Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mack Daddy-Oh

Big Guy’s Road To Recovery Checklist:
Complete Physical Therapy – Check
Get Doctor’s OK to resume riding – Check
Get back out on the road bike – Check
Complete a ride of over 50 miles – Check
Get back out on the mountain bike – Um, not quite yet (but soon)
Complete a ride of over 100 miles – Scheduled for October 14th
Get back out on the tandem with Mrs. Guy – Did that one today!!!

It had been a while since I was out on the tandem with Mrs. Guy. I’m not sure, but I think our last ride was back in February or March. I’ve been, well, not really up to captaining the bike since sometime in April, and though I likely could have done it earlier in August, I couldn’t actually get to the bike itself. It’s rather heavy, and has been hanging from a couple of hooks in the basement since our last ride. Neither of us had the strength to get it down until I got enough back just in the last week or two. Then it was just a matter of timing and weather. Today was a beautiful day, and we cleared the late afternoon schedule.

We’ve only had the tandem for about 18 months now, and Mrs. Guy doesn’t feel that she is quite ready for being out on the open road with traffic quite yet (the exception being The Boulevard), so today we decided on the Third Creek Bicycle Trail, which is one of the oldest greenway-type trails in Knoxville. When Mrs. Guy was in Vet School at UT, she lived in the student housing apartments that backed up to the trail, so I got to use it some even way back then.

We parked at the former site of the Bi-Lo supermarket (now an empty building) at the western end of the trail and got set to go. We almost got started without incident, but the bike slipped out of Mrs. Guy’s hand while she was trying to put on her gloves and we got a new paint ding on the car. Goes well with all the other door dings, I said, but she was upset that it happened anyway. C’est la vie, I reckon. No big deal to me, seeing as nobody got hurt.

We started out and I got to spend the first few moments nervously refamiliarizing myself with the intricacies of handling a bike with two passengers and a super-long wheel base. Tandems handle like Mack Trucks (and yes, I have driven a Mack once before). Still, I didn’t run us into anything or anyone, so I guess it worked out okay.

Riding on the trail itself I was surprised by how many other cyclists out there were sans helmet. I announced each such sighting to Mrs. Guy as “organ donor up”. I, folks, am the poster child, er, adult, for helmet use. I’ve busted two helmets in my day, the most recent one while riding at very low speed. You don’t have to be speeding along to fall and crack your head on the ground. Low speed cruising will do just fine to cause severe injury or death. The most egregious example was the dad and two sons out riding; both sons with helmets, dad without. Setting a great example there wasn’t he?

We rode the 4.5 miles down to the UT Trial Gardens by the Vet School. They’ve really made it into a very nice park-like area in the past few years, so we stopped to give Mrs. Guy’s butt a little bit of a break (she’s not much used to the saddle right now) and to see what was new. We could have continued on to the waterfront area closer to downtown, but they are holding “Boomsday” in Knoxville this weekend, and we didn’t want to get into that crowd.

What is “Boomsday”? Well, most cities, if they are going to splurge on a huge fireworks display once a year, with shoot off half of the city’s budget’s worth in incendiary devices on the 4th of July. Not so with Knoxville. We choose to do it for Labor Day instead. Maybe we get a price break for doing it then instead of the 4th? I don’t know, but it’s a really huge draw to the riverfront area of downtown, even to the point of becoming a three day festival down there, and maneuvering the “Mack” through a swarm of sweaty humanity didn’t seem like a great idea.

Instead, we turned around and headed back to the ex-Bi-Lo, passing all manner of helmet-less cyclists and just about getting run into by a kid not watching where he was going (but instead had his head turned completely around and was intently staring at some jogger’s butt – I must admit that she did have a nice butt). “Heads up, Buddy!” was enough to get his eyes back toward the direction his bike was traveling. “Wha-“, he said as we went by.

Now nine miles total might not seem like a lot of riding today, but that’s about the limit of Mrs. Guy’s comfort on the saddle right now, and I don’t want to push the boundary of that envelope – nobody wins. We had a very nice ride on a very nice afternoon in very nice weather, and I’m happy that is what she’ll remember when it comes time to ride again (and not that I made her ride too far and got her sore). So we put the bike back on the car while talking with some folks who were just getting ready to ride (and who just happened to live in our neighborhood – they recognized our car).

So that one gets checked off the list. I’m getting there. Slowly but surely, I’m coming back. And today I got to bring Mrs. Guy along for the ride. What could be better than that?

BTW - the tandem's new name is "Mack Daddy-Oh" (decided on today), hence the title of today's post.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Sounds like a nice ride.