Friday, September 15, 2023

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question

Peter Sanderson and Steve Williams, who are dear friends and fellow bloggers, are rethinking their blogs. Peter has already discontinued his blog, and Steve revealed in a post I recently read that he is considering whether to do the same.

I mentioned in a comment I posted on Steve's long-standing Scooter in the Sticks blog that my blog is now really more my journal than anything else. Not only do I like to document things I do that give my life meaning, I also have come to appreciate the ability to revisit my past by going back to older posts. This blog keeps an important part of my past present for me.

Recording my daily life as a journal is not really why or how this blog started.

In the many months preceding the purchase of my first Vespa, I was doing research, and gathering information.

Steve's blog Scooter in the Sticks was an important source of the information I needed. Once the Vespa was a done deal, I decided to start this blog to return the favour by posting the lessons I learned on Vespa commuting, so that others who might contemplate doing the same would have yet another source of information and support. It was returning a favour, helping others in this same way I received help others who shared their insights that helped me  

Now the blog is more about me, about my life. A place where I can share my thoughts and experiences.

In the beginning I knew no one was reading.

When, over time, an audience formed, it was a little unexpected. I am blessed, because my blog led me to make some very dear friends, Peter and Steve among them.

My favourite photo of my Vespa and I was taken by Steve in the Pennsylvania sticks that gave his blog its name.

Now my audience has shrunk, I think. In truth I don't really follow my blog's statistics any more. 

All of which to say, this blog is here to stay. At least for the foreseeable future.

Monday, September 11, 2023

A break

Is it because I bought a leather saddle that needs to be broken in?

Is it because we will be taking a break vacationing in Spain this fall?

Is it because I was a little stressed-out in the days leading up to a half-day course I had to teach solo to a class of thirty or so colleagues on records management? 

It's hard to say.

Why would I stress out on giving a lecture when I literally wrote the book?

What's certain is that my body got itself into a funk that has required that I take a break. A break from my morning exercises, trading time in the saddle for time with Melina, our brilliant physiotherapist. The clock is ticking, as it always does, and I need to take this break, fix what needs fixing, and get back in the saddle.

I am closer to that this morning that at any time since the early days of this month, when my right leg went AWOL.

That's deeply ironic, because it's my left leg that has had issues, never my right. No massive skiing sprains, no dumb idiotic blows to my kneecap... my right leg has always been fine. Until it wasn't.

Melina showed me all the leg muscles on a cool application on her phone. They are the largest most formidable muscles on our bodies. They are all focused on our knee. Go figure. It seems that in the week or so before my right leg called riding quits, I was being, shall we say, a tad competitive. Resisting quiet relaxing contemplative rides, in favour of challenging myself on the uphill stretches. Can I do this hill at the same speed and pace as the level ground that precedes it?  And there I was, all hill long, focused on my cadence, feeling myself pull on the handlebars, breathing getting obvious... and YES!! I did it, WOW!

What did I do exactly?

It seems I antagonized the right leg muscle union, and the union called an unceremonious halt to the festivities. No more riding for you buddy.

And that's how my left leg muscles and I now find ourselves in mandatory mediation. Melina is the mediator. She gets the muscles' gripes. She gets mine. For a person who is much smaller than I am, she can sure work my leg muscles into submission in short order while we chat about stuff, interspersed by the occasional gasp, yelp or moan... on my part of course. Melina takes it all in stride with a smile, a dig, a pull, push, and stretch. Slowly, methodically, coaxing my right leg muscles into submission.

Thank heavens, it seems to be working.

Lesson learned (I hope).

Friday, September 1, 2023

My new Brooks saddle

 I have been a good boy.

My Brompton has been a good bike.

My Brompton and I have accomplished more than I expected when we were first introduced, hombre a bicicleta. If that sounds weird, please take into consideration that in three weeks' time Susan and I will be on the Costa del Sol...  practice is warranted. 

I felt like it was time to mark our - bicicleta's and my - considerable accomplishments, so I splurged on our new Brooks B-17 Special saddle. What makes it special are the hand-hammered copper rivets.

I hope my Brompton likes it. It matches her Ergon grips.

They say it takes roughly 250 kilometres or maybe six months to break in a Brooks. It's hard to say anything about time, because it's the actual riding that counts. I'm doing, conservatively, 8 kilometres each day I ride, so 250 kilometres is just over 30 days. I generally ride on weekdays, so in time, that's 6 weeks from this coming Tuesday. 9 weeks taking into account our - Susan's and my - Spanish adventure.

I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. And whether I'll ultimately be happy with our - bicicleta's and my - treat.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.