“New” Cycling and How That Applies to Life…

I decided to post today’s pithy thoughts to my blog, since it’s been an age and then some since I’ve updated. It’s been nearly 30 years since I rode a bicycle that was not considered a “performance” bike, complete with clips (For those ‘old school’ among our audience, these are clips that the bottoms of my biking shoes snap into to secure my feet to the pedals. This is to enable you to not only push down on a stroke, but to also pull UP, thus increasing your drive on the bike.).

So…nearly 30 years since I’ve been on a bike that does not secure my feet to the pedals. For most of you, you are left wondering…well, what’s the big deal, Pol? I’ll tell you. There are actually two things:

  1. Nearly 30 years of cycling in a manner that enables action on the downstroke AND upstroke gives you a different style of pedaling.
  2. The last year since the back surgery, since waking up to have one foot/lower leg that has not regained sensation and/or 100% motor control, means that I have relied upon that toe clip to keep the “floppy leg” in position, and to have it still be a contributing member of the team.

Since I no longer have the time to do the kind of riding I used to on this bike:

My trusty Trek, with more than 3,000 miles on its frame.

Since my rides on this bike usually meant “get on, go fast, get off,” that precluded leisurely rides with my sweetie. Times, and demands, have changed. I no longer enter Century rides for charity (lack of time), and it’s lonely doing those “get on, go fast, get off” rides without my sweetie.

Thus we decided that it was time the nice road bike went on its way and in its place we welcome this new set of wheels:

New wheels.

It’s a sweet little bike, nice action, smooth Shimano gears. It’s a sort of baby mountain bike/road bike. Just what we want for leisurely weekend rides and/or camping trips with some light trail riding.

I took delivery of the new wheels yesterday. After a happy evening spent tinkering and adjusting, I took it for its first ride today. Things that I learned:

  1. The aforementioned floppy leg does not do so well just sitting upon pedals. I can push down, but there’s no pull up. When I pull up, lo and behold, the…wait for it…FOOT COMES OFF THE PEDAL! How very odd!
  2. When #1 happens, the result is that unless I take my eyes off of the road to lift and place my left foot into place (I can’t feel in that leg/foot, remember, so cannot do it by ‘feel’), said floppy foot/leg ends up kind of wonky on the pedal. The result? Floppy foot falls off said pedal, twists the attached ankle (which is okay, as I can’t feel when that happens, but I end up with no forward motion as I am not, in fact, actually propelling the bike anywhere!

The other, and far more prosaic, thing that I learned this afternoon is that I do not know how to NOT “get on, go fast, get off.” The idea of a “leisurely ride” seems to be a bit beyond my ken.

I got on, raced off, and then thought…um…now what? I raced over to my first destination (lunch), then raced over to Starbucks where I drank tea and graded papers. Then I hopped on again to run my errands. Halfway to my destination I realized that…I didn’t really have to go so fast. I could, in fact, go…slowly.

I could even take a moment and look around. Enjoy the lovely day. See who else was out and about.

What an odd thing to do; ride a bike, look around, and enjoy the scenery.


Wonder if anyone else has discovered this?

I may have to try this again sometime.

In the meanwhile, I’ll sit here grading papers, watching football, mentally packing for my trip next week, with a little corner of my brain dedicated to working out plot points on the next book, and another to considering what it is I will make for dinner. After all, one can’t rush into this whole “leisurely” thing.

Tonight: Football and fiction, maybe some pizza


Still a Cliché

So, once again I am a cliché. I’m sitting in Starbucks writing. No, not a screenplay, much to the chagrin of my script-writing partner, but she’ll recover, I’m sure.

No…I am writing fanfic. I cannot break myself away from the stuff. I primarily write Stargate SG-1 fanfic (of the hetero nature) and just love it. I have a long-running series that seems to be quite popular, which is somewhat gratifying. It’s quite nice, actually. When I’m having a down day and need a little pick-me-up, I take an hour or two, write 3,000 or so words, and post a new chapter of the long-running story.

Sometimes I’ll write a short piece. But in the end, the result is the same.

I post. People write back and tell me they love it (and, by extension, me).

What a cool thing.

Instant warm-fuzzies when you need them!

Now, really, I do it to tell a story, but secretly, a part of me posts just ’cause I get that nifty feedback thing going on. Can’t beat that.

Some have emailed and asked how the doctoral program is coming, since I started this blog primarily to document that process. Well, almost everyone has taken and passed their “comprehensive exams,” or as we liked to call them, “two weekends from hell.”

A few more are making up work and/or retaking, but I am certain we’ll all get through.

Four of our 21 have passed their proposal hearing and have officially “advanced to candidacy,” which means they can go ahead and begin researching. My proposal hearing was originally scheduled for 5/26, but as many of you know that was the day we lost Richie. Then I was moved to the 14th of June…Flag Day. While that would have been awesome, Richie’s passing put me further behind, so now we’re at June 23rd at 10:30 pm.

Last semester was not difficult from a class perspective, but was killer from a professorial standpoint. No more 21-unit teaching loads for me until I am finished with this dissertation. No way.

On the plus side, we got to see one of our group’s husband (who’s in the K-12 cohort ahead of us) graduate and boy did he look SPIFFY in his new robes! Awe. Some.

Cannot wait.

Truthfully, I’m only taking the doctoral program for the floppy hat. That’s what it’s all about, I’m sure.

Okay, time for me to get back to these darned research questions. What exactly is it that I wanted to know? Huh…no idea!

Tonight: Canucks are gonna kick ass on the Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs! Oh yeah, baby.

Dreams and Dreamers

Charlie (the wonder dog) pondering his next spate of prose.

Charlie (the wonder dog) pondering his next spate of prose.

Peter Bogdanovich hired me yesterday, as his assistant. I was sitting in Starbucks writing the best Stargate Atlantis script that will ever be seen when he and some other man sat at the table next to me and began spinning a story. I could see that neither of them were taking notes, so I quietly began jotting things down. First Peter, then the guy, then Peter…the synergy was amazing. At one point Peter looked up and said to his companion, “Hey, someone should be writing this stuff down, it’s great! I shyly chimed in, “Well, sir, I have been.” Peter leaned over and reviewed my copious notes, examining how beautifully formatted and accurate my notes were. He sat back in his chair, signaled for the Barista to bring us all another round and exclaimed, “Now you’re exactly what I need in a writer’s assistant! You’re hired!”

Then I woke up.

Honestly, I don’t even know that I’ve seen one of his movies. In fact, thinking about it, when I looked up his name in Google this evening, the face staring back at me wasn’t the face of the man at Starbucks. I don’t even know who it was who hired me! Granted, I could sit next to someone exceptionally famous and not know it was “them,” until much later, but…whatever.

Well, that’s not true. We, my sweetie and I…who we’ll call MK…saw Pierce Brosnan in Kauai two years ago. He was being seated at a restaurant not far from his home (swear I’m not a stalker, I just happen to know that). Let me tell you what. That man, in person, is just plain breathtaking. Woe betide the casting director he chats with. The man is, simply, dangerous. We were breathless. Honestly, without breath. Whew, Pierce is charisma personified.

So, other than my brush with someone who may or may not have been Peter Bogdanovich hiring me at Starbucks, today was a day of ticking things off of our list in preparation for the wedding next week. Oh happy day, indeed.

Tonight: Mamma Mia (the film) with friends. Brava.