Don’t go out for your first real bike ride in months and try to go hard. Just don’t do it.

But if you do, don’t let your heart rate go into the red zone. Red zone meaning you’re not sure whether you’re heart’s really supposed to beat that fast.

But if you do find yourself looking at that high heart rate, don’t engage in hijinks like trying to show the other guys how fast you can go — even for just a couple minutes, which is really all your atrophied legs have in them.

But if you do start showing off, don’t let anyone talk you into taking the hard climb back home when there’s an easier one you know you really should take.

But if you do let reason be overruled, don’t ride out ahead of the other guys, even if you’re telling them you’re just warming up for the hard part of the climb (note: it’s all hard).

But if you do go off the front a little, don’t lose track of where your friends are. They might take a turn you weren’t expecting.

But if you do get separated, don’t waste a lot of time looking for them, and don’t hesitate to take easy bail-out route back home you had in mind instead of trying to push yourself up the wall in front of you.

But if you do look for them, and if you do try the wall, don’t get off your bike, whatever you do.

But if the damned hill is just too hard for you in your broken-down state — OK, get off. And if you do, take a look around at all the stuff you’d miss if you were just grinding your way up the grade. When you get back on your bike, and finally hit the top of the hill, you’ll be amazed that you ever thought it was hard. Don’t tell anyone it was.

July Fourth (I)


Mount Diablo, from El Toyonal, in the East Bay hills above Orinda. Kate and I took Scout — our dog — up there for an early evening walk on the Fourth of July; the road starts down in the village of Orinda and climbs high up the ridge; the northern section was closed by a slide in 1982 and was never reopened; it’s a great walking and cycling spot that I’d heard lots about but never ridden until my friend Bruce suggested using it as a shortcut to a climb we wanted to do.