Feb 6, 2010

Random Notes

It's winter in Minnesota . Not one of those winters of the recent past where we had blasts of warm air melt the snow and clear the roads so that I could roll out the bike and cover enough miles in December, January, February, and March to be able to honestly claim I'd ridden all 12 months. I don't ride the streets when they are ice-covered. I might ride the lake behind my house in the ice, but not this year.

The Super Sherpa refuses to start. I still haven't installed my spare wood stove in the garage, so working on metal is out of the question. The V-Strom will start at the touch of the starter-button, but I'm not man enough to roll that big dude out into the ice and snow. The bikes have sat for almost two months, untouched everywhere but the battery terminals.

I think I might have discovered an actual advantage to getting old. It's all about perspective, but perspective is another quality that gets fine-tuned with age. When I was a young guy, I played a lot of sports: baseball, wrestling, football, tennis, basketball, racquetball, and off-road motorcycle competition. For the first 30 years of my life, I'd have to really do some damage to wake up sore. A couple hours of football practice followed by an hour of lifting weights and I'd wake up the next morning pleasantly aching. A bicycle ride to work or school and that would be gone, replaced by the sterile good health of youth.

Skip ahead four decades and I don't have to do anything to wake up hurting. Both shoulders, maimed by several separated joints, busted clavicles, and yesterday's yoga routine, hurt before I make a test move out of bed. My left side, still creaking from the most recent bout (in 2007) of busted ribs, feels like someone confused me for a punching bag a couple of weeks ago. I think I have a kidney stone beginning its journey outward, too. My knees, of course, are ready to deliver their wake-up stab the moment I put a load on them. Oddly, the joints that gave me the most trouble for the first 30 years of life, my ankles, are pain-free in the morning. Or, maybe, everything else hurts enough to mask the usual minor ankle pain. So, I get all the benefit of exercise without actually exercising. How can you beat that?

While I write this, I'm listening to Robert Palmer's Some Guys Have All the Luck. Palmer had quite a bit of luck, but having died at 54 it's safe to say he didn't have all of the luck. Listen to practically anything Robert recorded right after hearing practically anything from Little Feat and it's pretty obvious where the Brit got his influences. He was definitely an advertisement for the "live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse" philosophy.

I, on the other hand, might as well live as long as I can because my corpse has had about the same sorry look since I turned 30.

Now Robert is singing "it takes every kind of people to make what life's about" and that's something I always have to remind myself when I venture out into the world. Another feature of age is congested arteries; physical and philosophical. I get "complementary" subscriptions, being the huge media figure I am, of several motorcycle magazines. One of the characteristics of motorcycling editors that always entertains is their arrogance. Catterson, for example, with Motorcyclist seems to be on the edge of cutting off all subscribers who disagree with him. It's painful to read his responses to letters to the editor. He reminds me of a kid who just became a cop and wants to show everyone who ever made fun of him that he, now, has a gun. With the vanishing use for paper forms of entertainment, you'd think his publisher would be a little shy of pissing off the remaining old folks who bother subscribing to a magazine that is late to the party with practically every piece of information; as is every printed news source today.

Cycle World Bike Show this weekend. Wolf and I are going to look at the new toys and, probably, consider how much of my future security will be wasted on today's pleasures. Another great thing about getting old is that I have almost everything I need; tools, toys, and friends and family. Nobody has ever been able to convince me that trinkets will change my lifestyle, so Madison Avenue and I have always had a distant relationship. The older I get, the more distant we become.


Anonymous said...

Blew out my Achilles a few years ago and now it aches most of the winter, particularly when I hop out of bed in the morning. Luckily, I can pretty much do everything I want, though I used to be pretty fast on my feet and now I'm rather slow when I run. Even though I basically like the winter and living in the north, these aches sure do feel better when I take a southern vacation. Plus, I could ride year 'round...The only thing is I'm not so wild about places with no hills and no turns in the road to wonder what is around them.

Sean McDermott said...

I agree with you Tom. The Vstrom is entirely too big and heavy to take out on that little lake. A couple years back I saw you out there on the Super Sherpa and looked over at my 'Strom sitting idle. Gotta admit, I was a bit jealous of your lean and mean bike. Two things are certain, you'll get older and summer will come. The only questions are how old will one get and how long will Minnesota's "summer" be.

T.W. Day said...

Dude, I have never been fast on my feet or anything else. Now, I'm lucky to be mobile. You gotta love winter for how it makes you feel about the rest of the year. The older I get, the quicker I get to appreciating sun, heat, and riding weather.

At my age, it's safe to count on summer coming but you can't depend on getting older. Some years it feels like people I know and admire are dropping around me like flies. When I was in medical devices a decade back, the first half-dozen pacemaker and ICD implants I attended were all on people younger than me.

Little is cool, delicate is less so. I'm seriously thinking about upgrading to a Yamaha WR250X over the winter. The Sherpa is a little too wimpy and a lot too old-tech for my current tastes. The V-Strom has made me an FI believer.