Not A (Bicycle) Gearhead!

I am guess posting today for Adam Dustus at One Stop Poetry. This is quite an honor for me. Please drop by for a visit. http://oneshotpoetry.blogspot.com/2010/09/dustus-friday-guest-spotlight.html

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.  ~John F. Kennedy

Operation Get in Shape for Utah is well and rolling. Saturday, we trekked ten miles. I decided my hiking boots were a pair of hussies that didn’t like me. They are actually really nice leather Vasque hiking boots. So what’s not to like? There is a hard molded rubber cup over the toe area, and the boots are heavy. I was sort of breaking them in, but they really just weren’t as comfortable as any other shoe I’ve ever worn. Dirt Man bought me another pair of hiking boots. These are Merrell Gore-Tex and fit fabulously. They instantly felt like they were already broken in! They are a bit hotter than the other pair but so much more comfortable.

Before I tell you about our bike rides, you must know that I am a total bike-gear nincompoop! My knowledge of biking is pedaling and hand brakes…that’s it. I would be perfectly content without gears, however braking with your feet is a hard concept to remember after not doing it for years. (When we were  at Tangier Island, the rentals did not have gears or hand brakes.) A while back when I started riding my bike after it having sat in the garage for years, I thought it was a five speed. I was talking with Dirt Man on the phone that evening as I was pulling it out and mentioned the gears. He informed me that no it was a ten speed. I argued that it wasn’t. He asked me to count the toothed wheels on both tires for him…heck, I didn’t even know BOTH tires had them! Ends up, I have an eighteen speed bike. Problem is that I don’t have any idea how to use those gears. I mean I actually do know how to change gears; I just have no idea what gear I am putting it in!

So anyway, Sunday we went out for a bike ride. We ended up doing about ten miles. However, there was a gear devil stuck in my wheel! And you ask what is that? It’s some indivisible little dude that kept popping my bike out of gear. Yes, it just kept randomly shifting without my doing a thing but pedaling my feet. I had somehow, and I haven’t the slightest idea how, managed to pull a spoke out of the back wheel and bent my wheel. Dirt Man wasn’t sure he’d be able to fix it. He said I’d probably have to get a new bike. I was totally bummed. Even though I just have a cheap bike that I have no idea how to change the gears correctly on, I still love my bike!

Monday, Dirt Man took my bike apart and fixed it. I was so happy. While he worked on it, I took Wylie on a two mile walk to try out my hiking boots. After I got back, we went on an eleven mile bike ride. The weather was perfect. Dirt Man led and kept asking me if I was ready to get down on it. I was going down as hard as my legs would pedal, and I was not keeping up with him. Finally he directed me with my gears by saying left up or down or right up or down and I was able to keep up. You’d think after doing that, I’d figure it all out! Actually, I do know when and which way to shift now, but I still have no idea what gear I am in! He rode beside me once and made sure I was in the gear I should be in, and we both went for the burn. I gave it absolutely all I had, so I felt like I really got something out of that ride. When we got back , I slid my jellied legs to the ground as I pulled that bike seat out of my butt (a gel seat doesn’t feel any better rammed up your butt than a cardboard foam cushioned one!) while he showed off that he still had stamina. He had to drive a bit farther and then do a wheelie in the drive way.

Through the biking and hiking, I feel like my stamina is definitely increasing. My body is no longer sore after each excursion. Each time, I am feeling like I can take it a little farther and at a higher speed. The main thing is that I’m making progress.

Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  ~Albert Einstein

34 thoughts on “Not A (Bicycle) Gearhead!

  1. Progress is good. I never did master my ten speed and I always was most happy with a regular old bike with foot brakes. Sometimes new technology and I don’t mesh too well, especially if it has any resemblance to mechanical things.

    When are you going to Utah?

  2. I’m inspired!
    I agree with the Kennedy quote. Coincidentally, I was just on my bike a couple days ago, and plan to ride more during this pleasant beginning fall weather.

    Hiking is an interest too. I need to find a group. My husband’s way of enjoying nature is gardening in our yard. Any further…he’s not interested.

    Keep it up!

    • You can do it. It is much easier having a partner to keep you accountable and enjoy it with you. IF I had to do it alone, I probably wouldn’t. I’d just do neighborhood bike rides and walks, which I still do because I still like to be alone at times with the wind in my face!

  3. While reading this post, I couldn’t help but remember my very first bike. A black Schwinn. That thing lasted me for years.

    OMG, I know what you mean about the gears, because I never quite got the hang of how to use them. I think I ended up only using 3 out of the 10 gears. We lived in Florida at the time, and the terrain is so flat there, you don’t even have to use gears – HA!

    “Through the biking and hiking, I feel like my stamina is definitely increasing.”

    You GO, girl!

    “Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein”

    Love that!

    • We are definitely doing the subway…as long as we get the permit. We haven’t decided on the other hikes though. We’re looking at other areas of Zion and some canyons. The longest one is eight miles. We’re not doing anything too hardcore. We’re still exploring places and trails on the internet to make decisions. There are so many breathtaking places! I just want to be in shape and ready to roll without extreme pain the day after!

  4. I just rode my bike down to see the sunset! Okay so it was only a mile trek, but i was panting when I got back home. LOL! You sure are getting good at this training. I would never had gotten my jellied legs to go for a bike run after hiking. Are ya trying for a marathon?

  5. Gaining a bit each time out and you will be doing a wheelie at the end of the ride soon, no matter what gear you call it as long as you are doing it is what makes it all worth it.

  6. YAY!!! You go! Progress is great.

    I love that Dirt Man fixed your bike. Awesome.

    I used to know a little bit about my bike gears like when to put the bike in which gear, but I didn’t know really “which” gear, but I knew up or down when I was going up or down a hill. I’ve forgotten though. But it really does help when you know which ones to use when.

    I’m over here cheering you on!!

  7. Hi Suzi…I love to bike. for years I mountain biked as I live in the hills over here in the valley of Los Angeles. I also love to spin. Have you ever tried this? It is a great way to build up your leg muscles and increase your stamina for your other biking excursions. I think what you are doing is wonderful…it is never too late to get in shape physically. It offers wonderful rewards in return! Besides a more fit body it provides a more fit mind and spirit!!!

    • That’s awesome. I’ve heard of Spin but not really familiar with it. My husband’s nephew and wife are mountain bikers. It’s nothing for his nephew to do these long marthons, quite impressive. But I can say with utmost authority that I’ll never reach that level! Meantime, I’ll enjoy what it’s doing for me!

  8. I hear ya! I never know which gear I’m in either (sadly, not only on a bicycle). Came from OneStop Poetry, where I thoroughly enjoyed your piece. Thank you!

  9. Came by to thank you for your Authenticity poem on the “guess” post. Just teasing you. Can’t tell you how many typos I’ve gone back and corrected since I started my blog. Looking forward to reading more. 😀

  10. I love riding and hiking. It is such a great thing you are doing to get up to speed now, rather than when you are on your trip. It is going to be such a blast!

    Wonderful job on the mileage, both hiking and the biking. Woot!

    Maybe, I’ll drag the bike out today. 🙂

  11. You are inspiring … I envy your exercise plan and the end goal is going to be so worth it. When I get some health issues under control, I am going to be slowly working my way back up to the hiking and biking I was used to just a year ago. I hope I will have the will power to keep going when it hurts me, too. Guess I will have to set a fun end goal to work for, too … Yellowstone hiking, maybe?
    They say you never forget how to ride a bike, I hope that applies to using the gears, too. I stopped biking just when I had figured out those darn gears for up hills and down. (I think a comfort bike is in my future)

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