Feeling the need to work off a big brunch and a bigger hangover from one of the most demoralizing sporting experiences of my life, I went for a ride. I know there are people who ride dozens of miles each day, but for me, on my balky mountain bike, even twenty minutes is a workout. Part of the reason, of course, is that, since I can only shift into high gear going down a steep, smoothly paved hill, I just leave it there at all times. This makes traversing poorly paved paths an adventure, especially in the wake of this past summer's monsoon. When the sediment piles up, skidding is inevitable, as the remaining cactus spines lodged in my limbs will attest. Anyway, today I decided to see whether the major thoroughfare-free route -- I'm not looking to get clipped from behind -- I'd planned from my house to the Foothills Mall would work. And it did, though the back roads just north of Magee are astonishingly bumpy and I realized that I can't make it down the dirt portion of Romero, south of the intersection with Dawn, without dismounting once or twice and wishing I had a few more times because the sandy patches are too deep to make for predictable forward progress. That's alright, though, because I have to walk the bike across Magee and La Cañada anyway, depriving me of the continuous pedaling I'd hoped for. It's a lot safer to wait for a window at the intersection and walk across than to keep riding by turning right and then waiting for a gap in which to double back. The next question is whether I can manage this route at night, which is my goal, without worrying about savage beasts attacking me on that one stretch of Romero. Maybe I should get a weapon. . .