More than anything, this article is a test of sorts. To get a sense of the type of work this site will publish before I try and push the envelope. Before I begin to upset anyone, I’ll begin by introducing myself.
My name’s Eli Curt Fuld. I was named after my great-grandfather, a German vacated from his house by one of Hitler’s SS where he fled to America and eventually ended up in Florida with every single other aging Jew of those times. As his namesake, I’m living out the life as a free American that he only came to know during his later years in life. Freedom for me translates to the ability to pursue my own interests and pastimes (read: happiness). That includes, and is limited to, riding my bike.
If you’re here, you realize that. You also realize that the racing season begins in March (for some odd reason) when the blistering weather leaves racers no choice but to decorate themselves with layer upon layer of stylish menswear. In the dark, those of us who are foolish enough to begin this early slowly and sluggishly trudge from the relative warmth our beds and apartments offer us, out to the cold, unforgiving streets of Manhattan where we begin our catwalk. We race through the frigidity until slowly, the days lengthen. The sun warms the air and softens the asphalt. We get a little more fit. We get less flats. More of us come out to race. We may even smile. Perhaps we begin to do better. The season continues and we laugh, we wear speed suits, we crash, we spend all day on our bikes…until suddenly, something happens. The harbinger can come in many forms, such as a family gathering or a new face in our lives. But it always comes.
Reality smacks us in the face like our father used to (or possibly still does) when we knocked the coffee onto his paper because who’s fault is it that he left his coffee in front of the cookie jar?! We realize (and this is as much of a surprise to us each year as it was the year beforehand) that this lifestyle is just plain dumb. All of the life experiences foregone in favor of hours upon hours in the saddle. All of the missed landmarks. All of the money poured into our downward spirals we call “lives”. All of the hours spent cleaning out road rash and crying over spilled derailleurs and bent hangers. All of it…for what?
For a while, after we’ve wised up, we walk around and try to enjoy the other aspects of life. After all, there are other aspects, right? What did we do before we constantly rode our bikes? There must have been a girl (or guy), somewhere, named something. Maybe Sue? Was that her name? And she (or he) liked something. Chinese food, was it?
And then we call her (or him). We pick up our old routine and it’s nice. It’s comfortable. For a while at least. A few weeks or a month. But then our legs begin to twitch. We become restless. We yearn for the endorphin rush that comes with the cheap thrill of a fast descent. Especially knowing the cops are somewhere out there on 9W with their radar guns and we can very well be the next ones to get the short end of the stick. Then, and only then, does the off-season truly begin.
We weren’t wrong when we spilled that coffee and we’re not wrong now, as the season comes to a close. We can’t be. Otherwise, we wouldn’t start this whole process again come next March. But we do. Which means we take the smack, reflect on it, and loyal to our creed, we steadfastly show up in our layers again next March.
But for now, for the off-season, let’s ride slow. Let’s enjoy the roads. Let’s fall in love with our bikes once more. Let’s learn a little about our bikes, our roads and ourselves.
This is my first attempt at reaching out. If there’s anyone out there receiving this, please return transmission.