Or back on a bicycle (saddle) again. Allan decided that fiscal responsibility aside, getting me back on a bicycle was going to happen this summer come hell or high water or more realistically come Visa bills and Mr. Noodles.
As an early birthday present, I now have a Brodie Quantum hybrid bike - woman's 14" to accomodate my short frame. It is the same dark green color as Allan's Bridgestone. It has front suspension, seat stem suspension, 24 speeds and 700c tires - but fatter tires (instead of skinny road tires like on my old bike) that can handle light off-road.
A photo (not mine) of my new bike
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.
Other than a spin around the co-op and cul-de-sac last week - tonight was my first real ride. The mostly upright position is easy on my back but will take some getting used to! I've been riding with drop handlebars since I traded in my 1st bike - a banana seat model - for a 10-speed when I was 11 years old!
Back in college and pre-kids - I rode an Alsop Softride road bike (cost $1200 usd 10 years ago!) but sold it on consignment for cash to repair the van back a few years ago. After that - we were left our (late) friend Richard's road bike Norbert and I had managed to go for a few rides on it with the kids in the trailer back in 2003 (the summer I got pg with the twins). However - both tires blew out with me pulling the trailer and I bent the rims riding home on flats. As sentimental as Norbert is to both of us - realistically we could buy me a bike that would fit me for what it would cost to get Norbert rideable again. I couldn't really sit on the seat and still reach the handle bars - couldn't touch the ground with more than a couple of toes on one side when standing over the cross-bar. So Norbert sits in the garage for now.
Tonight I went up to 60th Avenue - then down into Cloverdale and climbed the hill leading up out of Cloverdale. I managed to drop the chain having forgotten some of the elementary rules of shifting: namely drop the gears down before shifting the large chain ring down. I surprised myself by pulling off the road and putting the chain back on without even thinking about it. It's amazing how much it comes back to you! Coasting down the hills reminded me vividly of getting up in the morning and zooming down the Mission hills into the mist on the way to Fraser Valley College in Abbotsford.
The Brodie definitely has good gearing for going UP hills - even as out of shape as I am and as hard as I was breathing - I still had a couple gears left if I had needed them. But I noticed a big difference with the large chain ring between this hybrid and the road bikes. I couldn't really pedal down the hills - just had to coast - the large chain ring is that much smaller. I also could tell the extra traction and effort required with the hybrid tires vs my former very high pressure very skinny road tires. But it's a good thing as I could ride over things like stray pinecones or twigs on the road without having an unwanted meeting with the asphalt.
On making it up the hill - I had a number of realizations. First off - that I was still alive and would get into shape MUCH quicker on the bike than just going to Curves. No matter how hard I put out at Curves - I just don't get the same level of cardio workout that I do on a bike. The next realization was that if I wanted to I could make it into Langley. I was halfway there already and it would be all downhill or flat riding from there. That was followed by the thought, "what goes DOWN has to come UP" and it was also starting to get dark. So I turned around and headed for home. Fortunately the trip home had much more down than up and seemed to go much quicker. I logged about 4 miles by my street number calculations - not bad for a first ride out!