Prune wheely happy with two new additions to his bicycle

THE PRUNE’S HANDLEBARS ride above his new front tire, ready to circumnavigate Green Lake. submitted photo

by Todd Sharp

I got me some new wheels.

Not the kind of wheels you might be thinking, like a new car or new rubber tires but some new wheels — hubs, rims and spokes from Mike at Mike’s Bike. These handmade bicycle wheels come in at a featherweight 720 and 830 grams.

I previously wrote about finding a spark to re-energize the passions you love. This set of wheels reignited my need to pedal.

It’s late Friday afternoon. I can’t concentrate on work so I wrote this instead.

I desperately want to get out and ride on these new wheels. I’m hoping to ride to Princeton, the longer, southern route around Green Lake.

West on Hwy. K, past all the folks enjoying Friday fish fries at Walker’s, Center House and Reilly’s, pop out on Hwy. 73 for a treacherous mile of trucks, trailers and fast cars whizzing by and pedal the hill separating Green Lake from the Fox River on Hwy. D to Princeton.

The claim is the new wheels will be faster. I’m ready to ride as far as I can before the sun gets too low in the sky.

Might be on and off the bike all weekend.

* * *

Friday night, with the wind out of the west, I took off for Princeton later than planned and rode straight up Stonehill Quarry Road, out past the Avery and Kennedy horse farms.

I flew 42 mph down Spaulding Bridge Road (I go faster downhill now that I weigh more — fat guy wins the downhill race!) into Green Lake past Shoreline Marina and Tuscumbia, through downtown and past all the white tents getting set up for the Green Lake Art Fair.

West out of Green Lake on Old Princeton Road. Up and down those beautifully steep hills, past the Pineapple Hill apple farm and then into Princeton on Old Green Lake Road.

It’s probably a psychological boost but the improved ride felt fast and easy. I could push another gear or two higher with the same effort. The new wheels were smoother, and had some give with more spring.

There has always been a rhythmic jolt of unfilled cracks riding Old Green Lake Road, the length and depth of the fissures in the blacktop are particularly distinct when you can feel each one without the aid of shock absorbers and cushy seats. I can tell you, there is nothing as punishing as an unofficial road inspection on a bike with the tires pumped up to 110 PSI. The difference between a smooth, well-built road and a road that desperately needs repair is jarring.

This time, thanks to my new wheels, my butt wasn’t sore from those cracks.

Saturday and Sunday were both gorgeous, hot summer days for riding.

I easily put on more than 80 miles!

I made it to the southern lake route and I discovered, again, that following the heat of the spark resulted in a refreshing rejuvenation of my favorite exercise and meditation.

New parts for an old bike helped make this plump, prunish fellow a little more energized.

I’m back on the road with a spring in my spoke and gentle ease on my mind.

Editor’s note: When not whining about his sore butt,Todd Sharp is selling advertising for the Green Laker, Express and The Ripon Commonwealth Press.