The New Man, In The Old Clothes


I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve been what Paddington the Bear called “at lewis ends” lately. A lot of travel, a lot of rehab-ish activities. One of these activities was teaching my son to ride a bicycle, a task that we accomplished together in about ten minutes. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was eight years old, and I’ve been terrible at it my entire life. John’s experience was very different, and I give credit to the fact that we started him with a Strider. Adding pedaling to the mix wasn’t very difficult.

Unsurprisingly, he expressed a desire for me to ride a bike with him. So I took out my Supercross Dirt Devil, which has been mostly untouched since 2003 or so, and tried riding it a bit. After a while, I attempted a 12-inch bunnyhop, which was mostly successful. Keep in mind that I broke nine bones in January and my pelvis, at least, is not completely healed. I had a wide variety of pain after said hops.

I’ve decided to try to use the bike to finish my rehab. In the service of that, I went to Lancaster’s Miller Skatepark this past weekend. I hadn’t been there in twelve years but the layout is basically the same. I couldn’t believe just how difficult I found it to operate in that environment. Everything made me very tired and even dizzy. Part of it was the injuries, part of it was lack of practice, and part of it, regrettably, is no doubt the fact that I am forty-two and a half years old.

The above photo represents my best effort at riding the quarterpipe. I used to be able to get my Haro Backtrail 24 over the blankety-blank coping on this quarter, no problem. Today, I’m restricted to turning around under the coping. At least I could do it; for those of you who have never ridden a quarter-pipe, it’s not as simple as just turning the bike, it’s basically a 180 bunnyhop.

I also cleared the small box and was able to crank the bars a bit:


Emboldened by this, I went one step further today by dusting off my road bike, cleaning and adjusting it, and taking a short ride on it. I’d forgotten how to use clipless pedals!

My first impulse is, of course, to order myself up a brand-new BMX bike and possibly a roadie as well — I’m thinking Litespeed or Waterford, maybe a lime-green Waterford 26″ cross bike with stainless-steel lugs. But then I had a moment of clarity and made the decision to just ride what I have for right now. We’ll see how it goes. Until then, I’ll be the new, significantly slower, man on the old bicycles.

7 Replies to “The New Man, In The Old Clothes”

  1. AvatarFred Smith

    Carbon fiber is better, unless you don’t agree, in which case it isn’t, for you. The welds are so clean it doesn’t even have them!

  2. AvatarWiredChuck

    Words cannot express how awesome it is that, at the closer side of 43, you rode a quarterpipe. If and when I make it back to Powell, you have to teach me how to do that. I wanted to ride freestyle in the worst way as a kid, alas, mom and dad had other thoughts on the matter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.