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« In the Dumpster of Life | Main | Steve Bilenky Fuso Tribute Frame »

I love to ride my bike

I love to ride my bike, but for some reason hate getting ready to ride my bike. It seems to take me on average about 45 minutes, half an hour if I rush; from the time I decide to go for a ride, to actually walking out the door with my bike.

If I procrastinate over getting out for a ride, it is never over actually riding, but because of this chore of getting ready. How long does it take to throw on a jersey and a pair of shorts, you may ask? 

The first thing I do is pump the tires up, check for cuts, and give the bike a quick look over. Then fill two large water bottles with filtered tap water, and place them on the bike.

Then I get dressed, shorts, jersey, socks, that is relatively easy. I don’t put my shoes on until the last minute otherwise I am likely to slip on the kitchen or bathroom floor and fall on my arse.

I have done this on a few occasions, hurting nothing but my pride, but the thought that I could do myself serious injury makes me cautious.

Next I stuff my pockets. A multi Allen wrench, wrapped in a shop towel, and a hard plastic case which houses my cell phone. It is actually a plastic traveling soap case that I found at Target; it keeps the cell phone dry and protects it if I should fall. This is most likely when I would need a cell phone, and a broken one would not be much use.

I used to carry my wallet, until I read in the local paper that a man got robbed on the bike path I ride on, so now I just carry a photo copy of my driver’s license as ID, with relevant phone numbers written on it. If I were intending to go on a long ride, I would take some cash or a debit card.

I often take a banana with me, just in case I decide to ride a few extra miles. I think bananas are the ideal cyclist’s food. The perfect size and shape to fit in the back pocket, and the skin is nature’s own wrapper that is biodegradable.

Can it be I am almost ready, put my helmet on. No, wait I have to change my glasses, I have a special prescription pair for riding, with clip on sun glasses. Invariably they are covered in sweat from my last ride; I go to find the lens cleaner. Will I ever get out of here?

Okay, sun glasses on, can’t see a bloody thing; stumble to the bathroom. For some reason I can’t put a helmet on without the aid of a mirror.

Gloves and shoes on, am I finally ready? I know I am forgetting something; my bike is in one hand and the other is on the door knob. I stand there and do a mental check.

Sunscreen.....I forgot the fucking sunscreen. Off come the gloves, helmet and glasses; Go find the sports spray, quick once over on my arms and legs, that doesn’t take long. However, I can’t use it on my face as it says to keep away from the eyes.

Back into the bathroom, almost slip and fall on my arse, ‘cos now I’m wearing my cycling shoes with the cleats and hard plastic soles. Squeeze some different sunscreen from a tube and apply to my face, ears and the back of my neck.

Glasses, helmet and gloves back on, pick up my door key. Look up at the clock; forty-five minutes, just like I told you. Step outside and the heat and humidity hit me. I feel like I have just stepped into a bowl of hot cream of mushroom soup.

The summers here in South Carolina are brutally hot; it is important I get out as early as possible. Afternoon temps get to 90F or a 100F (32C to 38C) with the humidity anywhere from 80 to a 100%. Anyone who says you don’t need special clothes to ride a bike are welcome to do so. Not me if I’m riding more than an hour.

I look down at the bike, it needs a clean. Did I tell you, I also hate cleaning the bike, but I love to ride my bike


Reader Comments (20)

I know exactly what you mean


June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Lamb

Very humorous and very true. I avoid the whole sunscreen problem by riding at 6am (I feel your pain on the mid-day heat and humidity as I live in central Florida).

I also wear prescription glasses and have had a less-than-successful time finding a suitable pair of glasses/sunglasses. I thought about getting a pair of prescription sunglasses but then if I'm riding my bike to somewhere I'd rather have the non-sunglass lenses when I get off. Are you using any particular style for riding or just an older pair of regular glasses with clip-on sunglasses?

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterToddBS

I try to do as much as I can the night before - cycling kit is usually out & ready.

If I'm swapping my commuting wheels for the Sunday ride wheels, I usually do that & the cassette swap the night before, as well as putting my SPD-SL (as opposed to the SPD pedals I commute on) on the bike.

In the morning, I'm generally just filling bidons, grabbing a handful of jelly babies, and then I'm off. It helps that if I'm not out before everyone else is awake, I may not get to ride, so that focusses the mind!

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn the Monkey

Dave, don't forget that last dash to the bathroom, wearing bib shorts and jersey with loaded pockets. It never fails with my nervous stomach.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Did that routine (or most of it) Sunday morning. It IS frustrating at times. Especially when I end up riding 30 minutes less than I wanted to because I ran out of time.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdb

I know exactly what you mean. I've actually built a little station by the back door. It has a wall-mounted hat rack for helmets, hats, etc. Underneath is a bench with 3 baskets. One holds shoes, one holds gloves, glasses, winter stuff. Those slide underneath. On top is a cushion for shoe changing, my duffel for when I am traveling afar, and a small basket for buffs, do-rags, etc.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

When it's hot, I keep filled, insulated water bottles in fridge. In my rush to get out the door, which like yours takes 30-45 minutes, I often forget them. Argh.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter331miles

I have the same exact problem. My favorite head-smack moment has to be the moment when I climb aboard my bike, everything ready to go, and I look down at the Garmin GPS device and realize I forgot my heart rate chest monitor.

Back inside to remove the crap from my jersey, then remove my jersey and bib shorts then search frantically for the heart rate monitor. Argh!

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

"ALL my cycling is done prior to NOON as 'SUN Fun Myrtle Beach, S.C.!' is indeed HOT during the Summer!"
Regarding drink containers -
THERMOS (SS) 'Briefcase Bottle' 17oz. (at Wal-Mart) held within an insulated foam (drink can) wrap is the ONLY product that keeps 'Hot product Hot or Cold liquids Cold' during a typical ride.
Finally a product that is WAY COOL by intent! :-)

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam R. Walling

You wrote the story of my current life! But I'm always fiddling with the mirror (attached to my glasses) at the last minute--until it falls off and I waste 5 minutes hunting for it in the bushes.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrockin2k

I have been fiddling around all morning, most recently killing time looking at cycling blogs, feeling worse and worse about not getting out for a ride, thinking, I hate getting ready, especially the cold chamois butt'r part, and now it's a quarter to one, and I click into I Love To Ride My Bike, which hits the nail right squarely on the head.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob Bowes

...all of that and then I realize I've left the house/car keys in the unlocked vehicle now parked in a public place and I don't have my earbuds in and I can't see my smartphone to set my music because I can't read it without my prescription glasses which are now packed in my seat bag. But, hell yeah, I do love to ride! :)

- Zeke

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZeke

I'm suppossed to be getting ready for an evening ride, but here I sit reading.... and posting. When I was younger, I could juggle multiple balls, but now, it's more like one task at a time...and I always tend to forget one of those tasks.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaltese Falcon

Assuming my wife didn't hide my bike shorts after washing them, the sunscreening is definitely the messiest and most time-consuming procedure for me. Next is transferring everything I may need from my pants pockets to the little handlebar-mounted bag I use (cellphone, wallet, asthma puffer, etc.). I'm also a sandals wearer, and I've been known to get ready to hop on the bike after going down the elevator seven floors, and realizing that I absent-mindedly put on my regular sandals instead of my cycling ones, or that I forgot my sunglasses or my water bottle.

Oddly enough, when I was much younger, I just hopped on my road bike wearing whatever casual clothing and shoes I was already wearing, I enjoyed the sun's rays unprotected on my bare head, and I had just as much fun on the bike. I don't know exactly when getting ready for a ride became so complicated. It just did.

June 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPierre

Commuting forces me to get ready the night before - tires pumped, water bottle filled, riding clothes laid out, work clothes and lunch packed, etc.

Summer weather here in the Seattle is perfect. Cool mornings, warm afternoons, no humidity, blue skies, puffy white clouds - for weeks on end. Of course, we pay for it in the winter - wet and damp for weeks on end. Still, a great place to live and ride.

I think I'm more organized to keep riding then any other aspect of my life. Kind of says something there - I guess.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDan O

It's good to hear that other folks take far longer than would seem necessary to get out the door for a bike ride. I thought it was just me.
In the winter it takes even longer. I often feel like I'm suiting up for a space walk.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbaumann

Hi Dave,
I've been commuting for many years and I also ride road and dirt for two or three hours after getting home three to four days a week. I just have a routine like others who plan the night before. Filled bottles, clothes, shoes etc.. all laid out for the ride. I also spend twenty to thirty minutes stretching. It really helps me both before and after the ride. Finally, I go over my mental list to try not to forget something. Great post! Thanks.

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Too funny...too true. Great post.

July 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Very funny post Dave....mostly because I can relate to it so much. I love to ride and ride everyday. But sometimes I can kill a whole morning just contemplating about the process of getting ready. Also, I used to have just one bike that I never got around to cleaning, now I have five bikes I never find the time to clean. It's overwhelming.

July 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

For my 50 mile ride today, around Los Angeles, I wasn't able to get out the door until 4 p.m. No particular reason, just procrastinating.

July 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Wyman
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