Two favorite activities, one always enjoyed privately, the other almost always with friends.  I’ll post thoughts about the books I read and bike rides I take.


I’ve been off the bike for 12 days.  I didn’t ride for a week before Christmas and on Christmas morning I wore with my throat on fire and a fever.  I canceled that morning’s ride.  I spent most of the ensuing week in bed, yo-yo-ing between sweats and fever.  About four days into my flu, I took the dog out for a 15-minute walk.  When I returned I only had the energy to crawl back into bed.  I am improving ever so slowly.  Chills and fever are gone and I’ve graduated to hacking up brown and green loveliness.  I’d say I’m at about 80% and am somewhat hesitant to venture out on a bike.  Perhaps in a day or two…


All this should have left me with plenty of reading time — and it did, only I read wrong things, mainly my phone.  During breaks between checking FB, game scores, and eBay auctions on my phone I managed to find slivers of time for reading Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie and Paul Kimmage’s Rough Ride.  Catherine is terrifically informative.  I would have even liked more depth and context but to Massie’s credit, you can fit only so much detail in 600 pages.  The book provides a different and much more rounded portrait of a monarch of a country where I grew up written from a perspective opposite to the Soviet view of the second half of the XVIII century Russia.  


Meanwhile, reading Rough Ride is almost cheating — it’s cycling autobiography about doping in the professional peloton in the early 1980s, although I haven’t gotten to the doping part yet.  I’d read it ten or more years ago, then one day in December I found myself without a book, so I bought it on iBooks and am re-reading it on my phone.  I suppose not all the phone reading is wrong.