One of my vows for the new year is to get more exercise. That, combined with a Facebook friend getting a really awesome new bike. I had a moment of awesome new bike envy, which lasted until it was supplanted by the shame of "Wait, you have a bike. It's covered in dust and cobwebs, and sitting on two flat tires in your garage." I resolved on the spot to get that bike out on New Year's Day, when, of course, it poured rain all day. Today was the first day I could make do on my vow, and I did.
I think someone in comments asked me days ago what kind of bike I have, and I was so distracted by work, the blog, the bathroom disaster, and everything, I never answered, so I hope that commenter sees this. I have a Trek Pure Lowstep. Mine is pink, and looks like this:
I like the pink, but I'm slightly miffed that now it's available in that pretty violet color that wasn't an option the year I bought mine. My local bike shop had it in pink, so I bought it in pink. It's a very easy basic bike, minimal gearing, comfortable seat, and no hopping on and off and jarring the knees. My knees have issues, and though they rarely hurt after I changed my diet, their mechanical problems remain. I have to treat them gently.
Anyway, I cleaned off my poor neglected bike, pumped up the flat tires, and took it for a short ride. I did several loops around quiet nearby streets, probably about 5 miles total, but I didn't want to get too far from home on a first ride, just in case there was a mechanical issue stemming from my extreme neglect and the bike and I had to walk home. But it seems just fine, the gears shifted smoothly and the brakes worked properly, so tomorrow, weather permitting, I'll take it out again, on a slightly longer ride. My knees have to be re-introduced to the bike slowly, lest they refuse to let me stand up on Monday, but gentle biking is literally just what the doctor ordered for strengthening my congenitally weak knees.
As I was cleaning it off before the ride, my neighbor came outside. He's one of those old guys who always has to say something jolly (he's in commercial real estate) and of course he had to ask if it was a new bike, and then ask me teasingly if he could watch me get on and ride it. I think he thought I'd have some difficulty. I said, "Just as long as it doesn't end up on YouTube!" and pedaled off, thankfully without wobbling and making an ass of myself. It had been well over a year since the last time I'd chased the spiders off the handlebars, and then I didn't ride it more than once or twice before it got too hot and I got too busy, or whatever excuse I told myself.
Oddly enough, bikes play a major supporting role in my latest audiobook listen. The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times. The tv series "Call the Midwife" is in my Netflix list, but I haven't watched anything but Sesame Street or Curious George on Netflix in many months, so I've never watched a single episode. I decided to give the audiobook a try, and WOW!
This is a fabulous book - beautifully written, intelligent, full of sometimes horrifying facts about the history of women's health, especially surrounding childbirth, but mostly a vividly drawn portrait of a period of time and a segment of society that truly doesn't exist anymore. And the midwives pedal to their patients in the East End on bicycles, so there are constant references to bikes and riding - I didn't choose this book because of the bikes, and I had already decided to start riding again before I started the book. But yes, it's a funny little bit of serendipity that the many references to riding are somehow reinforcing my desire to get back on my bike again.