Aaaannnnddd… Problem solved.

Like mine, but in better condition

I’m glad I didn’t get rid of my old bike — “Old Ironsides” I call it, because it’s an ancient three-speed similar to the one my dad used to ride to work each day. I guess I hung onto it, because it reminds me of those days when my dad was still young and vigorous and had the energy to bike to and from work — and come home for lunch in the summers so we kids could spend time with him.

Anyway, I picked up Old Ironsides one day when I was out doing errands. Where I live, when people don’t have use for things that haven’t yet worn out, they put them out on their curb with a ‘free’ sign, so people will help themselves. I threw Old Ironsides in the back of the van, and it’s been in my basement for the past 11 years or so.

I’ve pulled it out, now and then, to ride around, but it’s an old rattle-trap, with a slightly bent wheel in the front, and a bit of of bumpiness when you ride along. But the brakes work, and the gears still shift. It’s still a solid bike, and I’m glad I hung onto it.

I have been really challenged with my physical fitness, lately. I am lifting weights more deliberately now, and I also spend time each day juggling, which is good for my coordination — and my frustration tolerance. I have an exercise bike, and I ride it sometimes. I also take long walks on the country roads around my home, as well as hike in the woods. But sometimes I need more.

I used to have a really awesome bike — a Specialized Roubaix road bike, which was so light, and so good on bumpy surfaces. It was easy to ride, easy to handle, easy to put in the back of my little car and take wherever I wanted. The thing was, when I had it, I was struggling with balance issues, and I was not doing well with being out and about on my own. Riding my bike on back roads really concerned me, because of traffic and distractions and the potential of falling.

So, I sold the bike to someone who would love and care for it very well. It was a wise choice. But I have missed that bike ever since.

In the past years since I sold it, I have gradually gotten better about my balance and my ability to stay focused on what’s happening in front of me. I am still uncomfortable with the idea of ranging far and wide beyond my home on a bike, because I can’t afford to get hurt and not be able to get home. There are also lots of hills around my house, so it’s a killer workout to ride bikes around here.

But within two miles of my house, there are enough gently rolling hills and enough untraveled back roads that I can ride Old Ironsides on. It really gives me a workout, just pedaling up gentle inclines — let alone the 45-degree slopes not far from my front door. I have enough road to ride, just within a 2 mile radius, to get some exercise, get my blood pumping, and feel the wind rushing past me. Also, my bike is not good enough to go that fast, so the issue of velocity is… negligible.

So, this afternoon, I dragged Old Ironsides out of the garage, hauled it down to the gas station, filled up the tires, found my good bike helmet, threw on a fluorescent orange t-shirt, and took the bike out for a spin. I didn’t have to go far, to tucker myself out — but I also had a good time pedaling and covering some ground. I know it’s not the most advanced piece of machinery, but it got me exactly where I wanted to go, and back, so that’s good.

I’m feeling really positive about this. Another fall is not something I care to experience, and that chance was always in the back of my mind with the other bike. This one is literally incapable of moving at the kind of speed that’s a danger to me. It’s sturdy, solid, and it does the job it’s meant to do — move a person from one place to the next quicker than they could go on foot.

So, I’ve had my exercise for the day, and I’m looking forward to doing it again, when I get some time. Safety first. And then plenty of fun.

Well, it’s time to get some supper.

Onward.

Well, I sold my bikes

A number of years back, I bought a couple of really nice bikes — one road bike for the kinds of long trips I used to take, one hybrid that was more for riding on bike trails in the countryside or at the beach.

But after having them sit in my basement for years on end, I couldn’t take looking at them anymore. So, I sold them to some very appreciative folks who I am certain will give them good homes.

When I bought them, I had every intention of getting back into riding regularly. My schedule was freed up, and I had a lot of motivation. But I discovered that when I rode, I was pretty distracted by all the visual and audible input around me. And riding on back roads made me pretty nervous.

So, I stopped riding. Promised myself I’d try again later… But that never materialized. I could never seem to get past the anxiety of riding, the distractions of the road, and the potential danger of traffic around drivers who weren’t paying attention.

Letting them go was probably one of the harder things I’ve done in the past few years. But now that it’s done, I feel a certain sense of relief. I can now walk down into my basement without looking at the bikes and thinking, “When will I get back out there?” I can go on vacation without having to ponder the pros and cons of bringing a bike with me. I can do a lot of things now, without that extra consideration to noodle over.

And that’s fine. Because as much as I wanted to believe that I was going to get active in that way, fact of the matter is, my life has changed and I’m better off doing other things. And frankly, even if I was fine with riding on roads and being out and about on a moving bicycle, I probably still wouldn’t do it. Because I’ve got lots to do, and less time than I’d like. I just don’t have the hours to spend on back roads, anymore.

Time to move on.

And it’s fine.