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'Covid 23' lost somewhere while biking to New York

Columnist Dan Conradt has LA in his sight on a new-to-him exercise bike.

Dan Conradt column sig

It was a Tuesday when I finally got to New York. The last 25 miles were more than my usual morning ride and my legs were rubbery when I got off the bike, but it felt good.

Los Angeles is next.

I was just finishing a package of Chips Ahoy! when Steven called, and he sounded excited: “Hey, dad! I just sent you a picture! Take a look!”

I opened the photo.

“Wow! Does the odometer work?”


“Yeah! It’s good as new!”

“How much?”

“Fifty bucks.”

“Get it!”

He texted back five minutes later: “GOT IT!”

I texted him a “thumbs up” and started making a list:

Albert Lea 22

Rochester 42


Minneapolis 99

Chicago 378

Denver 839

New York 1,167

Los Angeles 1,852

Tour de France 2,200

Circumference of Earth 24,901

Three days later, Steven and I were admiring the new centerpiece of the downstairs family room.


“It’s perfect!” I said. “I think I’ll go for a ride.”

Steven had become a regular at the local used-a-bit store, and I’d given him an assignment: “Keep your eyes open for a good used exercise bike.”

“Why?” he asked.

“I’ve always wanted one,” I said.

That much was true, but my interest had become more than just a curiosity: mostly because of pandemic inactivity, I’d gained the unwanted “Covid 19.” In my case, it peaked atthe "Covid 23.” I stepped onto the bathroom scale one morning to watch the slot machine-type numbers flash across the digital screen before stopping at 195.6.

It had happened so gradually that the number was unexpected and alarming, and the news didn’t get any better: I Googled an “ideal weight” chart and found that, for my height, anything over 195 pounds made me “overweight.”

Overweight?! I’d never been overweight in my life!

And that’s when I sent Steven on his mission: “I don’t want one of those fancy bikes with a personal trainer who’s going to yell at me. And I don’t want one of those killer seats. And it HAS to have an odometer.”

“Why do you need an odometer?”

“That’s just the way my mind works,” I said. “If I can keep track of how far I ride, I can visualize it and feel like I’m accomplishing something. If I can ride 42 miles, it’s like I went from here to Rochester. Who knows? I might even make it to Minneapolis.”

The first ride was 2 miles that made my legs sore for three days, and I was tempted to take the bike back to the used-a-bit store.

I didn't and I stuck with it and now I finally had made it to New York.

I hadn't been rained on or chased by a dog, there are no steep hills and my refrigerator is just up the stairs.

Today I’m 200 miles from LA, and I’ve lost the Covid 23.

I’m going to look right at home on Venice Beach.

Dan Conradt, a lifelong Mower County resident, lives in Austin with his wife, Carla Johnson.

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