It’s been a funny year. For about six months, I couldn’t have cared less about cycling. I was a sedentary, wintery blimp on the couch. Then suddenly, I rediscovered bikes. How does that happen? It’s not like anything (other than a drastic weather improvement) really happened in the last few months… I don’t know what it is, but I feel like I’m back in the groove.
So much so, that I now have two rides backed up in my queue! The first was about a week ago, along the Cedar River Trail on The Gazelle Trimsport (must qualify which Gazelle I speak of now! Yea!). The trail is so damned familiar at this point that I really was riding mostly on autopilot, just out there pumping my legs and enjoying the sunshine.
Just before I snapped this picture, two young men in a golf cart drove up next to me inside the fence. My first thought was: they cannot actually be that interested in my old bike. I was right! They were hoping I would throw their golf ball back in. Given the height of the fence, this proved impossible, but I did manage to roll it at them. Hadn’t had that happen before!
The river is absolutely gorgeous this time of year, as is, frankly, The Gazelle Trimsport. So glittery and shiny!
About twelve miles into my ride, I realized I really, really needed to pee. There are bathrooms on this trail, but they’re all at the 2-3 mile mark, and let’s admit it: on a 20-mile loop, I wasn’t really very close to them in terms of the sheer number of minutes it would take to bike those next six miles. This essentially constituted an emergency. But never fear! I am an experienced nature-pee-er! I have camped for days in remote areas, so I know from peeing in the woods, my friend.
The Cedar River Trail has a sweet little trail offshoot that follows the river for a ways at about the point where I decided it was time to christen the local flora. I wandered down it for quite some time with The Gazelle Trimsport, working to get us far from view. I wasn’t so concerned about someone spotting me as I found relief as I was about someone seeing my unattended bike! At any rate, I eventually felt we were out of sight enough to leave The Gazelle Trimsport there basking in the sunshine and continue on alone. I certainly left the bike in a very scenic spot.
I really like peeing in the woods, actually. Should I admit this? But it’s true. If one doesn’t have to do… well, MORE than pee, it’s a very pleasant experience. Sort of freeing.
You can tell I was raised by hippies.
Anyway, we soldiered on, and I logged twenty miles on that miserable damned seat. Must make a furry seat cover soon!
A few days later, I spent a lovely day out with my son. It’s nearing his birthday, and since he had the day off from school for one of those horrid professional development days I used to loathe so much, I decided to do his birthday early.
First, we headed over to REI to get him his present: a new bike. He’s grown so much in the last couple years that his old 20″ bike no longer fit him. The interesting thing I discovered about the small jump to a 24″ kid’s bike is that while there is little real difference between the two sizes, both the selection and the price change wildly in the larger size. There really weren’t many bikes to choose from, and what there was fell into three categories: utter, complete Walmart-quality garbage I wouldn’t waste $150 on that even if the store did assemble it, would probably require an immediate tune-up at the bike shop to be even vaguely bearable; extremely beat up and grossly overpriced used Specialized stuff on Craigslist, posted by parents desperate to recoup some of the $500 they shelled out last year; and very expensive new Specialized stuff at bike shops, around $350-$500. None of this appealed to me. I finally settled on what felt like an expensive (but was actually somewhere in the low-middle range) bike from REI. The benefits of buying the bike there were that I could return it if necessary, they assemble and tune the bikes when you buy them, and then they offer you a free touch-up tune up within the first six months. This made the just under $300 price tag more reasonable, though barely. Let’s just say this one better last us more than 2 years. Like, at least 2.5 years, you know?
Still, he loves it. It’s a Diamondback, with the usual extraneous 21-gears. The big difference I can see between it and the $200 bikes My Great Guy bought The Girls is that the components and finishes on this bike are nicer: better brands, with nicely thought-out graphics and cool touches like the black rims. Otherwise, the frame quality is no different. I would have gladly spent something in that range, but the bikes for girls in this size are myriad: for boys, not so much. After all, I don’t care about the components on his bike. But in the end, he loves riding, so he’ll make good use of it.
We headed over to the Burke Gilman Trail for our ride, and did about seven miles, which is a lot for him. He has a “new” camera that he bought used from Amazon with his yard-work money, and busied himself taking lots of photos of his bike, and the other interesting things on the trail.
It was a bucolic spring day, with buttercups and sunshine and a warm breeze in between a few short sprinkles of rain. We had a great ride, and firmly established that he can now kick my butt in terms of speed, but I still own him on stamina. That kid is crazy fast on that new bike!
I snapped one shot of The Raleigh alone, and honestly, I think it looks like one of those bizarrely detailed architectural mock-up drawings. Seriously not real.