Friday, March 27, 2009

Like Riding A Bike

Week of March 15 through 21

In the last year, since we bought our house, we have been constantly working on home improvement projects. We recently decided that we needed to do a little self improvement as well, and that meant becoming more active when we got home from work.

Our community was built with paved greenbelt trails that wind their way through all of the neighborhoods. The trails go for miles, and even pass under the two major roads in our area, so one never has to worry about crossing a busy street. Even better, there is an access path to these trails right at the end of our cul-de-sac. Basically, we have no excuse not to be using the heck out of these things.

I'm not much for sweating, and outdoor activities here in the south that don't make me all hot and sticky are hard to come by. The Husband has tried to convince me that running is fun, but I'm not buying it. Walking is more my speed, but then I tend to get distracted by my surroundings and my pace slows to a leisurely stroll rather than an attempt at exercise. We finally settled on bicycling as our means of becoming more active. As a kid, riding a bike meant pedaling as hard and as fast as I could, or circling the block over and over again just for fun. We decided on bicycling for exactly this reason. It doesn't feel like work. The only problem? We didn't have bikes.

For Christmas, my parents gave us very generous gift certificates to Target, with the express wish that they be used to buy bicycles. We had no trouble finding a bike for The Husband. A maroon and white Schwinn mountain bike.

Finding a bike for me proved to be a little more difficult. I tried out a cruiser in the aisles of Target, and really liked the smooth ride. But, when we went to check out, we discovered that one of the spokes on the bike was broken. Upon inspection of the other bikes, we found that all of the cruisers had broken spokes. No bike for me. We continued to check for an undamaged bike every time we made a trip to Target, to no avail. The search was made slightly more difficult by my insistence that my bike be pink. No other color would do.

Finally, last weekend, Target rewarded our persistence by stocking a brand-spanking new, freshly unpacked, pink mountain bike. Perfect. Note the extra-comfy w-i-d-e seat made explicitly for those of us blessed with junk in the trunk.

At last, we have our bikes. We took our first bike trip on the trails one evening last weekend. They are beautifully maintained and very quiet and peaceful. Every now and again, the edge of a house would peak out from behind the trees, but for the most part, we felt like we were biking through the woods. We certainly enjoyed ourselves - even if we did have a little trouble remembering how, and when, to shift gears.

During our ride, The Husband informed me that he had never been able to master riding his bike without handlebars. I loved it. Simply because finding something that my husband is not able to do is very rare. He is a jack of all trades, and quickly becomes an expert at anything he endeavors to do. He knows so much about so many things, and I am frequently amazed by his talents. But in this, this, I had the upper hand. I spent the rest of our ride giving him tips for maintaining his momentum and balance long enough to let go and ride without holding the hand grips. When we got back to our street, he gave it a try, and after a few shaky starts, he got it! I am an excellent teacher. And riding a bike with no handlebars is an excellent skill to have. Because if one can ride a bike with no handlebars, one can also make computers survive aquatic conditions AND split the atoms of a molecule.

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