I am a hardy soul. I am a man who loves to brave the elements, to be in the great outdoors, no matter the weather. A fierce-eyed cyclist of all seasons who gladly turns his eyes into the wind, glad to feel the sting of sleet in his eyes. A rugged ruffian who laughs at the numbness in his fingers and frostbite in his cheeks, not to mention the way his eyeballs have turned to granite.
Oh, I’m sorry. I made a couple of little typos in that first paragraph, which could have possibly led to a misunderstanding of its meaning. It should have read as follows (additions in red,
deletions in strikeout):
I am not a hardy soul. I
amonce met a man who loves to brave the elements, to be in the great outdoors, no matter the weather, and I thought he was completely insane. As far as I’m concerned, nothing ruins a group ride more than having some Afierce-eyed cyclist of all seasons who gladly turns his eyes into the wind, glad to feel the sting of sleet in his eyes. Those guys are insane and just don’t know when to quit. To me, it seems completely ridiculous to be a Arugged ruffian who laughs at the numbness in his fingers and frostbite in his cheeks, not to mention the way his eyeballs have turned to granite. I mean, after all, hypothermia is no joke.
I apologize for any confusion my original rendering of that first paragraph may have conveyed. Because the reality is — and believe that as a person who has actually lived for a winter right on the edge of the Arctic Circle I can say this with some authority — I’m not a huge fan of the cold.
And so I have been riding the rollers this winter. A lot. Or at least, it feels like a lot. Because 45 minutes is seven years in rollers time.
But through this very long and cold winter, I’ve had a secret weapon: Netflix. I’m on the 2-DVDs-at-a-Time plan, which means that I pretty much always have at least one DVD ready to watch.
More importantly, though, I also have the instant streaming part of Netflix, piped in through both my PS3 and my AppleTV. Which means that I have a near-infinite number of movies at my beck and call, ready to watch anytime I want to throw a leg over the rollers.
The good news is: I never run out of shows to watch, and can pretty much always find something good enough to distract me from the fact that I’m riding the rollers.
The bad news is: I’m pretty sure my standards for “good enough” have fallen to a pretty low place, due to the “inconsistent” (those quotes are there to indicate I’m using “inconsistent” as a euphemism for “pretty bad”) selection of shows.
For example, I have recently watched:
- Lost Boys: The Thirst (genuinely truly awful, especially for those of us who remember the original Lost Boys with fondness)
- The Towering Inferno (probably was considered a thriller when it was made, back in 1872)
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (I found the plot too complex and unpredictable, so did not finish it)
- District 9 (OK, I actually liked this movie a lot)
- MST3K: Horrors of Spider Island (MST3K is awesome, but not for riding rollers to)
- MST3K: Tormented (OK, so why did I watch another one?)
- Mad Max (I didn’t find him all that mad. Maybe “Irritated Max” would have been a better title)
- The Matrix Revolutions (Proof that sequels aren’t always as awesome as the original, a fact which I know most people will be surprised by)
- Starship Troopers (I read the book as a kid. Was it as campy as the movie? I think it might actually have been.)
- The Burrowers (Worse than Lost Boys: The Thirst)
- Surrogates: Why does Bruce Willis hate all of us so much?
- Gamer (As a person who likes violent movies, you will have to trust me when I say this movie is way too violent.)
- Michael Jackson’s This Is It (This movie did what I would have considered an impossibility: it made me wish I could have seen this concert)
- Battlefield Earth (Has anyone watched more than the first 20 minutes of this movie? If so, did it get any better?)
And that’s just a sampling of films I am not too embarrassed to admit I’ve seen.
The thing is, though, it’s at least something to watch when the weather’s too lousy to go outside. And when it’s too cold to ride, I’m (obviously) not very picky about what I watch.
But there’s a problem.
Little by little, the weather’s been getting better, but my laziness has meanwhile gotten worse and worse. To the point where I’ve been thinking, “Oh sure, I could go ahead and suit up in tights, a thermal top, a long sleeve jersey, a jacket, a beanie, and gloves in addition to all my other gear, or I could just throw on shorts and a jersey and get on the rollers and watch Netflix.
And then I ride the rollers, because it’s easier and faster and generally more convenient.
See the problem? Well, just in case you don’t, I’ll get all specific and stuff:
The problem is that I’m an idiot.
Here’s how I discovered I’m an idiot: I get on my bike and take it outside, and rediscover what I’ve known (and discovered and rediscovered thousands of times) for like twenty years now — riding a bike (any bike, whether it be road, mountain, townie or whatever) outside is so much better than riding a trainer or rollers.
Somehow, magically, even though it’s pretty much exactly the same physical activity, having your bike go somewhere when you pedal it changes cycling from exercise into fun.
The alchemy is crazy: Pedaling on rollers for 45 minutes: pure hell. Pedaling down a straight, featureless road for 45 minutes: awesome. Why? I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. But the truth is, the worst ride outside is immeasurably better than the most awesome session on a stationary bike, ever.
So, Netflix: thanks for keeping me (more or less) sane during the winter. I appreciate it. And maybe I’ll see you next winter.
But I am so glad spring is here.