Monday, June 7, 2010

Learning to Fly

Many guys must have been called crazy as they tried to strap canvas to wood planks in a quest to fulfill their vision of flight. Many also failed. Even one of the famous Wright brothers in the end lost his life in one of his own planes.

I recently saw the new “Alice in Wonderland” movie and one of the things hit me. Both her father and the Mad Hatter both pointed out that essentially crazy people are the only ones who really get any big things done. Maybe a “sane” person would have given up on the whole light bulb idea after maybe a hundred tries, never mind over a thousand.

Vision. Obsession? Insanity? I love G. K. Chesterton’s quote, “Angel’s can fly because they take themselves lightly.” There does seem something poetic, even a romantic lure about what seems to be insanity. That drive is important, crucial.

I don’t know what has gotten into me about bicycles but if you ever get to see the movie, “The World’s Fastest Indian” maybe you can understand that odd drive a bit more. It’s doesn’t even matter how fast I ride my bicycle… but for some reason I’ve just got to ride it with passion.

So now I have this nearly functional 10 speed road bike aka, “SHADE” originally built in October of 1983. I have $28.50 from doing a yard sale to try to raise the bicycle repair fee fund. But the question is when ever I can get it or the Green lady fixed so I can ride a road bike what will I actually do?

How do I teach it… and myself to learn how to fly? First of all two things primarily make you go faster on a road bike. One, a lighter road bike (Well it’s about as light as a small tank but it is what I got and what I can afford, but I did strip off all the reflectors and kickstand to do my part) Then there is the lighter me… (still working on that but I can proudly say lighter than last year!) And of course, light in the head, check!

Then there is the idea of more power… Back to the Wright brothers. When they wanted a powerful yet light engine for their plane and they couldn’t find anyone who could make one… so you know what they did? Yup, these crazy bicycle guys made an engine for themselves, in fact one that had more horse power than they estimated while building it. Well, last big ride for me was 23 miles on rail trails on dirt and small gravel so I’m building my engine!

There is a third thing that has to do with aerodynamics but I find that a just a real drag to talk about.

Anyways these guys also needed a place to do their tests with the gliders, kites, and planes. They found a great beach area with good winds. The poet in me kept asking myself, “Where do I learn how to fly on a bicycle?” then it hit me. There is a perfect strip of level road in a line that goes parallel to the local airport complete with wide breakdown lanes to ride in. I will be peddling faster learning to fly on my road bicycle as those planes leave the ground right close by! How’s that for some visual motivation?!

At Foolsfitness we are requesting permission for take-off…Alan


  1. Way to go, Alan! The airstrip road is perfect in so many ways.

    I love the way you tell a story. Maybe you could consider writing and illustrating your own action/adventure series about your bicycle--and life. "The Adventures of FoolsFitness and His Flying Lady." :D


  2. Everytime someone mentions flying bicycles, I think of ET. It's my alien obsession...

    Hey, I'm pretty sure it was you who mentioned something about needing a badge-type thing. I saw this one when I was in Utah this weekend: There's a new sheriff in town! I didn't buy it cause it was a pretty broke trip, but I'm pretty sure they have the same type in the Vegas gift shop if you're interested. Lemme know :)

  3. permission granted alan....
    Have fun with shade.
    talk to you in a few some pics of your rides.
    Bye for now.

  4. How fun that you've found a passion that is not only fun, but physical. Sounds like we have many more Flying stories to come. :-)


    you are a talented writer.

    me? im easy. intended or not I shall be singing tom petty's LEARRRNING TO FLLLLYYYYY in my head all morning.

  6. Hi Alan. Made me so happy reading this - that you have found something that you really enjoy so much - it's a fringe benefit for you that it also burns calories. So great!

    I also love the way you tell it :)

    Bearfriend xx


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