Every year, at some point, I develop an allergy to the bicycle.
Maybe it’s more of an overuse injury. After months of writing, blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, cartooning, photographing and making videos of bicycles, I pull a mental muscle. I don’t even want to ride the sonsabitches. Game over. Move along, move along, nothing to see, nothing to see.
So I spent much of the past few weeks easing back into running, and it was a pleasant diversion indeed.
Cycling is preferable to motoring in large part because it slows you down, lets you take a closer look at the world as you pass through. Running — OK, in my case, jogging — takes you deeper into slo-mo, gives you a fresh appreciation of the trails you ride.
First step: Lower the expectations. The trails I ordinarily negotiate with verve, grace and panache on two wheels feel entirely different on two feet. I become a stumblebum. Herself punks me on the hills. It’s not one little bit like “Chariots of Fire.”
Since I no longer run year round for cyclo-cross, I have to ease back into the discipline, tentatively, like a Republican faced with a substantive policy question on the campaign trail. First I jog the uphills and walk the flats and downhills; then I start jogging the flats, too; and finally I add the descents.
After a few outings I reach a point at which I can perform an act that looks slightly like running, only much, much slower. To pass the time I imagine myself to be in a Bizarro World “Godzilla” movie in which I am the monster and the lizards scurrying out of my path are the terrified residents of Tokyo.
Eventually, of course, I go back to the bikes. That’s where the money is, and I have to pay attention. Also, bills.
Still, it’s refreshing to drop the pro act and go full-bore amateur for a while. Oh, no — there goes Tokyo! Go go Godzilla!