Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What kind of bike is that?

So Boonen really is being pushed towards being another Cipo with this Northwave ad. It's kind of like seeing a girl in a miniskirt except it's a guy, he's wearing armor, and holding a white bike shoe. He does have a very lost look about him. I don't know if they wanted him to do that or if that was the end result of people running around making him put on miniskirt armor, fluffing his hair a bit, and sticking a bright white shoe in his hands.

But I digress.

Yesterday at the airport I was lugging my bike, gear bag, and a regular rolling box bag around. When you do this, inevitably people point at you and make some comment, "oh I think he has a bike." or something like that.

I was checking in my bike ($65 extra) and the woman next to me leaned over to me.

"What kind of bike is that?"

Okay, I was a little tired, sleepy, but I looked at her with a blank face. How do you answer a question like that? It's so open-ended - she could have been a pro-cyclist or a totally clueless person. The bag itself says "BIKE" on it so it's pretty clear what's inside.

I could have answered, "It's a 10 speed." For the uninitiated, that means "road bike". For the initiated, it's a reasonably new bike that has a 10s rear wheel.

I could say "It's a road bike." I don't think that helps a lot of the uninitiated. I'd probably get a blank look, in which case I'd add, "You know, like Lance Armstrong." But then I'd have to explain that I don't ride like him. Gaunt face, aggressive pedaling, sort of a haunted look about him.

I could also be really technical about it and try and overwhelm the poor woman and make her think all cyclists are techno-snobs. "It's a Giant TCR with a mix of Campy Chorus and Record parts, FIR rims, Ritchey stem, a titanium seat, and Mavic bars."

But that wouldn't be good for cycling.

So I tried to take a safe route.

"The manufacturer name is Giant. I don't know if that helps."
"Oh, I have a Bianchi."

This is better.

"Oh, you're a cyclist. So you understand. It's a carbon Giant with Campy on it."
"Oh that's nice. You must have had good weather here."
And so on. A brief passing of two cyclists, then she left.

I was so tired I fell asleep while we were still at the gate. I kept popping awake when I felt movement as I love taking off (and landing). It's like driving or riding. Corners are fun. A long, straight road that stretches to the horizon? Not fun. Anyway each time I woke up with a start, the same grey pavement greeted my eyes.

After a few of these "starts" I looked around the cabin. People get upset when planes get delayed. Everyone looked calm though. I looked back outside.

The grey "pavement" was in fact clouds.

I looked at my watch. We'd taken off over an hour earlier.

I leaned my head back against the bulkhead and went back to sleep.

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