Today’s Fearless Biking Adventure

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Being February, one would not think that I could bike very much. But thanks to global climate change, it was 60 degrees here in our nation’s capitol.

I had a very hard time getting motivated today. I biked yesterday and was still a little bit sore. My butt had 3 months of sitting on the couch under a blanket drinking coffee and I lost my biker’s butt. Despite my padded pants, it was almost impossible to think of getting back on the bike today.

Nonetheless, I did.

I got dressed and dragged myself out of the house. It could be 30 tomorrow, so I’ve got to enjoy the sun while it lasts, right?

My front tire felt a little low when I got home yesterday, so I decided that my first stop would be the gas station. The very nice Shell station at the bottom of my hill has free air, something you do not see often anymore. The nice mechanic working there offered to help me, but I said no thanks, I got this. Then instead of filling my tire, I let all of the air out of it.

The mechanic did help me fill both of my tires and I was on my way.

I stopped and had coffee and got myself a nice protein snack of two hardboiled eggs and a small bowl of oatmeal. The spoonful of peanut butter I ate before leaving the house probably would not sustain me on an 8-9 mile bike ride.

That’s my usual  ride. I ride from my house to the Bluemont Caboose on the W&OD trail. That is about 4.5 miles. The ride is 4.5 miles on a slow stead incline on the way to the caboose and 4.5 miles on a slow steady decline on the way home.

After my snack, I hit the trail. About two miles in I was incredibly thirsty, so I stopped and drank some water. I checked my tire and it seemed fine. I was a little worried after letting the air out that maybe I had a leak. Everything seemed fine. The tire was firm and tight. So, I made my way to the caboose.

You can see where this is going, no?

Yeah, I arrived at my destination only to feel as if I was pedaling through molasses. And my tire was making this horrible noise. Yep, I had a flat. So, where was I? On a bike trail, almost 5 miles from home.

I had a choice, I could walk the bike all the way home. Something I was not relishing. Or I could try to find a place to get the tire fixed. I whipped out my phone and did a search for nearby bike shops.

The nearest open bike shop was almost two miles away. I called them to ensure they were actually open, being President’s Day, one cannot assume.

So, I walked the bike to the shop, listening to the sad noise of my flat tire dragging on the sidewalk the entire way. When I arrived, I was tired, hungry, upset, and mad at myself for not recognizing the warning signs of a potential flat earlier.

I’ve had flat tires before. But the last time it happened I was at home and popped the bike on my bike rack and drove it to the bike shop.

I know, total first world problems for sure.

I started looking around the shop and realized they only sold Giant bikes. My brother bought a Giant bike a few years ago for, I don’t know, a couple hundred bucks maybe? He brags about it. Basically, a Giant bike is about $1200 or more, but they sell scaled down models with low-grade parts that are much more affordable. What my brother has done replace the low-grade parts when they wear out with the much better high-end parts. So, now he brags he has a $1200 bike for a few hundred dollars.

I decided to look around while I was there to see if they had any deals. I’ve wanted a new bike for a while. My sister gave me my bike and it has been great as a beginner bike. But it is too small for me, with small heavy tires, and it is difficult to ride.

I found a bike for about $300 dollars. I pulled the sales guy over and asked, “Is this a new bike?”

“Yes it is!”

“Is that price for real?”

“Absolutely!”

“I want it!”

He was astonished. He asked me if I was serious and I said absolutely! He told me the bike I picked out was too big for me, but he has one for the same price he thought I would like.

I had been saving for a new bike and I was planning on waiting a few more months before I buy one. I had been researching and the best prices I came across were around the $400-$450 price range. I could not pass up $300 for a Giant.

It took me a long time to get home. I was very far from the trail and I knew how to get home by car, but the streets on that route are not always bike friendly. I finally made it home about 6 hours after I had originally left my house. Normally, I’m home in less than two. I was quite exhausted, but very excited about my new acquisition, which I should have by Friday.

A good friend of mine asked if her daughter could have my bike when I bought a new one. If she still wants it, I’m going to give it to her. If not, I’m probably going to donate it to Phoenix Bikes. They are a great community bike shop. They sell used bikes and have a great community program where they teach kids to build and repair bikes. At the end of the program, they get their own bike that they have put together.

 

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