The Anti-Hammer Manifesto

Middle-Aged GasperLove of the Game, Peak Pedaler

Gasper

(told in the voice of Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty)

HEY!  You Hammer-Heads! You know who you are. You think that from the moment you mount a bike, you should go all-out, fast as Hell. That somehow, unless you are hammering all the time (pedaling at full-out effort, high-speed averages to the non-cyclist), even uphill, for Heaven’s sake, that somehow you are not a “real cyclist”.  Somehow your workout is not a real workout.

So you’re younger, super-fit and I’m not, maybe I am a “bit overweight”. And no way can I keep up with you or your kind on a Club Ride, or climbing the Rockies. So what?

And you fast folks sometimes sneer at what I wear on the road. Heck, given my frequent lone riding, I’m into DEFENSE mode in my cycling clothing theme, not fashion. I don’t want to look good, I want to look VISABLE.

I’ve been dropped in open country many times by Hammer-Heads. I love ‘em, they’re my friends. So that’s why I wear super-visible, hunter-orange bike jerseys or See-Me Wear® migraine-inducing chevron patterns of yellow, orange, green.

Reaching for a Life Preserver after a tough climb near Tuscaloosa Alabama.  Can you see me?

Reaching for a Life Preserver after a tough climb near Tuscaloosa Alabama. Can you see me?

If I’m struck by a motorist (God forbid!), I want no doubt that it was intentional attempted murder. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury – the defendant claims that he could not see my client. Now look at this picture. How in the World could you NOT see THAT?”

My strategy is like a poisonous tree-frog – decked out in bright colors that say “Danger – Stay Away”. I want to look large and expensive to hit.

And ride speed? Call me the Anti-Hammer. Call me the Tortoise, not the Hare. I’m going to ride slower, from 11 to 15 miles per hour average, and not care if you sniff and sneer while you trump about 18 to 20 averages. Good for you. Good for me – I’ve got lots of company.

We’ll be riding in beautiful Colorado, and we’ll have maybe 14 hours of daylight. The TV character Andy Griffith, country Sheriff of Mayberry, used to say all the time “What’s your Hurry?” Stay a while, enjoy the afternoon. I plan on taking my time, seeing the sights, stop in cafes, take long rest breaks at the tops of passes. We Anti-Hammer folks constantly remind ourselves, “It’s a ride, NOT a race!”

You know what? I think there are a lot of you out there intimidated by Hammer-heads.  Needn’t be so, as there are more and more like me out there in our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who are taking up cycling. We’re growing in numbers. Jump on a bike, pedal at your own pace, and come along. Seek me out and ride with me. You’ll recognize me in the slow lane.

And I hope as I Ride The Rockies, all you Hammer-Heads will at least say “What’s Up Gasper?” as you pass me going uphill.  I’ll be sure to yell “On Yer Leeeeffffffttttt” as the physics turn in my 235-pound-favor on the long downhills out of the mountain passes, descending at 55-60 mph.

Being the Anti-Hammer Gasper has its advantages, and it IS fun to hammer downhill now and then.