Five years of cycling, and related thoughts on heaven and hell

Five years ago (July 3, 2006) I picked up my then new bike from Scott Chamberlain’s caring hands at Belmont Wheelworks and started on my cycling adventure, whence this blog was also born. The next day, on July 4, I went out for my first solo ride.

Yesterday I rode with my good friend Lee on our regular 44 mile route to Concord and back. It was a fitting fifth anniversary ride, showing how far I have come from my first ride of a couple of miles at an average speed of probably 8mph, to 44 miles at an average (moving) speed of closer to 14mph. Yes, I could be faster still, and could be riding more regularly and further, but that’s for another blog post. Today I am enjoying the accomplishment and the joy that cycling has brought into my life (to say nothing of the leg strength and cardio fitness).

Over the last few months while cycling I have had fun thinking about cyclists’ heaven and hell and this anniversary is as fitting time as any to share them.

Heaven: a great recumbent bike that doesn’t strain my neck, shoulders, arms, back (or sit me on parts of my body not meant for sitting)
Hell: an upright (sorry, friends!)

Heaven: a great 44 mile route through quiet country roads
Hell: the same route with weekday traffic

Heaven: a 44 mile (Escher) route that is down hill all the way back to the beginning
Hell: the same route up hill

Heaven: a 44 mile (Escher) route that is down hill all the way
Hell: the same route on a fixed gear bike

Heaven: a 44 mile (Escher) route that is down hill all the way with just the right amount of road curvature back and forth to enjoy the G-forces
Hell: the same route, with low light and no visibility around the corners, so you are forever worried about potholes or the possibility some truck will come roaring up the hill straight into you

Other ideas for heaven and hell pairings welcome.