On my bike ride today, I was pondering the changes that have happened over the last 20 something years. When I first got seriously into cycling in my mid 20’s, I thought nothing about climbing on, and doing 30, 40 or even 50 mile loops, barely taking a couple of bottles of water with me. Living in the south SF Bay Area, there were abundant great roads (and trails) to explore and enjoy. And enjoy them I did. One day, I rode over highway 9, through Davenport, out to the coast, up highway 1, and back through Bonny Doon to the bay area again. Probably 65 miles or so. Never thought twice about it.
To be fair, I had some mishaps. One day, I had a major tire failure (sidewall blew out) at the top of Pierce road in Saratoga. I had to hike about 6 miles back to civilization to make a phone call for a pick up. Or the time that I had a spill in Los Altos. Ran straight into a block post. Bent my crank arm, and had to ride 12 miles home on a wobbling crank (that really messed up my ankle).
Today, I think twice about going out, particularly when my wife isn’t around to rescue me. Granted, I am approaching 50, and have had some cardiac troubles, but the caution that I think about is really insane. I have my phone, I carry a first aid kit, I carry a lot more water (partly because I live in a desert and it is triple digits in heat), and I carry more emergency repair tools and parts than I ever did.
Back in the late 1980’s, when I rode a heavy, low tech Specialized Allez, did all my own maintenance, I just rode. Suited up and away I went, 6 days a week (I worked the 1-9 shift, so I had ample time in the AM to ride). Now I do a lot more planning, I have my cell phone (which doubles as my heart rate monitor, and my exercise tracking), CO2 cartridges for fixing flats, and a fair assortment of tools to fix what ails me on the ride.
Ah well, progress.