I had a big plan of taking a long solo ride today. My son was in day camp at the Y and a had a nice chunk of time to myself. Unfortunately, I whittled away my time doing this and that…good things, things that needed to be done but I didn’t get on the bike.
I picked up Ike from Pirate Camp and remembered that, instead of stopping by the library on the way home to sign up for the summer reading program, we could just go home, grab the bikes, and ride down. The sun wasn’t shining as bright and a few rain drops fell as we pulled up to the library, but it was nothing ominous.
Have I mentioned how much I love that we can ride bikes to the library. I always thought driving there was ridiculous, but walking added too much time or something…or it just not very fun? Now it is a favorite errand.
Ike signed up for the program, found some books, did a craft. Then we hopped on our bikes and took the long way home.
It rained the past two days and I didn’t get out on the bike. Yesterday, we had a much-needed stay-at-home day after a busy week. One of the nice things about living around here, you can depend on rain coming to give you an excuse to remain indoors. I paid bills and placed some orders while Isaac built Lego spaceships and cyborgs. Today, the sun came out and I regretted not going to see Brave last night instead the planned matinée of today. But, we went anyway figuring the sun would still be shining after.
I am much more interested in the bikes I see around now that I am riding too. I find myself looking for the old roadsters, the fixies, the mixtes, and cargo bikes. The weather was so fine that there were lots of folks on bikes in town. We were in the car, however, as town is about 12 miles from where we live (I don’t usually call the area we live as a “town” though we have some necessary establishments: market, post office, library, a couple of restaurants, and a farmer’s market on Sundays). We stopped at the Food Co-op on the way home and that nagging, critic voice asked me what right I had writing a blog about biking. I am not some long-time biking activist or some touring enthusiast. But that’s just it. I am not really writing about bikes, but about the experience. I am discovering the joy of riding. I am exploring my world in a new way and feeling a little more a part of. I am basically having a change in consciousness, and I am trying to express it somehow. It is also about practice. Practice in how to keep pedaling through fear, inertia, and doubt whether on the bike, in my life, or on the page.
We came home from the movies and Josh was not feeling well. I don’t want to lose momentum nor enthusiasm. It is too easy to think, “I will go out tomorrow…tomorrow I will go on a long ride.” Ike and I jumped on the bikes. We returned a few books and a DVD to the library then took a long way home. At first, I thought it might rain again but the sun broke through the clouds and I took off my sweater. I don’t need to remind Ike to stay to the right as often and he is able to take the hills a little a better. I enjoyed the sun on my face, the sights of summer flowers, and the clicking of my bicycle chain. I feel my body move; I relax my grip on the handle bars, which I sometimes find myself holding too tightly; I watch my son pedaling in front of me and coasting down the hills. I did not experience childhood on a bike in Los Angeles. I didn’t really start to ride until I was 10 and even then, not very consistently. I feel like I am learning with him and am so grateful that he gave this gift to me.
A basket was the first accessory I wanted to add to my bike. My husband originally scoffed at the idea. He sees baskets as silly, frivolous, girly. It must come from his BMX background or it’s just that masculine-american road bike mentality. I see baskets as completely utilitarian. Yes they can add style, but primary serve the function of casually carrying stuff. In just the first few days I had my bike, there were about a dozen times I wished I had a basket.
I originally envisioned a wicker basket like those you see in those romantic images on Pinterest filled with flowers. But, due to the northwest drizzle, I realized that might not be the most practical choice. I looked at lots of images on the Internet to compare how baskets looked with a silver bicycle and black or silver metal seemed to be the way to go. I love the vintage look of open weave wire baskets (lots of images of them on old Raleigh roadsters), but I could just see leaving a trail of escaped items in my wake as I traveled down the road. So I settled on a mesh basket, but which one?
In my research, I was able to trace one image of a basket I fancied to a post on the blog, Imaginary Bicycle (I must add a Blog Roll soon). Emma J has a much cooler bike than I (a WorkCycles Oma), but we share similar taste in our attraction to bicycle baskets. She, or possibly the Oma, chose Basil ‘Bern’ wire-mesh basket. For a moment, I thought I had found the one. Then, I went to my LBS and Bob pointed out that you wanted to make sure the brake and gear cables weren’t smashed by the basket mount. I needed to take another look at the Basil and realized, though there seemed to be enough clearance for the cables, I didn’t really like the all-in-one design with the hooks attached to the basket. Having already dismissed the Topeak, I went back to Wald for another look. I kept coming back to a black mesh quick release basket, but it looked like the model (933) was discontinued. Luckily there were some available via Amazon though I would have liked to order through my LBS.
I installed myself today and it was easy-peasy. Love the quick release and peace if mind that nothing is going to fall out. See Ride Log 062112 for the first time out with the basket.
I love the long twilights in our northern latitude, but I have not been able to partake of evening bike rides the past couple of days. There was a plan for an after dinner ride tonight, but ike was too tired and went to bed early. The short solstice night yesterday led to a very short night sleep.
Luckily, we took a jaunt before lunch after I installed my new basket (see A-Tisket, A-Tasket for more about my choice). It was so nice to be able to throw my phone and the unnecessary sweater in the basket and take off with Ike for a quick meander through the neighborhood. Nothing on my back or over my shoulder or stuck my pocket. Can’t wait to ride down to the Farmer’s Market or the store with my quick-release and without a backpack.
Ike and I took a quick ride to the library to pick up books I had on hold. We had to get into town for my Coumidan appointment (a quick finger prick) and Ike’s Theater Camp. We only had about 40 minutes to complete the errand and Ike handled the rush better than a Los Angeles freeway. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how poorly his rain boots would perform for pedaling until we were making our way up our first slight slope. They were a bit slippery and cumbersome. Even so, he did great. We made it home just in time and it was so much nicer than just stopping in the car on the way to town.
I am definitely dressing better since I started trying to bike every day. Well, at least I am getting dressed. There have been too many stay-at-home days where I just stayed in the yoga pants and T-shirt I slept in. And now, I am choosing my outfits with the focus of what I can ride in. The baggy drawstrings don’t cut it (nice for walking, but not riding unless I tame the excess around my ankles), but cute skirts and my favorite pair of skinny jeans do. So odd to say I wear skinny jeans since I am leagues away from skinny, but I’m not gonna mess with the nomenclature. I am also reverting to some styles from my past. I have always loved menswear and men’s shoes. When I was fourteen, I sported white button-downs and narrow ties, and mens’ flannel pants have always graced my closet. I recently picked up a pair of brown wing tips from the Goodwill. The are about a half-size took large, but I am probably going to add some insoles. I have tried some of the oxfords out there made for women including styles from Frye, Bass, and Born, but they were all kind of narrow and made my feet look too small. Yeah, I was down with the chunky shoe trend. I love how my wingtips look with my jeans and the beloved boyfriend sweater makes the outfit. And the price was about 5% of the price of the cheapest pair of those girlie shoes.
1. Solo Ride I was really afraid I wasn’t going to bike yet another day. While thinking over dinner plans for the week, I realized a forgot a couple items when I was in town at the co-op. So, I left Ike with his dad and jumped on my bike to go to the local market. Ike wanted to go with me, but I wanted to scope out the ride before I let him wheel down there. There are no real safe approaches to the market and the parking lot is always crowded. There used to be a great path to the back of the store that you could enter from a side street, but they put up a fence when the gas station was built. It is a semi-rural area with no sidewalks except by the main intersection, but that is not much of an issue. Most of our local establishments (library, market, bank, etc.) are built for approach by car. They don’t have any sort of path for pedestrians or bikes or children of either persuasion from the street. The entrances are via the driveway and through the parking lot. Oh wait, if you take the path to the primary school and go around the fence, you can enter the library without going down the driveway into the parking lot…that’s about as good as it gets.
2. Pas de deux Ike was a little upset about not going to the store with me so the two of us went out when I came home. I thought we would just go on a jaunt around the long block, by he wanted to take a longer route. We rode a loop through a quiet residential development that I used to follow when I was trying to be a runner. I tried to take some pictures of the trees that eclipse the sky in parts and some bright fuchsia flowers growing in a pot in someone’s front yard but Ike kept pedaling ahead and I had to keep up.
3. And then there were three…
While we were out, Josh hooked up the Trail-a-Bike we just scored for $50 off Craig’s List. Ike has been really excited to try it out. I thought it was just going to be the two of them going out, but I tagged along at the last minute. Ike had a blast going faster than he ever has on a bike and I had fun just trying to keep up. Unfortunately, another photo failure as I did not snap a picture of the two of them on the pseudo-tandem, but I did take one of the bike itself before the ride.
Far from the fear of no ride, circumstances sprung me into action. Could it be that bike riding might help me be a little more spontaneous? That I might be more prone to seizing opportunities as they come up instead of letting them pass me by as I try to pursue my own plans? Haven’t I learned that lesson? Maybe I have found a solution, or at least a vehicle for change. Where has your ride taken you today?
Left the boys sleeping and took a quick ride to the hall. Nice way to wake up, pedaling throughout he gray morning then connecting with others about recovery. Talked about obsession, fear of failure, and perfection. Willingness to change is different from wanting to change; it is possible to be willing without really wanting. Grateful for the tools today. Took the long way home and would have stayed out longer if I wasn’t hungry for breakfast.