Friday, April 6, 2012

A Long Way

Had an rare hour of free time downtown yesterday before the evening class. With specialty shopping done, I was drawn to the library like a moth to a flame. They were staging the semi-quarterly book sale and I wandered down to the lower level for a look. I love buying used books. For whatever reason to see Twain, Hemingway, Thurber, Elliott, Fitzgerald and Stein at a buck each, to me seems to put some balance back in a world gone soundly off axis. I also play a little game with the book sale because I have gotten carried away in the past and have ended up needing a U-Haul to tote my literary findings home. I set a budget. Yesterday's was $5. That's it. Five bucks. And the hunt was on.

I passed on MaCarthy, Kingsolver, Oates and Rushdie. Considered upping the budget over a beautiful coffee table collection of Japanese prints, and turned an arrogant lip to Joyce, Homer and The Bard. Time was getting tight and I was holding but a single tome under arm. Come on, you can do it; Best value, a didactic component, relative, utilitarian, compelling. Four dollars left.

Cooking is too easy. DIY too redundant. The classics too musty. I headed over to the sports category and was appalled by the dearth of contemporary cycling reads. Back to fiction with ten minutes to go and the former presidents screaming from my pocket.

And then I found the vein. A gold-leaf section of exactly what I was after. Literary paydirt with nary a Suess in sight.

Umberto Eco. Italo Calvino, David Korten, Elmore Leonard and Jane S. Peters.

Jane S. Peters?

Yes, THAT Jane S. Peters, author of The Indoor Bicycling Fitness Program, published in 1985 by McGraw-Hill. That was it. I was scurrying towards check-out with what I was confident was a priceless collection of printed words for what I anticipated would be a steal, and under budget.

$4.50 please said the librarian turned cashier, as she eyeballed the collection.

"I love Eco and Calvino", she said, "and you know Mr. Korten speaks here often…and this, is….what…..Indoor Bicycling Fitness?….reading is way easier….but you enjoy it."

I will thanks.

Pix: My $4.50 bounty including Ms Peters seminal work on indoor cycling. Chapter Five has a few pages on the original RacerMate turbo trainer, the predecessor of today's CompuTrainer. There is also a picture of a Neiman-Marcus LaserTour Lifecycle rig that played video while you ride. Imagine that. For $20,000 you could have had one in 1985. We have come a long way.

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