott! Where are you?

I'm just thankful I still have the opportunity to jump on a bike and go for a spin. Because of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, countries like Italy and Spain have instituted temporary bans on leisure cycling. Ouch! But as I've already noted, I'm by myself, stamping down any desire for a friendly group ride.


I've been reading up on why we cyclists shouldn't be assembling together. Part of it has to do with an effect known as our respiratory signature. What's that you might be asking? It is the footprint we leave in the air every time we expel air from our lungs through our nose and mouth. This signature can be put forth by simply exhaling, or laughing, talking, and — yes, coughing and sneezing. These days, who knows what that cone of air drifting behind you may contain as one speeds down the road, so I guess it's better to be safe.


In the meantime, the weather is getting better — although we just got hit with a six-inch snowstorm here in Maine — and, thank goodness, I'm finally able to start shedding some of those extra layers of clothing. I only hope that this loneliness ends soon.


Superstitious? Me?


You are already aware of my aversion when it comes to getting my bikes dirty. If the weather becomes crappy while out riding, so be it. I just don't go looking for trouble. Today, I thought I'd share with you another one of my quirky behaviors.


Like many athletes, if I can be called one, I have two little habits, or rituals, that I perform at the start of each ride. I don't know why, but I guess I'm hoping it brings me good karma. You know, warding off flat tires, any mechanical issues, and, certainly, no encounters with big-bad motor vehicles.


Here's what I do, but please don't laugh too loudly. As I'm rolling down my driveway or anywhere for that matter, I tap my handlebars three times and then I peer down at both of my wheel axles. I totally understand it sounds weird, but I've been doing it for nearly 20 years.


Anyway, get on that bicycle and stay safe.

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