Monday, November 15, 2010

Midlife Crashes

I recently ditched my burly cross-country bike in favor of the sleek street bicycle pictured above. I figured since it had been years since I actually did any riding in the woods, the extra weight and money that went into maintaining a bike built for off-road use, while only using it on the road, no longer made sense. So the last time I brought it in for repairs, I told the saleskid to keep it and give me something more appropriate for how I ride.  He was more than happy to oblige and set me up with a nice commuter bike.

I love my new bike. Its lightweight design, streamlined tires, and extra gears have actually shaved nearly ten minutes off my daily ride. Plus it’s much more comfortable to ride and easier to maintain. I couldn’t figure out why it took me so long to ditch the old dinosaur I had been lumbering to work on. It had no sentimental value, or even much cash value for that matter. It weighed a ton, required constant repairs, and forced me to work much harder to get where I was going.  Buying a new bike seemed like the reasonable and responsible thing to do. So I did.

But I soon I realized that buying that bike was also symbolic of where I am in life. I’ll be forty next month, and apparently at the age where things like comfort and stability override recklessness and daring.  My new bike shows that I‘m readying myself for the quiet years where I won’t feel the need for adventure or risk taking.  I’ll be choosing paths that get me where I’m going safely and smoothly with minimal effort.  My new bike will remind me that life is bumpy enough without seeking out obstacles to overcome. My new bike says that I'm going to be forty and its time to grow up.

Faced with such knowledge and insight, there was only one reasonable thing I could do…

Yes that was me, last Sunday on my new mountain bike, going off a jump and hitting a tree. If life really is downhill from here, I might as well have a bike designed to handle it!

NOTE: Video footage courtesy of Greg D's helmet cam. He cleverly titled the clip "Mike (meets) Wood"


  1. Mike enjoy the woods. The off-road will make it easier for you to climb those hills home. The new road bike with the skinny tires will get you ready to ride the Connecticut Challenge this year. Enjoy!
    Uncle Mark

  2. I wonder if "Funky Monkey" is still around....

  3. omg. one of the things I love best about you is how willing you are to make a fool of yourself (yes, you are). And, just an fyi, for me my 40's (ahem) have brought on some new exciting challenges... i've pushed myself in ways now I never would have as a younger person. Don't get me wrong, I'd still rather be young, but only if I could drag back the wisdom and slightly larger balls that I have now. (funny, I just did a blog post on fearfulness too). :)

  4. Oh Mike, you have a ridiculously redeemeing and contagious charm....thanks for the laugh.

  5. Mark, if only I was as skinny as my tires!

    Joanna, you probably heard that from someone who is over 50, like my father in law...

    Speaking of whom, Dave, keep that monkey away from me! We got our own little monket running around at home

    Gae, your balls are bigger than mine (meant as a compliment to you, and not a relection on the size of my balls)

    And anonymous, happy to oblige! Thanks for reading