Friday, February 15, 2008

Stark Place for a Bike Ride

I'm not much of an athlete.

There, I said it. Okay? Now we all know.

Yesterday in the course of a conversation, I had to admit that I don't know how to ski. Which never struck me as odd before. Lots of people don't know how to ski. But for whatever reason, as it left my lips, I felt horribly inadequate.

Because not only do I not know how to ski, I am a lousy motorcycle rider, suck at scuba diving, go to the world's wimpiest gym, take beginner's yoga (when I'm intermediate), and didn't learn to swim properly until I was in college. I'm mediocre at horseback-riding, don't jog, and I get altitude sickness when everyone else is drinking coca tea just for fun. My ex, Turbo—a remarkable athlete—made me play bocce once in an attempt to force me to be athletic.

All this produced—in addition to a lousy game of bocce—was simmering resentment. I think I also felt clumsy, but was too busy being furious to care so much about that end of things.

So how, you might wonder, do I get myself around the world through all these marvelous countries?

Easy. I excel at getting on the bus.

One thing I can do, though not especially well, is ride a bicycle.

My favorite bike trip in JC is to go over to Liberty State Park on a summer morning. I stop by the bagel shop on the way.

But my most favorite bike trip ever was a Death Valley weekend bike trip in March of 1999. I had some free plane tickets from being bumped (on the return leg of a courier journey, no less), so I spent one of them on a trip to Death Valley. I flew into and out of LA, so I got to have a Sunday night Aunt Kizzy's dinner with my friends—including Marc, David, Steve, and Don—and I got to bike in a cool desolate landscape.

The outfitter I went with was called Country Spokes. Jill of the team ran the bike-and-camping end of things, providing a support van, maps, tents, and bikes. Joe was the gourmet chef, producing excellent meals. They had reasonable prices, great food, nice equipment, and mega-Thermarests for the campsites. My pal Nikki and I went with them in the Redwoods the following year.

Sadly, they quit the bike business a few years later. I wish they were still in it.

1 comment:

Yasir Khan said...

Lady, I can't ski either. Actually I can. I just can't stop without throwing myself in the snow, in a calculated tumble. I know, I know, "you need to snowplow to stop". Bullshit. It's never worked for me.