Monday, May 26, 2008
Rebycling: From Bikes to Birds
Interspersed with episodes of birding in my life, I have jumped on the saddle and rode my bicycle for miles and miles along many of the same roads that I have birded for years. Palmetto Meadows, Valley Water Mill Road, and Fellows Lake have not only been meccas for birds and birders, but they have served as gathering places for bikes and bicyclists, too.
With retirement from full time teaching at hand, I have reevaluated my future needs and am making adjustments accordingly. I have no plans of giving up bicycling, but the pastime has taken on more of a utilitarian function, far removed from the competitive jaunts that lured me during my mid-life. Now, I simply ride leisurely to work, to the store, or on the residential streets down to the river trail. I'm leaving the 50 mile journeys on my fancy racing bike to the younger generation or to the baby boomers more determined to anaerobically respirate than I.
You don't need a Colnago Racing Bike to leisurely ride. The old Cannondale hanging in the garage will suit me fine. I'm sure if my Colnago could speak, it would cry for the peloton and beg to cruise at 35 mph in the draft of 100 riders. And so, I'm letting it go to fulfill the dream for which it was carefully constructed. For sale:
Colnago Dream Plus Team Mapei 54 cm frame
Colnago Force fork
Campagnolo Record carbon shifters
Campagnolo Chorus componentry9 speed rear derailleur
Campy Proton Wheel Set.
Deda Magic stem and bars
Chris King headsetCampagnolo Titanium seat post.
Selle San Marco Aspide saddle
Vittoria Rubino Pro tires
So, what's this have to do with birding? In my retirement, I dream of birding the 50 states and beyond, and I long to identify, with confidence, species that I have never seen. Long a believer in recycling, I have already spent the $1800 that I hope to get for my racing bicycle. My new Zeiss Conquest 8 X 40 binoculars and Kowa TSN 821 spotting scope for angled viewing with a 20-60X eyepiece will arrive here in less than a week. Can't wait to break them in!
So, my risk of an accident appears to be reduced, until you consider that I'm trading the risk of being hit while riding a bicycle 20 mph on the country roads with the risk of being hit while standing in the middle of the road transfixed on a rare bird in the distant field.
I still like the odds of surviving while spotting birds! Cycling is colorful, but not as colorful as the Painted Bunting I recently spotted. Anaerobic respiration and VO2 max; it's overrated. For me, I'm choosing a slow walk through the woods, the song of the thrush, a loon at the far reaches of a lake, and the peace that comes from appreciating the pace of our natural world.
Need a one of a kind racing bike? Let me know! I have a beauty, and a few optics to pay off!