It’s spring, when thoughts turn to love and cars. Fondly I recall my first new car, a 1974 Toyota Corolla. I was so green I didn’t know you could negotiate the cost so I paid the full sticker price. I went in to pick it up tried to haggle with the salesman and he said, “You can’t do that.”
“Oh, OK” What did I know about the world?
Imagine $4,300.00 for a new car. It thrilled to drive it off the lot and if I lurched about trying to learn to drive a stick, that excited too.
It was the perfect car to drive about the Midwest for rugby matches, including the Ohio Under 23 select side match against Michigan. I drove with “Moose” and we won the game, on the
way home my mileage was way down and I was sure my car new car was failing. Imagine my relief when I discovered Moose’s bulk cost me six miles per gallon.
Now I dream of a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Corvette, but somehow I don’t think they’ll thrill like a Grey Toyota with a motor smaller than Harley Hog.
I’d love to hear about your first car.
We had such good comments, that I invite you to share a picture if you have it…
The winter has been long here, long and bitterly cold. Today I went for a bike ride through the park nearby, where just a day or two ago the snow rendered it impassable.
The landscape was grim and brown, trampled down under the weight of the heavy winter. But as I rolled along the rutted path I heard singing. It was a red-winged black bird. Not so pretty, some might say a junk bird.
His song cheered me, told me that eventually spring comes. I suppose that’s the lesson of the spring – the song birds always return.
Rode 31.6 miles last night with the bike club. This was a faster group, and it was a struggle to keep up. By the end I was spent, feeling the beginning tinges of cramps as they tease your quadriceps and calves. I intended to post about the ride, but I was so exhausted that all I can recall is a magnificent dogwood tree, adorned in white blossoms surrounded by daffodils and jonquils a vision of beauty in the sunset.
One of the guys wore a Livestrong kit, right on.
We finished in the darkness, our lights flashing like so many lightning bugs coming home.
Laughing. Home from work and still the sun shines well above the horizon in the clear blue Chicago sky.
A quick kiss to wifey, and then I gobble a thin slice of carrot cake for fuel and out the door I go in my black spandex shorts and bright bright yellow long sleeve top. The pump puts out a satisfying ka-thunk with each stroke as I inflate the thick 29 inch tires. No more light light pressure for snow and mud, today 50 pounds per inch for the dry packed limestone. It takes forever to pump these tires I think to myself ka-thunk ka-thunking along.
Laughing. I pop on my helmet and head off to the park. Note to self… Whoa…. don’t squeeze these hydraulic disc brakes with the same pressure used for the side pull caliper brakes on the road bike. Well, not unless you planned to eject over the handlebars!
Smiling. The park is full of people. Where were you on those cold cold mornings so recently I wonder. The sun is waning, but still warms my heart. I see the red wing black birds perched about, and hear song birds share the day’s glory. My cold cold rides are solitary affairs, just me and maybe one or two more on the 10 mile loop, but today there is no solitude. I schuss past strollers and walkers and weave in and out past dogs and bicycles, more a slalom skier that a cyclist. Weaving, moving quickly, but still safely, a smile and any who catch my eye, and a quick good day, or looking strong as I pass. Up one of the little inclines that pass for hills in most of Chicago I come out of my seat and power up the incline adding speed the entire time.
Laughing. Well I couldn’t do that last time. Last time this little incline felt like Mt. Everest. I whirl about and near the water the black nymphs rise up in the fading sun, perhaps my bright yellow jersey has convinced them I am a giant flower. Well they will soon find I don’t smell like any flower they have previously known. I power up one more incline, passing a long string of people huffing and puffing up when I realize I am a bit tired.
Smiling. The sun has dropped, no longer a warm golden bowl it is now a giant orange melon hovering just over the prairie. The air takes on a cool bite. It always amazes me how the prairie is about 10 degrees cooler than the pavement, but even so I cruise along, my breath coming harder in and out through my mouth.
Laughing. I don’t know how fast I am going, it certainly feels faster than last week. Back on the pavement my thick fat tires sound like a Jeep Cherokee on the highway as we whirr along. One turn, then another and I am passing by little children riding their bikes on the sidewalk with training wheels while mom or dad follow protectively. Are we raising a generation of whusses too dependent upon their parents for everything? Who cares I think to myself.
I turn into the driveway and up the bump, clip out one pedal and lift my leg over as I stand on one pedal leaning into the bike as I coast into the garage and step down. Wifey awaits. Laughing.