It is so difficult to show things like Big Hills in pictures and have it accurately portray their Biggness. But I have tried my best.

the long view

the long view

You can sort of see the way the world looks like it is dropping off on the other side of the cross street. The rest of the pictures were taken from about that point, so I could try to get a view of the slope of the hill…

a small ways down the hill

a small ways down the hill

Take note of the red car you see, because when I zoom in later, I zoom right up to that car, so it is all that distance that will be cut off, essentially.

looking back up the hill, for perspective

looking back up the hill, for perspective

zoomed in a little

zoomed in a little

It is still hard to see, but you can see a small silver car just about to start up the hill coming towards us. Most of that car will disappear as it goes up the hill, just as those itty bitty people have mostly disappeared. I know, the picture really is too small to see all that. That’s a really steep portion of the hill, and then it continues for quite a while, still fairly steep, to the top. Where there is only a short reprieve, after which a bit more of a hill, and then comes real relief.

I’m not kidding though when I say I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to ride up it. It was seriously that difficult to get even one tenth of the way up it, and even taking into account my relative lack of biking strength at the moment, it is just that big of a hill.

But that’s okay, it will be on my way home.

When I got back from my picture taking excursion to The Big Hill, I realized it was too late to actually hop on the bike, as I originally planned, and go for a bike ride. I’d walked for 90 minutes, between going to the library and going to take the pictures! This is the crazy cool thing about doing things on a bike or on foot. Especially on bike, I think. Hell yeah things usually take longer, but they just don’t feel like they take longer. 20 minutes in my car feels much longer than that. Every moment is either stressful or boring, the only part I really enjoy is my music. I don’t hate driving, but it just isn’t that fun either.

On the bike, though, it is fun. Yeah, it will take me 3 times as long to get to work, but it isn’t going to feel like it. It is going to be fun time, not stress time. I can’t wait.

I got back from my walk and looked at my phone. No phone call. Normally this would be, well, normal. I don’t get calls often, ‘cept from the parents, and that just once a week on a normal week. But I was expecting, or at least hoping, for a call from my Bike Shop Boy. We’re still in the process of specing out the components on this bike I’m ordering for my commuting. It will be able to haul me and Stuff. Or rather I will be able to haul Stuff on it. Front racks, rear racks, fenders…if I can handle it, it can handle it. It is a beast, really. It is beautiful. Or it will be, when I finally get it.

I’d gotten an idea in my head early last week. I blame this on my Bike Shop Boy, in his delay in getting back to me. I’d first gone to the shop on July 3, a Thursday, and he’d promised to email with an initial go at the specs in “a couple days”. It was a couple days after those “couple days” that I finally heard from him, and by then I’d started reading obsessively.

I’d gotten downtube shifters in my head.

I couldn’t let them go.

I read what people said, some positive, some scornful, some not understanding, some as if they were the lost holy grail. Suffice to say, they were the only choice for shifters about 30 years ago, and now they’re pretty seldomly seen. Now there are integrated brake and shifters, sometimes called brifters, and I’d guess that most see those as where the evolution of brakes and shifters were always heading. So downtube shifters are likely seen by most as a step back at least 20 years.

But, you know, my truck is a manual shift. And I like it like that. My camera is manual, even if it doesn’t have to be entirely so. I usually have it on aperture priority, which is say, one third manual. (I use autofocus, after all.)

Anyway, perhaps it is just my quirky personality that likes things more manual, more directly controllable by moi. I also like how clean they look.

And I sort of felt like the Bike Shop Boy was going to be shaking his head and rolling his eyes at this clueless bike noob who was spending money just to get started in bike commuting, and wanted downtube shifters. I mean, really, right?

But I tried downtube shifters (annabelle, that 22 year old red beauty, has them!) and I loved them.

So the phone finally rings tonight, and it is indeed Bike Shop Boy. He identifies himself, makes the starting-conversation noises. And then:

“I just want to tell you that you are awesome for going with downtube shifters.”

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