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7 September 2002

Somehow I knew that the "free" breakfast Cindy treated me to on our ride to Winters a week ago was going to cost me a heck of a lot more than a bowl of oatmeal. We made that ride on Monday, Labor day.

On Tuesday, other than riding my bike to the gym, I didn't really ride it much at all.

On Wednesday, Cindy showed up for our morning ride and as I got on my Specialized bike...all 40 lbs of it...and began huffing and puffing again, trying to keep up with her, shifting down, down down to a rideable gear, I began to realize that I. wanted. a. new. bike.

I had discovered the world of lightweight and I wasn't going to be satisfied with 40 lbs any more. Even if it did give me a better aerobic workout than Cindy was getting on her lightning fast featherweight.

By now I know a bit about bikes, and I'm not exactly a babe in the woods, ready to be led around by the nose and just saying "I'll take one of those too" when someone else orders bike parts. I had a sense of what I wanted.

I knew that I wanted a "hybrid." I didn't want a heavy mountain bike, or a lightweight touring bike. I wasn't ready for the latter, and I have enough problems with bumps on bike paths to know that I won't soon be hurtling down any mountain trails in the foreseeable future--unless there is reincarnation and I come back in a much younger, much hardier body.

I knew that I wanted an odometer, I wanted a headlight and I wanted a padded seat with a cut-out for all those tender parts that complained so much on the ride to Winters. But that's pretty much all I needed. Oh...and Shimano components. I don't really know what those are, but Secra has them, she says they're cool, and if I'm going to be dumb enough to buy two bikes in one year, I should at least look cool.

Armed with this much knowledge, I had some confidence when I went bike shopping the other day. I wasn't ready to buy, but I had 15 minutes to kill while waiting for an order to be ready at Kinko's and Kinko's is across the street from "bicycle row." I could stand on the street corner and hit at least 3 shops without hardly breaking a sweat.

I went into the first shop and found a friendly clerk. "I'm just looking," I told him, and explained that I really needed a lighter weight bike. He started showing me bikes. He talked about things like the Kevlar beaded Turbo clincher, and body geometry grip, and disc brake adapters. I saw "pretty green bike." It was obvious we weren't exactly speaking the same language.

"I'll probably be back," I said.

I went on to the next store. This place is owned by racer Steve Larson, who once was a friend of our kids. They are working on fixing the seat of my Specialized bike and I went in to see if the part they ordered had come in. While they were checking, I started looking at the bikes there. My brain started to go into shock when I saw all those commas in the prices. Though I am a fool, there is a limit to my folly, and even I can't justify $1,000 for a bike that will take me to get a bowl of oatmeal in Winters.

This was starting to look not quite as much of a no-brainer as I thought.

I put out the call. I posted a message to the BOOBs and got good advice from Haggie, Jenipurr, and Secra.

I also sent an SOS to a guy I know who now lives in Maryland, but who worked for years at a bike shop in Davis and would not only be able to give me advice on what I should get, but also tell me where to get it.

I also started to wonder if I was out of my ever lovin' mind. I had only been riding for just a few months and already I was thinking of spending another several hundred dollars on another bike. Who did I think I was? Haggie?

I started to think it was a nice "someday" dream. Maybe Santa would bring me a lightweight bike for Christmas.

Then I went riding with Cindy again this morning. Once again, I down shifted to 4 to try to keep up with her. I huffed and puffed. She coasted along to allow me time to catch up. I started telling her I really, really wanted a new bike. I also told her about my bike store experiences.

"I don't know enough to buy a bike on my own," I said. She agreed.

I told her I'd have to do a lot more research before I committed myself to another expensive bike purchase. She agreed.

Then she said those momentous words: "You know, they have a bike just like Amy's down at Ken's Bike Shop. My ears picked up. A bike like Amy's? A bike like the one I rode out to Winters? A bike like the one I'd come to love in just a few hours time?

"It's even the same color," she said.

The same color? The same pretty soft muted blue color?

And then she put the nail in the coffin: "It's on sale. And they only have two left--a man's and a woman's."

I couldn't get to Ken's fast enough. "That one," said, pointing to the pretty blue bike (which just happens to have Shimano components, so it's a Very Cool Bike). I told him I wanted an upgraded seat--padded, but maybe not so wide as my big ol' bike seat--but definitely with a cut out for all the sensitive parts. And an odometer, so I can continue to bore everyone with how far I've biked. And a light so I can ride after dark, which I do at least 3 times a week.

It was all over in 15 minutes. I whipped out my well worn credit card and proved I am, indeed, the queen of instant gratification. "The Blue Angel" was now mine.

I went to work while they fixed my bike the way I wanted it, but I left work early so I could get it before dinner.

When I brought the Specialized home, it sat in the carport for a couple of days while I struggled with myself, knowing that sooner or later I would have to actually get on it and start riding. But I was on the Blue Angel the second I got it unloaded. I zipped around the block at the highest gear, going 13 mph, which was unheard of on the Specialized. I was in love already.

So now I've become a one-woman 2-bike family. I'm keeping the Specialized because it has a basket and I can use it to haul groceries and produce home from the Farmer's Market. It will also give me a good workout when I feel the need to do some huffing and puffing. But I can hardly wait till tomorrow morning when I'll take the Blue Angel out on the road and see how she handles hills.

I may be in debt forever, but I am one happy camper!

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Quote of the Day

The secret of the universe is this: the universe doesn't care. That part of the job is yours.

--David Gerrold

Picture of the Day

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Happy Birthday, Momma!



One Year Ago
She's Gone Global
Peggy did a terrible thing to me this morning. She's a mean, nasty, terrible person.

Two Years Ago
Maybe it was the Ham
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the connection between funerals and ham here before. When David died, it seemed like in the course of two weeks the whole town showed up at our doorstep with offerings of condolences or food or both. A surprising number of people brought ham. I’m not sure why. But we took in enough ham that we began to wonder why it was that people thought ham an appropriate thing to bring to a grieving family. It became kind of a family joke.

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Pounds Lost:  78.0
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer:  654.9 + 36

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