Bike riding in Rochester was a much easier proposition. I could ride down wide, well-paved East Avenue through Pittsford and in 15 minutes be out in the country riding toward Honeoye Falls. Traffic is much less dense than in Seattle. In Rochester I might be challenged by wind, or distance, or the steep climbs around the Finger Lakes. But I could easily pick multiple routes that would take me five miles or fifty, and be a good workout without making me feel as if I was taking my life in my hands.
Seattle is far more challenging. City streets are often under construction, with metal plates making the pavement bumpy and uneven. The steep hills might be slippery cobblestone, and there are train tracks and light rail tracks to grab and jam wheels. We have dense traffic with impatient drivers. We do have a paved trail system, but I have to navigate city streets to access them.
There has been another issue, one that has kept me off the bike for a reason that makes no sense at all. I have a Terry Titania racing bike with clip in pedals — a pretty aggressive bike with very thin tires, meant to go fast. Clip in pedals are the most efficient, and go with the bike. Anything less — regular pedals or cages — would be like treating a race horse like one of the nags that hauls tourists through Central Park.
And yet — I feel less safe here with clip in pedals. I’m not sure if it’s age and balance, or the more challenging terrain, but I haven’t ridden much and haven’t wanted to get an easier pedal system. I know, in my heart of hearts, that no one is looking at my feet — or at me for that matter. But putting easier-to-manage pedals has felt like an impossible concession to age.
But something has changed. Archie is up on a bike. I foresee family bike rides. I’d like to be part of that. So I went on Sunday and got cages — more efficient than plain pedals but easier to get in and out of than clip ins. The move took about ten minutes of a bike tech’s time. I’m OK with it, and planning my first ride.