Mostly I've been rediscovering the joys (and perils) of riding a bicycle that actually goes forward when you pedal it, mostly, as well as something of the challenges faced by the recently awakened long-term coma sufferer. Supposedly dangerous toe clips, which I've cycled in for forty years without incident, have been replaced by pedal-and-special-shoe-interlocking propulsion systems, which prevent injury by making riding prohibitively expensive; everything on the modern bike can be repaired with an Allen wrench, meaning you can't buy a cycling multi-tool for your emergency bag that doesn't contain seven items your tenspeed relic doesn't need; and bike mechanics are all too young to drive. So far I've spent about what I bought the bike for in maintenance and safety--that's without fixing the brakes, yet, but I really don't use 'em--which led to the following:
DR: Forty bucks for a helmet! I rode for thirty years without ever thinking of a helmet!
PW: You weren't fifty-six years old then.
There's plenty that's good, and cool, as well, and the internets are full of helpful advice and amateur repair theatricals, but clothing, fer fuck's sake, you cannot buy a cycling jersey that doesn't look like the hood of Dale Jr.'s Sprint Cup car. Or "cor", as they say in the announcer's booth.
And the roads and the traffic are worse, or I'm much older, or both. The tally so far is two flats, neither really explained--I have learned to repair and remount a tire, which may not seem like much, but try doing it in the grip of congenital schlemielity--two permanently tingly thumbs from riding over cobblestones disguised as asphalt roadways, and a taste of sidewalk the other afternoon which I tried to blame on my Poor Wife stopping short in front of me, but was actually poor braking technique combined with no brakes. Not even enough rash to wear as a badge. But it reminds me that this is the coolest tattoo I've ever seen:
So yesterday, after flat #2, I went looking for bomb-proof tubes, which none of the local shops stocked on the grounds, I guess, that it reduced the number of flats they get to repair. And I didn't find any ("We can order 'em for you," said one young shaver. "Thanks, I don't know what I'd do otherwise," I muttered.) so I bought a standard tube and came home and went to replace it, which is when I discovered that the bead jack I avoiding buying was absolutely essential on the grounds that my bike now uses tires which are the teensiest bit small, thanks to all the modern inconveniences such as the goddam Balkanization of tire sizes I'd missed out on up to now. So I went back and got one, and came back home. I was set up to do this from the living-room couch. My Poor Wife sat down beside me, because, speaking of tingly things, she just really enjoys watching sweaty and swearing men accomplish things with their brawny arms, another reason, if one were needed, to question how she wound up with me. And the bead jack didn't know anything about my Karma, apparently, because it performed flawlessly, and the thing was done in like two minutes. I set the wheel aside, and had a sip of coffee, and heard a weird sort of noise coming from my nether regions. This, lamentably, is not really all that odd. I thought at first it was just a peculiar stomach rumble, but there was a weird sort of squeaky component, a sort of rubbing leather or plastic sound, and I checked my belt, and the contents of my pockets, but couldn't find anything. I stood up and shook myself. Nothing. I sat back down and it started up again. I'd sort of decided to just ignore it. Had another gulp or two of coffee, stood up, and out a leg hole fell a Great Black Wasp, S. pennsylvanica, aka a Cicada killer.
It's "non-aggressive", says WikiAnswers. Like you gotta tell me that.