Like the majority of the people I know, I am working from home and have been since the middle of last month. For me, the only real adjustment was staying home five days a week, instead of the one day I was accustomed to. My commute to the office is 37 miles, one way, with $6.00 total tolls a day, so this is a time that I am enjoying. Other people I talk to, not so much appreciation for the isolation. Aside from not being able to work overtime, which I need to make my budget, there has been very little in terms of suffering for me. On the contrary, this time has been a blessing for me so far. I think I have communicated that here already.
I realize it’s not the same perspective for everyone. I may even be in the minority. Plenty are laid off, not being paid, stressed from financial worry or hunger or sickness. This is not an easy time, could get worse. Part of the whole difficulty is just plain not sure of what is in store for us or how much worse this whole situation will get. Life as we know it has changed, some components of change could be permanent.
Life for me really isn’t that different. This time of year, I am always waiting for the weather to change, am excited for the extra daylight each day. Every day without precipitation is a bike day for me and I love it. No one is making me stay away from riding. Nothing has changed in my two wheeled world. Adding to my bliss are the trail conditions at my favorite bike park — pristine trails nearly every day. Needless to say, I am feeling like I am ahead of schedule on the bike, riding faster and stronger than I usually am this time of year. A pig in s#@* has nothing on me. The bike I bought last year still feels new to me, mainly because last season was so wet, so discovering the joys of riding a carbon frame are adding to that bliss.
Speaking of that carbon frame, I experienced a very frightening event last Thursday while driving out to the trails. My son has been asking to ride with me, so I bought some new flat pedals and put them on my fat bike (the 9Zero7.. such a sweet ride). The fattie was stuffed in the back of my Subaru, my Salsa perched on my Yakima hitch rack. When I put the Salsa on the rack, I noticed that the swingarm felt ‘mushy’ as I swung it over the front wheel. Eager to get going and on our way, I didn’t pay it any mind. I should have. Driving at 70+ mph west on I-88, I looked in my rear view mirror just as the bike disappeared from sight.
Alarmed to the n’th degree, I must gasped so deeply that I sucked all of the air out of the inside of my car. My son had the same reaction. He has learned to appreciate the value of that Salsa bike, so he was just as scared as I was. I edged the car over to the left shoulder of the tollway, relieved to see in my side view mirror that the bike was laying flat on the bike rack. How much longer that would be the case, I didn’t know.
The swing arm had rusted through at the bottom, had broken an inch from the bottom. It didn’t break completely, so somehow it was still holding the front wheel. The strap on the rear wheel tray was still holding the rear wheel in place. I had been extremely lucky. Nervously, I removed the bike from the rack, started to put the bike on the rear of the rack, only to notice that the bracket for the rear wheel tray on that part of the rack was beginning to rust away. Unsure, I decided to try it there any way, leaned on the bike after it was secured, hoped the rear portion of the rack would not break. If it did, the result would be a very nice bike tumbling down the road behind my car.
We made it to the trails. My son followed me in without hesitation, rode to the back of the park with me, then asked me if it was OK if he rode on his own for a while. I understood. He wanted to explore and get comfortable on his own. So I gave him instructions on how to find the parking lot if he got lost (the road is THAT way — point that direction if you get lost). I took off, rode the park by myself for 90 minutes, met him at the parking lot, rode the front trail with him. It was a blast for the both of us. I have happily created a new mountain bike junkie.
The trails were packed with people, a lot of families getting out together. It’s been that way nearly every time I have been to the trails in the past month. I think it goes without saying that bikes are essential during this time, as are the outdoors and exercise. If anything positive is coming out of this time of quarantine (there are many positives), it’s that families and individuals are once again getting out together. This time could bring this culture back into a healthy perspective.
Oh.. and Yakima is staying true to their lifetime warranty on the bike rack. With little to no hassle, and with a very prompt response, they are replacing the rack. It was an expensive purchase, so I am very satisfied that I don’t have to buy another rack!