Friday, April 16, 2010

Wheels are turnin'

Recently my wife and I came to agreement about a new form of exercise that we could both undertake and do together.  We both are walkers, but due to foot and shin problems I can't comfortably walk on sidewalks (too hard) and my wife prefers to walk outdoors, so we were stuck.  Then at some point we hit on the idea of getting bicycles.  So, at the ripe old age of 49, off I went, with my wife along, to a local bicycle dealer to learn the finer points of riding at a, well, mature stage of life.

First thing the helpful salesperson said was, "You need a comfort bike."  Can't disagree with that.  We also talked about how and where we'd use the bikes, features, what's changed since my last ten-speed about thirty years ago, and construction (since I'm overweight I was concerned about the durability of a standard bike),.  He then showed us a line of bikes by a company called Trek, which he later explained is one of Lance Armstrong's sponsors (and apparently Lance also owns a bit of the company).  After a bit more discussion he recommended a particular line of comfort bikes, with version 2.0 for my wife and 3.0 for me, mostly for the additional construction elements that would support me properly.

Then he adjusted the seats and collected our drivers' licenses so that we could test-ride the bikes.  For some reason, it never occurred to me that we'd have the chance to do anything more than sit on them in the store, but off we went, down the sidewalk and into a residential area of our home city adjacent to a park.  We both agreed readily that we liked the easy action of the bikes and my wife kept commenting at how light it was.  Since I hadn't been on a bicycle for a good while, I wasn't sure if I was uncomfortable due to nerves or was physically not comfortable, but the word "comfort" and "bicycle" generally don't reside in the same sentence with me anyway.

We returned to the store, the salesperson making a winking remark about how long we were gone, and told him we wanted to think about the purchase.  A week later we returned and bought the very bikes that we had test-ridden.

So now our evening routine includes a bike ride of twenty to forty minutes, never too far from the house, and thankfully we live in a fairly level area.  Despite having many speeds from which to choose, it's still anathema to struggle up hills, and hard pumping really bothers one of my knees.  Regardless, though, we're enjoying it so far, and have not struck any pedestrians (although some of the dirty looks we get from those we ask to share bike/walking paths have been imposing).

The bikes are due back at the dealer sometime in the next week or two for a thirty-day check.  No problems yet, although I did manage to make the chain jump off the front sprockets the other night.  I managed a field repair and no problems from there, save the grease on my hands.

So if you happen to see a middle-aged couple on new bikes with snazzy helmets and a winded look on their faces, that's probably us.  Gangway!

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