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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The 3 underlying premises to this blog

Premise 1: bicycling as a lifestyle

I do not regard riding a bicycle as a "sport."  I regard it as a lifestyle.  For purposes of this blog that is a very important distinction.

The sports bicyclist.  Ride along the coast on any Saturday morning; you'll see hundreds of them.  They ride very fast, rather expensive bikes.  These sports bicyclists also tend to dress "funny," that is they wear spandex and lots of it.  In bright colors.  They tend to have athletic builds and they enjoy riding in groups... pace groups or what have you.  They are very healthy, very visible, very fast, very competitive.

This, to say the least, does not describe how I ride.

Please note that I do not denigrate, belittle, mock, dismiss, chastise, etc. etc. etc. people who ride for sport.  They are often wonderfully friendly people doing what they love to do best.  I admire their athleticism but I don't aspire to it... at least to the extent that I need to be a fast rider.  I am a strong rider albeit a slow one.  I differ from them purely philosophically... that's all.  Please refer to Premise 3.

The lifestyle bicyclist.  I am a lifestyle bicyclist.  I prefer a utilitarian bicycle (often referred to as a utility bike) which is useful for lifestyle chores like picking up groceries or getting a pizza or hauling steer manure from the local nursery. 

I ride a steel touring bicycle that I've outfitted with upright handlebars; thus, I ride in a relaxed normal sitting position.  That means I don't ride in a power position (hunched over enabling one to lean hard into the pedals for power).  I've also equipped the bike with front and rear racks and I haul stuff like camping gear, or groceries, or other various necessities.  Thus, I'm not very fast on a bicycle.  The sports bicyclists pass me all the time. 

I also make it a point of not wearing specialized clothing.  The only concessions I make to bicycle clothing are a helmet and gloves (the hands are the body part most liable to injury; in the event of a fall we protect ourselves by fending off injury with our hands.)  When I hop off the bike and remove the helmet and gloves I am appropriately attired for any informal occasion.

I spend a lot of time in the saddle.  I commute to work; I ride to the store, to the bank, to the post office.  I ride to campgrounds or along the various beaches here in San Diego County.  I don't do power-anything; I meander.  I enjoy my rides and I'm in no hurry.  I'm also very healthy and much, much happier now that I've adopted my relaxed form of riding as an integral part of my lifestyle.  But that's just me.

Another observation: if you aspire to being a a sports rider but are in so-so health, it will be tough... resulting in a high probability that you'll give it up.  If on the other hand you adopt my utilitarian style of riding the chances are far greater that this is something you will stick with.  Later if you decide to "move up" to sports riding, more power to you.  At least I'll have served as a useful example during your early progress.

Premise 2: the S240

I enjoy riding a bicycle for a variety of reasons.  I also enjoy camping, just not as much as I enjoy riding the bicycle.  Consequently when I combine camping with bicycle riding, I tend to favor what the Rivendell site refers to as S24O: sub 24 hour overnight camping.  To quote from that site (

"If you have to work for a living and don't have summers off, bike camping is easier to fit in, and the easiest way of all is with Sub-24 Hour Overnight (S24O) trips. You leave on your bike in the late afternoon or evening, ride to your campsite in a few hours, camp, sleep, and ride home the next morning. It's that simple, and that's the beauty of it. You can fit it in. It requires almost no planning or time commitment. ..."

I find this to be a beautifully succinct description of the type of camping I enjoy most.

Premise 3: philosophical differences should not enemies create

Sometimes internet forums are magnificently silly places where people say the most malicious things... all over simple disputes that can be resolved as easily as recognizing "we agree to disagree."

Similarly, opinionated blogs can invite vitriolic responses.  I hope by laying out the underlying premises to my blog I haven't engendered angry reactions.  The beauty of the blog is that no one has to agree with me.  I expect most folks to have their own take on various types of riders.  There are many I haven't mentioned: a whole new generation of BMX riders, mountain bike riders, "fixies," classic roadster riders, etc. etc. and a thousand etc.'s.

But let's compartmentalize: if you're into bicycling as a lifestyle... and you enjoy camping, especially S24O camping... then this is the blog for you!!

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let's talk about a few campgrounds.

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