Today, the Creme and The Panasonic both made trips down to my local bike store, GHY, to be packed for shipping. The Creme will return to England via a courier from Chain Reaction. Hopefully by tomorrow or Tuesday, The Panasonic will be winging its way to Albuquerque to join the stable of a loyal rideblog reader. I know he’ll enjoy it. I cleaned the bike up today, and was very sorry to see it go. It’s so gorgeous… but the bike will be better utilized by someone who will ride it hard and fast, as was intended. That bike needs to stretch its pretty legs a bit! Here is a last look:
Still Bicycle of the Gods.
Deep breath. Repeat: all things are transitory, and change is good.
Yesterday was The Boy’s seventh birthday party, and his present, a Nintendo DS system, needed wrapping. I also had a small package to mail. I decided to ride my bike to run errands. While I love our house and our neighborhood, we are rather far away from most grocery stores and other shops, in biking terms. There is a very nice grocery store nearby, but it’s down at the bottom of a ridiculously steep hill. There’s simply no way I could get there on a bike. I might get down, but getting back would be beyond my fitness capabilities. I do see road bikes coming up it on occasion, but they are generally being ridden by men with impressive thighs. Fortunately, there is an old, rather run-down strip mall in the other direction. It once had a grocery store, though that’s long gone. Remaining are a drug store, a Hooters/bowling alley (this makes me smile even writing it), a few small specialized shops and the Post Office. Perfect for today’s errands!
First, The Viva had to brave The Driveway of Broken Glass. It’s now a right of passage for all my bikes. The Viva trembled in terror and tried to run away as we approached. Apparently, The Raleigh and The Panasonic were telling terrifying stories in the garage after the lights were out. To The Viva’s enormous relief, everything went well.
Lest folks think this is actually composed of nicely-sanded sea glass or that I’m exaggerating the horror, here is a close-up. It’s a glittering gallery of suffering!
The stores are just under two miles away from my house, which was the perfect distance, given how tired my thighs were! I stopped first at the Post Office to mail my package. The Post Office has a great little bike rack, but I quickly realized I would need a better lock if I were to do this regularly. My thin little cable lock would provide only the minimum of insurance against a thief. I think a new U-lock is also in order. Combined, cable and U should be more than sufficient for errand-running with a big Dutch bike. The mere fact that this bike is giant and sedate and not made by Lightspeed or some other famous brand should limit the thief pool around my house considerably. I have never even seen another Dutch bike in the area. I can’t imagine that many bike thieves around here are looking for bikes like mine, but some extra security wouldn’t hurt.
Note how pathetically small that cable looks. That wouldn’t even deter some of my readers (cough: Veloria), who have already expressed their desire for the bike in the comments section. Good thing they don’t know where I live, or I could easily see one of them lurking around the drug store with some snips… shifty readers!
After the Post Office, we stopped at the drug store for wrapping paper. The Basil basket was perfect for this occasion. I felt almost French riding home, though a baguette would have been more picturesque. On the way back, The Viva and I decided to try out those lower gears on the hill the runs parallel to our neighborhood. Basically, I could turn at the beginning of this hill, and head straight to our house. Or I could ride down this hill, up the next hill, and around the back way into our neighborhood, and then to our house. This would add a mile or so, and give me a good sense of The Viva’s performance capabilities on short, steep hills.
Like Robert Frost, I chose the Road Less Travelled. I’m not sure it made all the difference, but I did have fun. The lowest gear on The Viva isn’t all that low. In fact, I suspect the newly re-geared Raleigh will be a similar little hill climber. Still, I got up this admittedly short hill-monster without stopping or standing on the pedals, so The Viva will be perfectly adequate for my needs. Later this summer, I can attempt the ride out to our further shopping center, which isn’t down the monster hill, but certainly isn’t a: close or b: downhill the whole way.
The neighborhood is quite pretty right now, with blooming trees and neatly-kept houses. We ended up here because we fell in love with our house and its beautiful view out to the mountains, but the fact that there are strict neighborhood rules has turned out to be a good thing. We’re probably one of the shaggier houses on our street, actually, because we mow our lawn with a push mower, which means the grass is always a bit longer and the edges are less precise.
All in all, the Viva did exactly what I hoped it would do. Once The Raleigh has a functional rear brake, I’ll have two good grocery-hauling, pleasure-riding, pretty bikes to ride. What more could I want? Repeat: all things are transitory, and change is good.