Monday, May 11, 2009

New Mode of Travel

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Don't tell Oma.
She's getting a new ride for Mother's Day."

It's been 27 years since I've been on a bike.
The little girls ran behind me calling, "You can do it, Oma!"
Chloe (7) was encouraging with a shout: "Oma! You're almost as good as me!"

Opa took his turn, too.
He showed off his paper-boy skills with a no hands demonstration.

And for those of you who have worried about Pete,
I'm happy to report he's back in the seat less than three weeks
after his near-death experience.
(You can't even tell he's wearing both a neck and a back brace.)

I realize riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike to most of you. You're fit, or young, or athletic, or nature lovers, or all of those things. I'm none of those things. I actually didn't learn to ride a two-wheeler until I was in 4th grade.

My bike was old-fashioned even in 1958. Dad found it used in an ad in the newspaper: blue with fat wheels, a fat seat, and high, wide handlebars. There was a buzzer on the side and a book rack on the back, which could double as an extra seat (for a rider with good enough balance to take on a passenger. Not me.)

Eventually I felt comfortable cruising the neighborhood, but I don't think I ever rode more than a mile away from home. I was scared of bumps, wary of hills, intimated by barking dogs, uncomfortable in the wind, and alarmed by traffic. I know I sound pathetic, and I was. Am. My idea of exercise has always been turning the pages of a book quickly.

In those days I walked to school, and everywhere else, so my sedentary personality didn't mean a sedentary life-style. Later I was pregnant nine times in eleven years (just seven kids, though) and forever chasing two-year-olds, so my body was getting a workout without any extra effort.

Now, for the first time in my life, I can do pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want. And what I want to do doesn't take a lot of movement. My eyes, mind and fingers move nimbly enough, but the rest of me is more like a lump of clay piled on a desk chair. It's hard to pull myself into activity.

I have some exciting motivation, though. A fabulous new outdoor mall is being constructed just a block away. There will be restaurants, walkways, fountains, a stream and best of all, a giant new Nordstrom! Strolling this nearby three-block plaza sounds delightful to me, but the projected opening is not until 2012. I could be dead by then. Or at least old.

Which gets me back to the bike. I've decided I have to get mobile. My legs have to be in working order when I finally have my kind of neighborhood destination. I claim no noble incentive—my carbon footprint doesn't worry me much, and I don't stress about my core or my rpms or my muscle mass index, or whatever. I just want to have the physical strength to shop and not drop.

And there's even a tie-in to blogging. Five years ago I couldn't turn on a computer. Now I can't turn it off. I've learned to cut, paste and copy, download iTunes, upload files, overload iPhoto, and all sorts of stuff I didn't think I could ever do. I've even recalled an ability to write, and I've written some books. I can succeed at new things. So why shouldn't I become an athlete? After all, it's as easy as riding a bike.

Thanks, Opa!

Are you riding into new territory? What motivates you?


Gordita said...

Great mother's day gift! Yellow is such a happy color for a bike. I love it. Have fun!

Bev said...

nice bike!

like you, I came late to this whole bike riding thing, and never really got comfortable doing it.

Over the years I've owned 3 or 4, but I've finally decided my balance just isn't good enough for biking, so I'll stick to what my grandma called "shanks mare" --- walking seems to be more my speed! (and I can use my camera while I'm doing that!!)

Glad you had a good mother's day!

Christie said...

That is the CUTEST bike ever. Way to go, Oms. You could write a book about training for a shop-a-thon.

Polly said...

I love the bike! you're a natural! I can just see you speeding through the neighborhoods!

gab said...

So cute! Happy mother's day!

Sheri said...

Way-ta-go! What happened to the water disco?

Jenibelle said...

I keep my broom in good working condition at all times.

diane said...

You look so young and happy riding your darling yellow bike. I'm impressed. The only bike I can ride is stationary. You go girl. I would love to shop with you.