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Archive for September 16th, 2009

Two wheeler.

I’ve come to the realization as of late that I have become very far removed from the things that I used to do and be, things that I never thought I would leave behind.  But this is how life goes.  You get busy with other things — going to college, getting a job, getting married, buying a house, starting a family — and the things you used to do get further and further away. 

So I’ve decided that I need to test the theory that you never really forget how to ride a bike. 

I have a bike.  It’s my mom’s old bike from the 1970’s, a Schwinn Collegiate.  It’s been hanging from the rafters of our storage area since we moved into our house 14 years ago.  I feel sure the tires are rotten. 

Rather than go to the considerable expense of reworking a bike that I’m really not all that in love with (think rusty handlebars and specially-sized tires), I’ve been looking around at new bikes. 

Yikes.  (which rhymes!) 

To me, a bike is a bike is a bike.  Two wheels, pedals, brakes, a seat.  Maybe some streamers on the handlebars.  Or soda straws spliced onto the spokes.  I mean, I know, academically, that there are all kinds of bikes.  The question has become, what kind of bike to get.  Since I don’t live in the mountains, a mountain bike is probably not going to do it for me.  I don’t plan to race, so a racing bike isn’t what I need.  And a recumbent bike is just too weird looking for my taste.  I just want one to toodle around town with, maybe with a basket.  I want to get some exercise and not look too old-ladyish. 

I looked at Walmart and Target, but there’s no one there to tell me what kind of bike I need.  And they all sorta look the same. 

I went to a specialty bike shop, one that caters to touring cyclists and racers, but couldn’t get anyone to say boo to me (probably because I don’t look the part of the serious cyclist), so I left. 

There is a bike shop in my little town, and every Tuesday when I’m walking my two miles around the downtown area, I stop and look in the window.  Three Tuesdays in a row and I think I may have an idea.  I think I want a Townie. 

This is, of course, having never talked to anyone about my bike needs or without having any idea what a Townie costs.  I just think that might be the bike for me. 

When I was a kid, my grandmother got the notion that she needed a bike.  Except as a kid she never learned to ride a bike (too poor to afford one, it was the Depression, after all), so she didn’t know how to balance on two wheels.  My mother brought her Schwinn Collegiate for my grandmother to try, and I can honestly say that if you haven’t learned to balance on two wheels by the time you’re 66 years old, it’s unlikely that you will ever learn.  A nice neighbor brought my grandmother his adult trike (it was yellow, I seem to think) and she rode it down the street to the train depot and back and that was the end of that. 

It was inconceivable to me.  As a kid I lived on my bike.  How could anyone not know how?  How could anyone not want to know how? 

And now here I am, so far removed from the kid I used to be and wondering how I got this far off. 

And wondering if I still remember how to balance. 

 

— Mox

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