To Hell With The Groundhog.

Waiting in the wings was Baby, my 1966 Schwinn Paramount, holding out for an afternoon ride in the country.

And what an afternoon it turned out to be! Not a puff of breeze, completely still except for the trill of birdsong and quiet voices of couples and families out for a walk on an incredibly pleasant day.

Heading north, the sun disappears behind a thick cloud cover. It’s cool enough that I’m barely breaking into a sweat, but pedaling at a nice steady pace my legs quickly warm. All around me the world seems to be bathed in ochre and sienna and umber. A closer look reveals fresh sprouts of green peeking through the underbrush and dead leaves that blanket the ground.

Trees, not yet laden in foliage allow a view of the lake and land and hills beyond.

It’s weird. I’m riding through rural Missouri, about as far from the ocean as one could be, smack dab in the middle of this land mass we call America. But high above the water, dipping and swooping, are gulls. At the end of one small body of water, in the shallows, a school of some kind of small fish is breaking the surface, the water boiling, making quiet popping sounds as they do.

To hell with the groundhog. Spring is on the way.

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I hate trainers.

It’s no secret. I hate my trainer.

There’s nothing so boring as spinning without going anywhere. I can ride places all day long, but thirty minutes on this damn thing is just about as much as I can muster. (Not to mention that it simply embarrass the hell out of my Paramount to be securely anchored to it.)

Sure, I can jam out on tunes, and that’s certainly helpful. My brain doesn’t scream out quite as much, but it does eventually scream. And who am I fooling here? My body? I don’t think so – muscle memory just isn’t the same. I’m just spinning my feet in circles. Even when I fake “accelerate” it’s nothing at all like being on the road, like climbing a hill. Nothing at all like the feeling I get stopping to check out a place I’m only just that moment discovering by bike. The smell of Febreze is entirely unlike any scent that comes wafting in on the crosswind. (As is the smell of the wet dog lying on the floor next to me as I spin one futile circle after another.)

A couple of years ago I discovered cycling videos. After a ten hour or so download, I managed to get one loaded onto my iPad. I MacGyvered a mount and found that if I really suspended my disbelief I could watch the video and almost imagine I was out on the road. I briefly even flirted with the idea of creating my own summer videos that I might watch while pedaling on snowy days indoors.

I watched the video over and over again, too cheap to buy another and too impatient to muddle my way through another long download. I was excited when the company put their entire library online. Last month I signed up for their monthly streaming service and enjoyed a couple of weeks of stationary cycling diversity, but without any warning the service was suddenly not working. The video service ended their relationship with Apple less than two weeks into my first month. Unwilling to muck about with their new provider – you know: cancel one subscription, set up a new one, and don’t worry because we’ll find a way to credit you your missing two weeks – well, I said to heck with them.

They didn’t seem to understand why I would feel that way. (Service really is dead, and as far as I can tell so is any awareness that it ever existed in the first place.)

Guess I’ll go spin now. I wonder what’s on Pandora.

Anyway, I really hate that damn trainer.