May 5th, 2004

duke-skates-thumbsup

Current Bike-Buying Plans

I have a thick patch of rough skin on one of my fingers. It's been bugging me for the last couple of days, because the edges of it are peeling off. I've been picking at it, wondering what it's doing there.

This afternoon I finally realized what it is: it's a callous from tying my skates. You have to pull very hard to tie a skate properly, and the nylon laces rub your fingers in the same place each time you lace up, building up calluses over time. I haven't skated since March 6, and now my calluses are going away.

It was kind of a sad feeling. It also reminded me how long it's been since I've gotten any serious exercise. If my hands are getting softer, imagine how flabby my muscles must be getting! I'm looking forward to the time when my physical therapists say it's okay to try bicycling again. I plan for that to be my "thing" this summer....it should be a good safe exercise for my knee and leg muscles, plus good for the rest of me once I heal and can start going somewhat-fast.

I had dinner at my parents' house this evening, and we were talking about bikes. I told them my current bike-buying-plan. (My plan changes every few days, which is why I never bought one last summer. Paralyzed by indecision. But I'm hoping this plan will "stick".) I want to buy a decent "hybrid" bike, one that is very comfortable, and that has low gears that will be easy to pedal even when I don't have a lot of leg strength yet. I also want to make sure it will be good for dirt trails as well as roads.

My theory is that this is all I will want (be able) to ride for awhile anyway. But later on in the summer, when I get stronger and more serious about biking, I plan on buying a second bike -- a fairly nice road bike. This is assuming that I find bicycling as enjoyable as I used to, and that I'm doing it regularly. If that is the case, then I will consider myself to have "earned" the (much more expensive) road bike. I will need one, if I want to do any rides with the local biking club, and especially if I decide I want to do a Century Ride in the fall like I'm hoping to.

If it turns out I don't ride a lot after all, or I get caught up in some other endeavor, then I will only have spent money on the one bike, the less expensive type. But I'll still have a nice bike I can cruise about the neighborhood on, and that I can take on dirt trails with friends if I desire.

When I explained all of this to my family over strawberry shortcake this evening, my dad offered, "We could give you your sister's old road bike for free!" I laughed at him.

My sister and I were both given 10-speeds when I started high school back in 1985. I still have mine in my garage, but it is very old. The frame (a "girl's" frame) was bent once and re-straightened. The gears, chain, and brakes are rusted, and it doesn't have any modern hardware. My sister's bike is just as bad. "No Dad, it's Sis who is into antiques, not me. I like new stuff."

"Yes but I like Real antiques, not crappy old bicycles," she responded.

"Maybe one of those ones with the really big wheel in front?" he asked as he buried his strawberries in whipped cream.

She frowned at the strawberry on her fork. "That would be an antique, but I think they were really hard to ride."

My mom set down her coffee and chimed in at this point, "Yes, they were hard to ride!"

I looked at her in surprise. She spoke with such authority! "You sound like you've ridden one....just how old are you, anyway?"

She had to admit that she had never ridden one -- she wasn't actually that old. Too bad. That probably would have been a neat ride!