I didn’t have to be at work until noon today, so I took the opportunity to go for a ride on the new bike, tentatively named Jack. She’s a Surly Long Haul Trucker, a green steel beauty, a touring bike. I’ve been riding a big pink cruiser for the past year, so this is a huge upgrade in speed. I’ve already realized that there’s a lot more to riding this bike than Rhoda. There are gears to shift, hand grips to rotate, brakes to feather. It is so, so fun. Today was our first ride up to the levees on the Mississippi River bike path. I just wanted to get out there on the smooth pavement and jet. I stopped to take this picture of the river on the Fly. You can see the water and the wintry tree, but you can’t see the billowing industrial smoke on the other side. I hope, though, that this cell phone picture (the digital camera is still hiding) captures the oddly ugly beauty of this place. I got this new bicycle largely so I could train to ride tours up and down the river, like Huck Finn. I am officially In Training. I learned something else important on this ride: there’s a reason people wear those funny bike shorts. So I veered off the path and visited a bike shop, bought some cycling shorts, and wore them out of the store. Here’s hoping I get a chance to wear them tomorrow. But don’t worry about Rhoda–she’s still my everyday bike, and she will continue to get lots of attention. I think the two will get along famously. And for those of you curious about the new bike, here she is. You’ll be seeing a lot, lot more of her.