For the last 15 years I carried around a bicycle lock in my shop work bag. Why? Because I knew one day I would need that chain. Well, the day finally arrived yesterday when I bought a brand new bike.
The previous day I had my husband dig through the shed and take out my old bike. It hasn't gotten much, any, use since moving down here because of all the hills, mountains as well as the lack of sidewalks. But I suddenly decided I needed to get back on a bike after a conversation with my Brooklyn cousin whereby I lamented how fit and trim I was living in New York City, and attributed it to all the walking and bike riding I used to do. I conveniently "forgot" that was way BC, (before children) but it still made me ponder if perhaps riding a bike again would be a good way to lose some weight and limber up my aching bones.
My husband dusted off Betsey and filled the brittle tires with air. The hard narrow seat hurt, and the squeaky brakes annoyed me, but the bike still worked, so off I went. Since Salem has some Greenways not far from the shop, I figured it would be an ideal location to give it a spin. So I rode along the path I usually walk. The worst part was getting to the path as I had to walk the bike up a rather steep hill and across a bridge dodging traffic on Colorado. I was out of breath by the time I even got to the Greenway.
As I began to pedal, coasting every couple of seconds to bend down and pull apart the front brake clamp, I realized I had missed bike riding. It felt nice to have the wind whipping through my hair and was much more pleasurable than pedaling in my basement while watching television. When I got to a high point on the trail I pedalled really fast and then sped down loving it until I began to go too fast and was in danger of losing control. I squeezed on the brakes hard. They squeaked, yet failed. My hand ached as I pumped and pumped, and the sole of my sneaker practically had smoke coming off of it as I dragged it along the roadway. I finally stopped. It was scary, yet exhilarating!
It was at that point when I realized if I want to continue this madness it would probably be best if I got a new bike. I made it back to the shop and went on-line to see what was out there. I was feeling rather sore on my butt and my hands throbbed in pain. Thank you RA. I was thrilled to find that there were bikes that didn't just use hand brakes, as that would have been a deal-breaker for me. I found a couple of coaster bikes that used foot brakes, so immediately asked my husband to put down the wrench and fire up the jalopy, I mean pick up truck.
There were two bikes that fit my requirements -- a comfy seat and foot brakes. The first one was white, and when I took it for a spin around the aisles it felt too flimsy. I wasn't crazy about the white seat either which would get dirty in the shop, and wasn't as cushy as I hoped. Then I saw another one, way, way up on the rack. It looked way cooler. It had fenders, a back thingamajig to put things on, a leather pouch, drink holder and even a bottle opener on the side of the front wheel. Who could ask for anything more? Although I think bottle caps are no longer even being made, but hey let's keep it vintage, shall we?
My husband struggled to get the bike down, but he did, and in one piece. I took it for a spin and it felt way more comfortable than the other one. The seat even had springs to cushion my bouncing butt and I was happy to discover that now you don't even need a wrench to adjust the height! I liked the colors and even the faux wood trim. It reminded me of Pee Wee Herman's bike. Sold! Here she is -- she's a beauty, isn't she?
Naturally the first order of business was getting a speedometer. The second order was getting it to work! I bought a wireless one which shows mileage, speed, outdoor temperature, time, how long before your heart gives out, etc. My husband, being a man, didn't read the directions so it didn't work. I read the directions and told him he put the magnet thingie on the left side of the wheel instead of the right as the directions had instructed. He laughed at me, but switched it, and voila! it worked!
So, early this morning I went to work, I mean I went to the shop, to get on my bike. Last night I had put a bottle of water in the freezer so brought that and my camera along with me. The water fit perfectly in the cup holder and the camera in the pouch. Off I went. It was still a struggle getting up the hill. I then rode from one trail, across the road to another trail, around a sports complex, and along the river for one hour. The speedometer said I rode for 8 miles. It felt more like 18 miles. I burned 276 calories and took some great photos which I will post after I take some other shots I want.
I started a chart of what I weigh before this bike experiment to see if I am making any progress. I've also put my pain level on it as well to see if it alleviates it, or, makes it worse. Hopefully all will go well and I will be svelte and wearing Lycra in no time, but until then, this is how I think of myself as I'm riding it...