After a particularly wet week, this morning the clouds finally rolled away, making room for blue skies and revealing the glorious sun. I was in cleaning mode when I noticed this welcome sight. It motivated me to stay focused and clean fast so I could enjoy the rare December sunshine in Oregon. Hmmmm, should I take the kids for a hike? Perhaps I should get out and give my neglected yard some attention? Maybe I should call my cycling ladies and organize a group ride? I was feeling rather stingy. I wanted to seize the day and do so in quiet solitude. I wanted a taste of unencumbered freedom. A solo bike ride fit the bill perfectly.
My trusty stead, the most beautiful carbon Flex bicycle ever created, awaited me. Under the amused eyes of my partner and two children, I attempted to put air in my tires. This whole bicycle maintenance is a new, intimidating phenomena for me. As I child, the only bike I had was a goofy looking thing made up off a hodgepodge of castaway bicycle parts. A boy's glittery blue frame, banana seat, mustache handlebars and rusty racing fenders created a bike that I was far too embarrassed to be seen on in public. My sexy Felt is a whole other story. I ride this bike with great pride, peppered with a touch of arrogance. Mmmhmmm, that's right I'd think as I see motorists, pedestrians, runners and fellow cyclists checking me out. Eat your heart out. This here is MY bike. Isn't she glorious? You think she looks good? Well, she feels even better!
After riding a clunky mountain bike for the last twenty years, I was absolutely blown away when I took road bikes out for test rides during my bicycle shopping. They looked like such fragile creatures with their impossibly skinny wheels, drop handle bars, streamlined gear shifters and intricate breaking systems. Could something so delicate really accommodate me and my training and racing needs? I had looked at many, many bikes in just about every bike store in Eugene and just couldn't settle on one that I as willing to fork over the dough for.
When Gilad, at http://www.lifecyclebikeshop.com/ told me he had the perfect bike for me and took it off the shelf, it was love at first sight. Then I got to take it out on the road for a spin. I was absolutely giddy when I discovered how the bike seemed to ride me rather than the other way around. All these years I've been riding a bike that is the equivalent of Yugo and now I was riding a bike that was the equivalent of a flippin' Mercedes Benz. I couldn't hide my smile and could hardly suppress laughing aloud or hooting with joy as I rode this fabulous piece of machinery. I haven't wanted to get off the saddle of this beauty since. It's been an amazing four months learning to be a cycler.
Once again, I've lost all sense of time and space while under the spell of my new bike! How I've digressed. It was a rare sunny, dry day in Eugene and I was attempting to fill my tires with air as my family watched. After having little luck, I confessed to my partner that I wasn't getting anywhere and solicited his help. Meanwhile, I dressed down for the ride.
I must confess that prior to becoming a cyclist, I thought the padded shorts, loud-tightly fitting bike jersey and silly cycling shoes were rather hard on the eyes. Now I recognize their importance. Padded shorts are essential for preventing or lessening saddle soreness on long rides. Jerseys are necessary for storing food, patch kits, phone, money, keys, camera and whatever else once might opt to take on a ride. They are bright and busy patterned so that motorists can see you and carefully maneuver their vehicles around you. Cycling shoes allow your foot to clip in and power your pedals not only with the down stroke of your leg but your up stroke as well. Padded gloves absorb road vibration, make for a smoother ride and come in handy for removing unwanted debris from your tires without having to dismount your bike.
Here I am modeling the official cycler's purse, a snack-sized Ziploc bag. It keeps driver's license, debit card, cash and phone dry and corralled in your cycling jersey.
|Above, my snack is tucked into one of those handy jersey pockets.|
|Cycling gloves & mult-sport Garmin 405.|
| Cycling raincoat that can be wadded up in a ball and stuffed in yet another jersey pocket.|
|Here are my funny cycling shoes.|
Whew! The house is clean, daddy's on kid duty, air is in the bike tires, I'm fully outfitted and the sun is STILL shining! It's time to get outta here, hit the wide open road, feel the wind blowing through my helmet and relish thirty self-propelled miles. This is how I roll.