Saturday, August 05, 2006

Not all aspects of getting out & exploring are what one might call sexy, exactly.

Today I spent around an hour of wheel-spinning time out on the bike, and it can be fun rambling on at length about that part.

But then I kicked myself for not having gotten around to basic bike maintenance lately. So I headed out to The Bike Rack and picked up the degreasing fluid I always forget when I'm there (because degreaser isn't as cool as new bar ends), then I came back and spent a while degreasing and oiling the drive train.

In no way can this be considered fun, although there's a certain geek fascination to such processes.

I also had to plot out my route for tomorrow's trip. This sort of thing is probably only interesting to map geeks such as m'self. As I'm 20 miles away from breaking the 500-mile mark on my new bike, and I didn't put in the 30 miles I'd planned this morning, I'm leaning toward something like taking Longleaf from Bassfield to Sumrall and back.

Then there's digging up food to take along, cleaning the Camelbak, mounting the bike rack on the Sentra (and covering it in plastic, so it won't be soaked in the morning from tonight's rain), and putting gear together in general.

It's not actually necessary to make a lot of fuss about all these details for most people on most trips. But as my bad memory is the stuff of local legend, and I plan to ride solo in the morning, I try to be a little extra fanatical. That way I only need to worry about getting up & conscious in the morning before starting the drive to Longleaf.

In fact, much of this isn't strictly necessary for the kind of half-day touring I do during the summer heat. One could get away with carrying only a bike, some water, and a credit card.

Even most of the bike maintenance can technically be skipped, as well as they make bike components these days. My usual riding partner's idea of maintenance mainly consists of airing up the tires every 20 riding miles and periodically spraying some WD-40 on the drive train.

He also routinely tells me I don't travel light enough, while depending on me to carry the extra load. Of course, 25 miles is the most I've seen him ride, as his mountain bike isn't much pleasure to ride after a while. So to me it seems natural that I'd be more likely to think in terms of riding off into the sunset.

Simple fact is that different people ride differently. I, for one, focus on a zillion details between rides, then figure I'm good even if WWIII breaks out while I'm on the ride.

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