Monday, October 11, 2010

Footses, Wheelses

For several years I've seen someone who gets to work by inline skates. I see him mostly in winter, when I'm out early-walking on a local "greenway" (which mostly looks black in the dark, at least to me).

This guy makes me seem sane.

I have to thank him for that. His skill in that department is rare to non-existent. Except for him, I guess. He has either natural talent (reasonable) or has been secretly watching me and practicing (even I am not crazy enough to think this -- how about you?).

When I see him he has a light on top of his helmet. I like this part.

He wears a helmet to skate to work. With a light on top.

He has elbow pads and knee pads, and two poles. And some blinkers, blinking LED-ishly. He leans and pushes in a skaterly way, the way skaters skate, and then also shoves with his poles.

He has poles. Two.

He's a good shover. Muscular. Manly. Energetic. I marvel.

At times he passes me on his bike. He also rides a bike, one of those things with knobby tires. Buzzzz.

I used to have one of those, too.

He always says hello. Nice guy, probably, for someone who is nuts.

I have to admire him. He gets his exercise.

I used to ride bikes. I don't really miss it, though it used to be my whole life.

My entire, whole life.

There was a time when I thought of 60 miles (100 km) as a short ride, and 30 miles as hardly worth the bother. One day I especially remember, and am still proud of. At least I remember the beginning and the end of it.

I pushed off from my doorstep one morning and 90 miles later (145 km) I touched ground again, at home, and not in between. Not once. In the vague middle I obeyed all traffic laws, except for doing a few cautious "rolling stops", though this worked because there was no traffic at any stop sign.

Life turns over, and over again, and with every phase of it you leave some things and take up others, and so I have left bicycling to return to walking. And so it goes.

But for those who are loonier than I am, and have money to spend, there are options.

Me, I quit my last job over five years ago, after deciding that I'd rather die than keep working there. It's like a sort of psychotic integrity. I'm not proud of it or anything -- that's just the way it is. I stand by that decision. Maybe you don't work that way but I do.

I had plans then, but never got around to them.

One of the problems with being good at living within your means, and with saving money, is that when you find out that you can get by if you are very, very careful, you do.

So now I'm an old and useless fart, and no longer any good for anything to anyone, even in theory, and planning on rolling over again soon by moving out of North America to the second poorest country in this hemisphere and seeing what happens next, because although I don't have a bunch of money I have enough to live there for a long time and what the hell I'm going to die anyway, soon enough, so go screw yourself.

And for some other reasons.

But there is still a lot of craziness in the air, and you can be part of it, yes. You. You still have options, and ambitions, so.

You, too, can become a Footbike aficionado.


Gary Schmitt says, "I have used this scooter for three years. I use it to commute to work, about eight miles each way, and it takes about 35 to 45 minutes. It gives an all-around workout much like cross-country skiing. It works the core, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, and arms..."

Go forth and scoot, Bub, or Gary. I'm busy walking, but good on ya.




Footbike Training (Jean-Charles à l'entraînement, sur une kickbike race-max modifiée, etc., via YouTube.)

In case you were wondering about my chops, I haven't got any, though in 1987 I did RAMROD (154 miles and so on) and the following year did STP (196 miles) in one day. Thirteen hours and 21 minutes, against headwinds, with at least four hours of rain, wearing a short-sleeved jersey, bicycling shorts, and only knee warmers as extra protection. Seeing lots of people drop out with hypothermia, being able to shift only by banging my whole hand against the shift levers (fingers being out of commission). Had I gotten a flat I might have died but I made it anyway, so poop on you.