How many times have I said that that Monday mornings suck? How many have any of us said it? But do they really?
Monday mornings are beginning to take a slightly different meaning for me, a time to try and see if it can't be as the time to set the pace for the entire week. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to get up and out of bed on a Monday morning for some reason, probably because the weekend is over and work has to begin again. In my case I have the slight luxury of being a bit independent and answer to myself... and my clients, of course.
After dressing and the de rigueur coffee preparation, Monday morning usually starts off with a bike ride of anywhere from 6 to 15 miles, depending on the weather, and more often than not am joined by my son. Being fortunate to live in a reasonable Pennsylvania suburb in Bucks County, the terrain is varied and we can pick just how easy or strenuous a morning ride can be. Must note that for me these rides take place on the W.O.O.M.B., my Worn Out Old Mountain Bike. It's a GT Aggressor hard-tail mountain bike, vintage 1997, bought new back then, and I just can't let go of it.
They say that we all have the need to go back to the womb, so to speak, to find our own inner peace and comfort, and this is my way. I find peace on this bike, and getting on it and riding clears my mind better than most things that I can think of.
It came with a pretty light CrMo frame, which is tough as nails, RST front shocks, Shimano Deore V-brakes, Deore rear derailleur, and Deore rapidfire shifters, which I've never had the need to replace. It's now on its third gel seat, the original being a bit too hard on my ancient ass. Broke the original (crappy) pedals the first month I had it, but the local dealer upgraded them at no charge. It's on its second set of nubby Tioga Psycho Edge tires, and though a bit of overkill on pavement, they've been great when it goes off-road, which happens frequently. Added handlebar extensions, a Blackburn rack and a few accessories over the years, and as you can see, the vertical bottle holder is perfect for a 24-ounce cup of morning coffee from the local Wawa convenience store.
This has been the most low-maintenance bike that I've ever owned, and lasted much longer than I ever expected. The rust is minor, and people still stop and ask me about it. Have looked at others many times over the years, but can't seem to find one that I like as much, though there have been a few that I've considered since (Gary Fisher, Trek, Specialized, etc.). My son doesn't want me to trade it in and has asked that I keep it for him, so I guess that I'll have to.
On the road with the bike is not some type of stopwatch and odometer controlled feel-the-burn exercise routine. It's usually keeping a steady pace, but being observant of the world as one cannot do with a car. Last week my son was away at camp and I happened to see a box tortoise crossing a side street, so I took a few extra minutes to get it into a wooded area by a creek. Today it was discovering a frog pond just off of one of my variable routes through a wooded path. Ands who know what tomorrow will being?
Towards the end of my run is a Wawa convenience store, part of a unique chain that exists mostly in the Delaware Valley region of this country. They have freshly-prepared hot breakfast sandwiches, and probably the best fresh coffee this side of the so-called "yuppie brands" that come from Seattle, and at a fraction of the cost. This morning it was a hot sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on an oversized biscuit, along with a 24-ounce cup of their real Kenya AA coffee. As they say, "gottahava Wawa"...
So after strapping the breakfast sandwich to the rack on the back of the bike and slipping the coffee cup into the vertical water bottle holder along with a bottle of Gatorade in the other, I was on my way back home, about a mile away. Once there I put the bike away as I checked emails while enjoying my tasty breakfast.
And with that, the week starts the right way. And even if Mondays don't go quite as hoped, there's always Tuesday morning to rewind and try to set the pace again.