“This song is ending, but the story never ends…”
– Ood Sigma, Doctor Who, “The End of Time“, Written by Russell T. Davies
237 miles. That’s how much mileage I’ve put on my bicycle since April 5th…The day I departed from Lucasfilm for the last time. That’s pretty good considering I took a month off for surgery, and about another month for travel, LoJ, and Con. Certainly more than I’ve ridden since the mid-’80s which, oddly enough, was the last time I was in any kind of shape to speak of—But that’s changing, along with a lot of other things in my life. Cycling and life cycles are all going through my brain right now. Prepare for a ramble…
One of the things I love about where I live is the environment for bicycling…The weather is perfect; Too hot? Wait a few hours. Too cool? Well, that’s perfect for some great uphills. The terrain is great as well…Everything from flats along the the Bay to killer mountain climbs in the Oakland Hills (which I’m no way ready for but they are there…), and then there are the bike lanes everywhere—Oakland, and Berkeley, are some of the bike-friendliest places around.
My favorite ride is up Telegraph Avenue, or San Pablo, all the way from West Grand to UC Berkeley. It’s a gentle, uphill ride of just over 5 miles, ending with either a short, category 4, climb up to College, or a downhill to Shattuck, depending on how strong I’m feeling, and then a power ride back on the downhill. It’s my daily ride, with add-ons for longer runs.
I’ve been doing this for a while…and the results are paying off. Starting out barely able to do the 4 miles around Lake Merritt, without stopping, in March, I can currently do the 10.7 miler to UCB and back in just about an hour now, only stopping for lights. That’s progress. I’m in better aerobic shape than I’ve been in years, and it’s helped me to knock off about 35 lbs. since last May, and about 25 since I got my FitBit Aria scale back in January. Not bad—Only about 95 more lbs. to go to hit goal, but small change make for permanent changes, and that’s what I’m shooting for.
I’ve also changed my diet, quite a bit, on the organic and far more vegetarian style, which has helped.
Also, I’m starting to hit a grove with the riding that I haven’t felt since the late ’80s, when I was doing about 10 miles a day, every day…You sort of get past the point of any awkwardness, or discomfort, on the bike, and it starts becoming like an extension of your body. The bike feels like it is moving with you, and shifting, and other coordination activities, become effortless, unconscious actions…It is an amazing feeling.
The bike is a ’94 Cannondale T700, a touring bike made when Cannondale’s were made in the USA, in Bethel, Connecticut to be precise. They were pretty much hand-made by a company started in 1971 to make backpacks and other gear that evolved into one of the premier US bike manufacturers. The all-aluminum frame construction made the bikes extremely rigid, and the oversized tubing used to distribute mass across the aluminum gave Cannondale bikes a very distinctive look. The company was eventually acquired by a Canadian conglomerate, and the bikes are now made overseas…Which I guess makes the owners a true American success story, but makes me, and many other Cannondale bicycle fans, a bit sadder. Happily both of my bikes, the T700, and a ’95 M400 mountain bike with upgraded with a Rockshox Judy XC fork, are American classics that I keep in great shape, and have served me well for years…Okay, mostly because they’ve been sitting in a garage but still…
The Cannondale saga is a great reminder about how all things change, and that life is all about changing seasons and cycles.
This year has been about change for me…Dealing with a changing job situation (okay, currently a “no job” situation), some health issues that needed to be addressed, including getting into better shape. But more than that it seems like I’m coming to the end of another chapter in my life, one that I’m closing out feeling, not unlike the 10th Doctor, like I don’t want to go…That I could do so much more.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Los Angeles over the last month, starting the hunt in earnest for a new apartment, and beginning yet another return to the city that I keep on moving back to (this time for the 4th, and possibly final, time.) There is a lot of excitement, and anticipation, about returning to the Hollywood scene, being closer to friends, and having a world more of opportunities to practice my craft than are available here in the Bay Area, but still I’m torn.
October would mark seven years that I’ve been living in Oakland and, over the past two years especially, I’ve really come to love the town, and the East Bay in general. Of all the places I’ve lived, it is the ideal mix of city and scenery, culture and lifestyle, and, if I had my druthers, you’d have to drag me out of my huge, rent-controlled, apartment next to Lake Merritt in a body bag…But, unfortunately, those are probably the least important reasons to stay. The business, and the work, is in Los Angeles, and that’s where I need to be.
Again, there is also a lot of excitement, and a world of prospects awaiting me down in Los Angeles, not to mention a community that I have come to love over the past six years, and friends that it will be great to closer to…It’s just, well, a bit difficult at the moment, and I’m really feeling the 10th Doctor’s pain. I know change is inevitable, and one of the only things constant in life, but I just don’t want to go right now. But that will change when I get down there, and start embracing the new, yet familiar, things that will come with a life in L.A..
But…Hmm…Still not ginger…anymore…