Ol' Paint at Chidorigafuchi

Farewell, Ol’ Paint

Today I braved 35C heat and put in nearly 60km in what is probably my last ride on Ol’ Paint, my faithful steed of the last nine years.

I bought Ol’ Paint, a Marin Muirwoods, at a shop near my office in 2009. When I bought her, she’d been on display there for a year or more. I’d had my eye on her that whole time. I knew she was my size. And my assumption then was that most of my riding would be my daily commute (then about 5km one-way, now 12.5km).

Ol' Paint at the Imperial Palace
Ol’ Paint at the Imperial Palace

About that I was wrong. It didn’t take long until I was regularly riding up and down the Tamagawa cycling path every weekend. It did take a while for me to explore that route to both ends (which I do regularly now) and even longer before I branched out on other rides: to Yokohama, to Tokyo Disneyland on the Arakawa cycling path, and around the center of Tokyo to see various landmarks.

Ol’ Paint has been a faithful companion for all those rides. And yet, she’s optimised for the original purpose I’d bought her for: city commuting. On longer tours, I suffer from hand numbness as a result of the flat handlebars (and my weight). And that’s the reason I’m saying goodbye now.

Farewell route: Tokyo Landmarks
Not shown: Additional 3 hours of rest

I thought a while about what to do for the farewell ride. Last night I was completely convinced I’d do the entire Tamagawa cycling course round trip (about 140km). This morning as I was preparing for the ride and considering the heat, I decided to do a more realistic spin around the Tokyo Landmarks. It’s a ride we’ve enjoyed together many times, and I knew there were several spots where I could rest out of the sun and enjoy rice balls provided by Nana.

As it is, the heat nearly got the best of me. I pushed Ol’ Paint up the Kudanzaka, which I have always in the past cycled up, to come to a rest by Budokan and Chidorigafuchi. It was all I could do to stand. I’m glad to say I still had two of Nana’s rice balls, and I sat in the shade to eat them. I followed that with a stop at a convenience store to purchase a liter of bottled water. Thus refreshed, I had the energy to complete the ride and make a triumphal return home.

Farewell, Ol’ Paint

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