Friday, November 21, 2008

One pair of shoes

My dad retired this spring. He's been counting down the days for a long time, so we knew well in advance that it was coming. We also knew that he was interested in spending some of his newly found spare time on a bike. So for Christmas last year, my brothers and I bought him a nice pair of cycling shoes (we should have bought him a bike, but he's got deeper pockets than we do).

Before he retired, he used to tool around the neighborhood on a Trek hybrid. But shortly after his retirement, he bought a Cannondale Synapse. So far this year, he's put over 4,000 miles on that bike. He rides every day that the weather is good and has knocked off two centuries, more rides of 50 to 75 miles than he can count, and just last week finished the last of his goals for the year, riding from home to the top of Big Mountain. This is in addition to City Creek, Millcreek, Emigration, and various other climbs in and around Salt Lake.

I should also mention that my mom, who isn't retired yet, is right behind him on mileage, and they've done most of the long rides together. My mom also refuses to try clipless pedals for fear of tipping over at an intersection, so she's doing all this on a Cannondale with flat pedals. I wonder if I could keep up with her if she were actually clipped in.

My parents have a vacation home in Myrtle Beach where they have another pair of hybrid bikes. Make that had. After getting used to riding their road bikes in Utah, on their first trip to MB, they couldn't tolerate the hybrids, so they bought road bikes to keep there as well.

In addition to all the miles ridden, my dad has shed about 50 pounds and in his 60's is more fit than many if not most men in their 30's or 40's. Perhaps most tellingly, he would now rather go out for a ride than play a round of golf.

He mentioned in an email the other day that had we not bought him the shoes for Christmas, he may still be pedaling around on that hybrid. I guess buying the shoes had a sort of butterfly effect that's led to a healthy and enjoyable hobby and something that, since I don't play golf, we can do together besides watch sporting events. Of course, if he keeps on this trajectory, we're not going to be able to ride bikes together either, because I simply won't be able to keep up.

Nice work, dad. Keep it up. See you on the road to Jackson in September.