Sunday, May 11, 2008

I've got a bike you can ride it if you like

Feeling introspective today. We used a bit of tax rebate money (the Bush legacy) to buy bikes, and today I rode a great many-speed bike (the first bike I've ever bought) for the first time in several years. I think the last time was summer of 2002. I had agreed to look after someone's house and they loaned me a bike to ride across Logan in.

I was a little deceptive there. The first bike I bought was yesterday. We bought a Magna piece of crap from Target. The brakes honked when I used them, so I spent a few hours on Mother's Day trying to tweak them. I finally got them acceptable, then when I rode around the block, the seat tilted forwards and backwards uncontrollably. When I finally wrestled it into submission and started pedaling, the chain broke in half, so I coasted a block with brakes, then walked back to our driveway.

I got very nostalgic about bikes. I rode all over the place in them: from my house to Paul vB's by Sylvester, to Mr. Norris's high school, Thomas Jefferson, out on S 288th St, up and down Normandy Park, to Des Moines, to Mt. Rainier... and then of course, my parents got into biking and we went all over the place: Lopez Island and the rest of the San Juans, the Canadian islands in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, UW to Woodinville (to a brewery; is Pyramid up there? no, Google tells me it was probably Redhook), the Green River trail, Burke Gilman, the STP... I still remember great biking moments, like heading out to Shark Reef with Tyler and Ian, and pitching over the handlebars after an ill-considered attempt to steer with one hand and drink a Slurpee with the other. There was a brief moment in undergrad at UW where I really missed having a bike, but I didn't act on it (or much else) until it was all over.

It meant something to me to be able to travel around town, to go where I pleased. Maybe part of it was wanting to be alone, too. I don't know how deeply to think about this now.

My parents definitely did us a service by giving us all the opportunity to get into it. I knew all the equipment to buy, for one thing. So we have our pump with built-in gauge, our mirrors, our helmets, our water bottles, our tire patch kit, our trunk-mounted rack for two, our bungee cords. Sarah also wants to take Alex out on the town with this bike, so we got a nice trailer that will double as a jogging stroller.

The new one is a silver Diamondback Wildwood Citi. It's for people who want to go around on the road, the trail, and possibly the path, not really the mountain (and don't want to spend much money). I like the gear shifts in the handles (they're rotaties, which I always liked better than paddles, or especially the analog pull-handle. Best of all, it's got a seat with its own suspension, so it's springy.

I couldn't get very far today, on my first ride in six years or so. So I just went on the trails by our house, got frightened all over again of going downhill through the gravel on my half-road, half-trail treads, and did a little loop until my thighs burned. Then I got home and wobbled upstairs on my weak legs.

I'm excited.

You may not know I'm a Pink Floyd fan (at least until Roger Waters left). Here's the early Pink Floyd (The Piper At the Gates of Dawn, 1967) on the subject of bikes:

We had a Mother's Day for the ages. We started out at The Village Inn for breakfast, but they were announcing tables with a handheld microphone at the servers podium and a loudspeaker. There was a tarp outside with water, and the pre-service church crowd, I don't know how else to explain it. We tried one more place, then ended up at the Farmer's Market that happens every Sunday in Highlands Ranch. We got a delicious cherry strudel and some Jamba juices, then a bag of hickory smoked almonds (speaking of which, they're in the car right now. excuse me...), and some cleverly carved wooden flowers that will always stay lovely, until the paint fades I suppose. Then we did the saga of the bikes. It was touch and go there, but we got it all sorted out. We rounded out the day with Sarah's new favorite, ice cream cake.

I found Book Lust and a cooking book at the Borders outlet this weekend. I am enjoying both, so far. The omission of Lois McMaster Bujold from Book Lust is a bit of a let down, though. Stephen King also doesn't get much play (although he's written tons of terrific stuff).

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