It’s all Huey Lewis and the News’ fault.
A few years ago, after moving back out to California following law school, I somehow decided it would be fun to ride my bike to a Huey Lewis and the News concert. I think this notion was rooted in the remnants of some adolescent teenybopper fantasy I used to harbor that they’d someday play in my town, so the idea that I could propel myself to one of their shows under my own power appealed to me as a way to somehow scratch that old itch. However WHY I thought I could do such a thing is a bit of a mystery. The band frequently plays shows in Saratoga, a town in the southern part of the Bay Area near where I used to live and ride before law school — but not really near where I was currently living and riding. Plus it’s not like I was ever any sort of serious cyclist. Even when living in the South Bay I rarely biked more than 20 miles at one time, and during law school I hardly ever biked for any length at all. Nonetheless, once I got it into my head to bike to the concert, I had to do it. So I did, riding 65 miles south from my home in Sausalito to see my favorite band play.
Even though it was a taxing ride for me, I did it again a few more times over the next few years, until about two years ago when my plans were stymied. Their concert was going to be in the middle of the week instead of a weekend, thereby making the logistics unfeasible. “Saratoga on a Wednesday??? How am I supposed to bike there then?” I posted on a fan board. “Or am I expected to bike to Reno this year instead?” For, you see, the Reno show was going to be on the Saturday, and while I was fully joking in suggesting I might bike there in my post, as soon as I articulated the thought the mental wheels started turning. Could I actually bike to Reno I wondered? The googling of potential routes immediately commenced, and, yes, it turned out, indeed I could. And so indeed I did.
The Reno ride was about 200 miles over three days and required traversing the Sierras on Day 2 and what was then my longest one-day mileage record of 82 miles on Day 3. It wasn’t easy, but I did it, and suddenly my cycling ability and confidence matured many levels – so many that when I rode the 65 miles to Saratoga for the concert last year, it was embarrassingly easy. Clearly I was going to need a new challenge.
I suppose I have always been somewhat aware of what used to be called the California AIDS Ride, the multi-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. You pretty much can’t walk into a bike shop in the Bay Area without seeing flyers for it. While I always thought it was something I’d like to say I’d done, I never could imagine it being an attainable undertaking. It was for serious cyclists, not an occasional weekend rider like me. But after the Reno ride I started to rethink the kind of cyclist I might actually be. Last year, in addition to the 65 miles to Saratoga, I also did 72 miles around Lake Tahoe and 86 miles from Sausalito to Santa Cruz. Day 1 of the AIDS ride, now known as AIDS Lifecycle, was just from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, and I already knew I could do that part. It made me start to think that maybe, just maybe, the AIDS Lifecycle really was for people like me. Dipping my toe in ever so slightly, early this year I signed up.