I got a bike for my birthday. But not just a bike, a beautiful bike! A brand new, first class, iridescent PINK, chrome silvered, black fendered, girl friendly comfort bike! Easy to change gears, big soft seat, handle bars up where you need them, and backwards pedaling brakes just like in the old days. Way too cool. And what a surprise. We came home from my birthday dinner and there it was on the deck. So far was it from anything I imagined… but the card was addressed to me so the fitness regimen takes a new “spin”.
Some history. I am not a proficient cyclist. I learned to ride on a cousin’s bike when I was 11 years old, but it was in a small town in Oregon, and we were only there a week Twice around the block was the extent of my travels on two wheels. Then when I was in my middle 50’s the runners I hung with were also cyclists, so I bought a bike and tried to keep up with them. I soon learned to be busy when they went on extended tours. When you grow up on a ranch, you ride horses. When you stop a horse, he doesn’t tip over. I never did master the mount-dismount on a bike; that and sharp turns. On the straight-away I’m a force, but don’t ask me to wave, signal, or change direction; major disaster.
But I am working at it, got a helmet (didn’t want to, messes my hair) and have a careful tour up the canyon mapped out for a fitness activity to counterbalance my running and lifting. It is fun (still a little scary), convenient, great exercise, and just pretty cool looking. A former student of mine, Jesse Hansen of Rushmore Bicycles, sold it to Jerry, and he was out in the park the first night I wobbled by. As I focused on the task at hand, he spun out on his skate-board and grabbed a bar on the seat, “This is why I put this on, so I could do this!” And he pretended to pull me sideways.
“JESSEEEE!!!!” I had to use my teacher voice; perhaps a decibel or two above the threshold of pain. Thank goodness he remembered the drill...but I heard him chuckle as I labored on into the campground; was he remembering homework?
The primary benefits of a blast with Bonnie are the prodigious work-out of the large muscle groups, a break from the impact of running…my knees are grateful…, great opportunity for cardiovascular fitness, and the mandatory balance required to stay upright; a skill we need to maintain and usually do little to further. (Well, I do wear high heels every day…) There is more beautiful Black Hills scenery available in the time frame allotted to exercise, and it’s a great couple or group activity. It just takes a minute to strap on my helmet, head out the door, and be bike-born through the falling leaves; on the fallen leaves. A crunchy fall day… hopefully only visually.
Additionally, the lungs are enhanced, more capillaries are formed to facilitate the blood flow to the extremities, and the ennui of just one sport is alleviated.
Even though I’m still uncertain and unsteady, I will continue to pedal, preen, and practice basic skills. In the mean time, you may see Bonnie and me on the road…please don’t wave….or you can schedule a viewing; she parks under the DuBois in the dining room, a regal accent to the prosaic color scheme of our little house by the side of the creek. (Outside? I don’t think so! She might get hit by a deer.)
By the way, she was named “Bonnie” when I got her. Really! It was painted right on the frame; you can check the web site.
Milli on cycling: two wheels or four wheels; get rollin’.