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THE AWKWARD DISMOUNT

2 May 2002

I have mastered many things in my brief time on two wheels. I can now more or less confidently stop at a red light and know that I'll manage to get feet on the pedals and exert enough muscle strength to get me going across the street without giving all the drivers waiting at the red reason to giggle.

I can pass through two upright posts in the middle of a street without only minor heart palpitations and haven't hit a post yet.

I can drive in traffic and have learned to use my rear view mirror.

When coming from the club, I can go the back way, through side streets, to the house, riding along the foot path, and make the sharp turn when the path meets the street without fear of flying off the sidewalk and into the oncoming traffic.

I can weave in and out among pedestrians, small children, dogs, squirrels and ducks and have left no body count behind me.

I have learned to downshift and I know that the overpass is something I can conquer every morning, knees and God willing.

I can even scratch my head--sort of--while my helmet is on.

What I have not mastered, however, is dismounting. I watch normal folks glide to a stop, stand on a pedal and swing their leg effortlessly over the seat to dismount. My dismount involves finding a place where nobody can see me, and tilting the bike down until it almost touches the ground and then hoping that I don't trip on the bar as I drag my leg across the body of the bike.

I really should l take a movie of it. It would be great for Funniest Home Videos. If I were a gymnast, the judges would be trying to decide if "zero" was a legitimate score.

Even Olivia, shorter than I, with a fused spine, a powdered elbow, and chronic pain seems to be able to dismount without making a big deal of it.

At first I thought the problem was a groin pain which I've had for years which only bothers me when I left my leg (like to put on pants or pee against a tree). But with all the exercise and the glucosamine with chondroitin, the pain is actually getting better, after a very long time. I can almost sorta put on my right pant leg without having to hold onto something and grimace a lot.

It also doesn't seem to matter whether it's the right leg or the left leg that I'm trying to lift over the bike. Somehow it doesn't seem to be a problem getting on the bike, but when I start to get off, my legs just stand there, petulantly saying "No way, Jose." Maybe this is the bicycle equivalent of The Red Shoes, where the shoes forced the person wearing them to dance and dance and dance until he died. Am I supposed to stay on the bike and ride until I drop?

The depressing thing is that this problem hasn't improved one bit since I began riding. In fact, if anything it's worse because I'm getting more blasť about my inability to dismount and just figuring "the hell with it," and dropping the bike on the ground (it helps, though, if I can figure out some sort of faux problem that makes it logical for me to lower the bike sideways and step over it rather than getting off the normal way).

I suppose that's the next big hurdle to jump--or at least step over.

Today Walt took the car, since it's my late night at work and he was going to the symphony. That left me the choice of URL or the Tomato Can. It was a lovely day, so I decided to bike to work. (I also had skipped the club this morning, since I was rushing to make a couple of typing deadlines, and this would give me exercise for the day).

It's 2.19 miles from the house to the office, my odometer tells me. Piece o'cake.

Clouds looked threatening during part of the workday afternoon, but fortunately by the time I left, it was sunny. The only problem with the ride home was that the damn odometer won't work again. Not to complain about Alameda Bike, but they told me the original problem was that it hadn't been mounted properly in the beginning, and the guy who mounted it this time showed me exactly what the problem had been and promised me that it would never happen again.

Wrong.

It worked just fine all the way to the office, and wasn't working when I left to go home. I can even see where there is a problem--the magnet is not meeting the counter, but both have been attached so tightly that neither will move--so I'm up a creek without a mileage counter, it seems, until I can return, yet again, to Alameda to get it fixed yet again.

It's not the riding that is a problem, it's all these pesky little peripheral problems that are going to drive me nuts!

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ACK!!!  I just got notice that GeoCities will be down for maintenance from Friday Night to Sunday morning.  NO SATURDAY ENTRY?????   I'll obviously have to post two on Sunday morning.  You have been forewarned.

 

Quote of the Day

We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.

- Hellen Keller

Photo of the Day

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Raindrops on an iris petal

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