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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Road Hazards

 One of the great benefits of biking, as opposed to running or swimming, is the amount of mental stimulation provided in addition to the grunting and groaning you get to do pumping your way up a two-mile incline.  For example, the only thing that gets my old heart beating faster than being pursued by a barking dog is the sensation that a large speeding truck is bearing down on me like a juggernaut of doom.  In between watching my life flash before my eyes, I can almost hear the calories burning.

Undergoing life-threatening stress, scientists tell us, is a more effective weight-loss technique than mere ab-crunches alone.  Actually, scientists do not tell us this.  They're keeping it a secret.  The bastards.

Naturally, I don't want to overdo a good thing, so I spend as much time on the sidewalk as possible.  This keeps me out of traffic, but sometimes necessitates a move that...  Well, envision the following tableau: Yours Truly pedaling down the sidewalk like a bald Lance Armstrong, only mu-u-uch slower and un-doped.  (Nothing flowing through these veins but red corpuscles and wholesome, life-giving gin.)  Along comes a pedestrian heading in the opposite direction.

Out of simple courtesy, I get off the sidewalk and onto the road at the first opportunity, giving right-of-way to the walker.  Sometimes, there is a driveway or declivity that makes this maneuver as painless as spreading soft butter on a biscuit; sometimes, however I must go directly over the curb, and this hurts in a way awkward to describe in a family-oriented blog.  Imagine, perhaps, two very ripe plums.  Italian Plums would work best, but Damson Plums will do.  Place these in an ordinary paper bag.  Drop an unabridged dictionary on the bag.  Now open it, and observe the result.

As I write this, it is still dark outside, a fine Saturday morning.  Soon I will be on my bike amid the dogs, trucks, and steep curbs.  My plums are all a-tingle with anticipation.

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