Geological cycles, that is, bicycles
Originally posted on Research & Collections:
I’m getting back on my touring bike these days for weight loss, fuel savings, exercise and fun, even though I sometimes need the Jaws of Life to pry me off that little bitty bicycle seat. We did 45 miles on Saturday and a “recovery ride” of about 30 on Sunday. The muscles in my legs are tired, and I’m still not much good for anything but sitting around blogging. Moving around the house is an adventure (“Daddy, do you have noodle legs?”), and I’m still trying to decide if I am simply stiff or if rigor mortis is setting in. I did the bicycle commute on Tuesday with 20 pounds of gear in the panniers, which may have been a mistake.
You get a better feel for topography on a bicycle than in a car. Geology is often expressed as topography. Same thing with geological processes like erosion. Geology is a good way to distract yourself while pedaling uphill.
When I lived in Oklahoma, we had some wonderful rides with the bicycling community there, including freezing late night Christmas rides to look at all the decorations and lights. One of the dominant features of Tulsa geology was Pennsylvanian age sandstone layers that had been tilted out of horizontal, dipping down to the northwest if my memory serves. From one direction, it was a very long uphill ride. From the other direction, a very short and very steep uphill ride, where the unwary cyclist has to either gear down quickly or else risk the embarrassment of falling over sideways while still clipped into their pedals. A group of us challenged ourselves to personal best top speeds on one of those long downhills. My cycling computer said 50 mph max when I was done. I didn’t watch too closely: it was exhilarating up to 40 mph, but after that it was just terrifying. Hitting a bump or a rock would have been catastrophic.