Sunday, March 27, 2011

On The Salutary Effects of a Bicycle Ride in the Springtime

Indian Bend Wash rocks for effect only, not ridden on with the fixed gear bicycle

Sunshine: check.
75F temperature: check.
Warm breezes, fresh air, flowers in full crazy bloom: check.
Ecstatic birds: check.
Stressed-out brain needing some fresh air and bicycle riding: double check.
Bicycle: check.

Lots of folks rode bicycles to the BBQ festival at Scottsdale Waterfront. Guilt-free pigging out!

By waiting until later in the day, and then just riding and riding in the fresh air and warm springtime sunshine, I got some of the rejuvenation and recreation that I needed. At one street corner, about five people sat on bicycles waiting for the light to change, and I just wanted to turn right and squeeze past them to continue on down the bike path. To do so, I had to brush by the flower boxes which were overflowing with fragrant blossoms of brilliant red, purple, pink and yellow. I felt their petals brush against my bare leg as I floated through the clouds of their delicious fragrance. It was windy out there, actually beyond breezy, but the warm air and flowers everywhere made me not care at all.

I always enjoy riding by and through this great public art in Scottsdale

For whatever reason, maybe a certain sum total of miles, or just being too mentally beat down to think about it too hard, stopping the fixed-gear by pushing backwards with my leg power suddenly made sense to my hamstrings and knees on this ride. CLICK!! I used the hand brakes very little. I'm not ever planning to take them off the bike, but now I get it, in the physical sense of muscles coordinating in the proper way to make some physical action possible. It's a great sensation: those thigh muscles are among the largest in the body, and when they go to work scrubbing off speed by offering resistance to the rear wheel via the chain, it feels like they are being used for a task appropriate to their form, as if converting kinetic energy from my forward motion on the bike into waste heat to slow me down is one of the things they are actually good at doing. They got me into the forward motion speed situation in the first place anyway, so spending the energy back the other way to slow down seems to balance the books a little.

Pima Freeway lizards along "The Path Most Traveled", along with a few of the billions of wildflowers in bloom

I was a new man after this outing. I rode out by the aluminum horsemen of the deluge, or "Water Mark", as they refer to the horse statues in Indian Bend Wash, to see if they were spouting water yet. I've been back several times since the monsoon storm last October when water was running in the wash, but the horses were dry. 

Water Mark horses shooting jets of water out of their mouths: no check.

Still disappointed today, as far as giant aluminum horse statue mouth fountains goes. Oh well, the flowers sung my way, and my thigh muscles figured out how to be brakes. Get up. Go ride.



  1. Still, if "checks" are totaled, you did pretty well.

  2. Having never ridden a fixed gear bike, but still curious, I found your description of "getting it" or "click-ing!", really interesting.

  3. BBQ festival? I wonder if there is any difference between Arizona BBQ and Texas BBQ?

  4. That fixie is looking good!
    Like you like me, still waiting on some spouting equines.

  5. That looks like a mighty fine fixie......Last time I rode one was in 1968.


  6. Steve, all totaled up, yep, good result.

    PaddyAnne, the fixie is something I just had to try, and I am pleased that I still have some "it just clicked" moments left in front of me.

    Rat Trap Press, while both states love some good BBQ, we more or less just steal the best types from around the country and enjoy them immensely. I like Honey Bears and Bill Johnsons Big Apple, locally. Check out some of the old time radio broadcasts Cowboy Bill used to do:

    limom, I feel a little bit like I'm waiting for The Great Pumpkin out there, looking at those giant horses.

    Trevor, that was also about the last time I road a fixed wheel. It had three wheels.


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