My sister-in-law, Leslie and I were trying to figure out when we got the same Trek Antelope bikes for Christmas. I think it might have been 1989. Both of us were really delighted. I knew she was getting one but I had no idea I was getting one too. Lo, these many years later, her sons rode hers into the ground and mine finally needed new tires and tubes. I won't pretend they were worn out, they weren't, but twenty-five years is a long time for rubber to last. Being married to a cycling enthusiast, I never had to service my own bike until now. You should see my beautiful city tires and new red basket. All I need is an air horn and I will be a menace on the road. (She's the little old lady from Minnesota, the terror of Excelsior Boulevard... go granny, go granny, go granny, go!)
And now that summer is here I am out on that bike trying to remember which gear to use and when to start shifting. I fell today trying to balance at a light. Bunged up my left thumb, have a goose egg on my thigh and terribly bruised ego. Of course ten cars saw me fall but I jumped up quick and reassured everyone, "I'm fine, thanks for asking."
Today I rode into Minneapolis to the Workforce Center at Chicago and Lake, about 13 miles round trip. It took about 45 minutes going (downhill) and about an hour coming back (uphill). My quest is to find ways of getting where I want to go without too many hills to climb. I am not above walking the bike across busy intersections and up a steep hill. So far I've found gentle inclines. But that is not all I've discovered.
Lilac time is just about over. Now peonies and iris scent the air and bush and hedge roses are blooming like crazy. I've noticed that the real difference in curb appeal riding through higher and lower income neighborhoods comes down to edging lawns and pulling weeds from sidewalks. Lots of peonies and perennials in the poorer parts of town, but maybe not the time to really keep up the gardening, or they could be rentals and the landlord doesn't cut the grass as carefully as a homeowner.
It is so easy for me to talk myself out of riding the bike. I just have to think of a hill and I get discouraged. But I have $70.00 invested in new tires and tubes and these are going to wear out before they dry out. And as a metaphor for my life, I am going to be active and wear out before I dry out. Tomorrow dancing to the Bodacious Babes of Swing and Saturday I'm escorting a friend to a union dance. Best of all, spending time with my daughter and her husband and my two grandsons. What a wonderful way to spend the solstice! Sum, sum, summertime!