Monday, February 16, 2009

Soft and Buttery

Soft and Buttery. Adjectives.

For many things that require adjectives "Soft" and "Buttery" are great adjectives as they indicate a suppleness that takes the reader back to that special, comforting place. Even things in cycling can be described as soft and buttery and it's good, such as the ride quality of a properly crafted custom steal or titanium bike. These words can also be positives for tires, or the line you chose on your way down the road. For me however, "Soft" and "Buttery" are very very bad.

After a significant hiatus and 3 weeks off the bike I, Corey Keizer, am "Soft" and "Buttery" My thighs puff out of my cycling shorts like two upside down muffin tops. My skin is pale, my belly jolly. Tuesday and Thursday of last week marked the first 20 miles I've ridden since the beginning of January. Now that 20 miles is making me sore. Me. The guy who could ride 130 miles and get up the next day and ride 60 more is getting sore after a 10 mile jaunt around the park.

As with everything, I have an excuse. My year hasn't gotten off to the best start. I burned myself out in 2008, and my planned return to 2009 was put hold by a couple of family tragedies that really took the wind out of my sail. I turned to my X-Box 360 for comfort as sitting on a bike seat just didn't feel appealing at the moment.

It's not just my physique that's "Soft" and "Buttery" though. Those adjectives go much deeper for me. One thing I've learned about myself over the past couple months is that I harbor a fair amount of irritation towards those who are intolerant of cycling and cyclists, and that I've been pretty "Soft" and "Buttery" in my dialog with those people. I'm sorry but the shit has, and still is hitting the fan. Global warming is beginning it's out of control spiral, the economy has tanked and people are lining up to accept unemployment at rates that haven't been seen in decades. So why in the hell should we continue to give the right of way to those who support dogmatic loser industries that put this country in the quagmire it's in? Environment? who gives a shit, lets expand roadway spending and give huge tax breaks to car buyers to F**k the environment even more. Let's not spend money on things like active transportation that would help the environment and provide projects for people who desperately need work. No, lets continue down the same path, since it's worked out so well to this point.

I've been unreasonably nice and muted particularly to those who feel cyclists should be segregated, and not allowed on the same roadways as other vehicles. I've coddled them and tried the whole "Kill with Kindness" thing. I'm not going to hedge and say "I'm sorry for saying this" any more. If you don't like sharing the roadways that's too bad. Bikes are vehicles and that's the end of it. Read the legal code if you think I'm somehow out of line. I say the same thing to drivers who don't want to share the road as I say to myself when I see someone trying to do a 18 point parallel park with their Hummer H3, "If you don't know how to drive it, don't." Keep driving your cars and treating cyclists like crap. I'm sure when gas goes back up to $4.50 a gallon this summer you'll be looking to guys like me asking for advice on which roads are the safest. To which I'll reply "most of them, since you're not driving anymore."

To that, cyclists also need to straighten the F**k up. I'm sorry, but I'm tired of this adolescent sense of entitlement that so many of us exude that we somehow don't have to stop at stop lights and stop signs because we're training or whatever. If you want respect on the road you have to give it first. Obey the laws. Your training program isn't that important, you're only a CAT 4. If we want motorists to give us the right of way we need to show that we deserve it first.

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