Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Firsts and Seconds

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging about my second love affair with the bicycle.

Blogging is a completely new sport for me, so please forgive the "training wheels" feel for a little while. Hopefully, a smoother ride (read) will come when I figure out how to work all these gears and get my rusty brain lubed.

If anything can get an adult back onto a bike, it's a child (or a DUI charge). Once your child masters two wheels and takes off down the street to see the world, you'd better grab a bike and be their guide. I hadn't owned a bike since I got my driver's license, so a few years ago I headed to one of the big sporting goods chain stores and picked out a cheap, one-size-fits-all bike. I chose a mountain bike style for its fat, knobby tires. Surely I couldn't wipeout on those tires! I also bought a helmet since I didn't trust myself on a bike without coaster brakes. It took me quite a while to get used to riding a bike again. No, you never do forget how to ride a bike, but you sure can feel nervous. It didn't help my confidence that I could never get the seat height adjusted to a comfortable level or stop the brakes from screaming at the slightest squeeze. But I was able to ride alongside my daughter instead of running behind, and after a few months I began to relax and enjoy our short trips around the neighborhood.

Last summer my daughter discovered the joy of coasting downhill, overcoming her fear of losing control. However, she did not welcome the uphill struggle on her "single-speed" little girl bike. This really limited our route options and made the trip home from school a chore. So at the end of the winter, we decided it was time to move her onto a bigger bike with gears. We came home from the bike shop with not one, but three new bikes, and oh, what a difference it has made! Our daughter now adjusts her pedaling comfort level with the twist of a wrist. My husband and I have solid bikes that fit us perfectly, with tires that roll so smoothly we never want to stop. The joy of riding a bicycle has returned to each of us.

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