When A Bike Has A Life Of Its Own

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My old bike, shown in this post, was given to me by my sister in July 2016, which is to say, last summer. She had bought it for her step-daughter a few years earlier. It turned out to be too small for her, so they bought a more appropriate bike for her. My sister decided to keep this bike for herself. She rode it a bit and then it spent a couple of years in their garage. When she sold her house and moved, she gave the bike to me.

Earlier this year, around March I think, I bought a new bike. This one:

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When I did this, I gave the first bike to my friend’s 11 year-old daughter. She wanted a bike and was very excited about acquiring mine. Her mom wanted her to learn to ride it so she could ride with her friends and possibly ride it to school. She also saw the way biking had changed my life. Because of biking I learned to push myself hard, face my fears, exercise, and improve my health.

She then convinced me to hold a two-day biking camp for her daughter. She called it my bad-ass girls’ biking camp.

I talked to her daughter about bike safety and trail safety. I gave her pointers on how to ask for help, who it is safe to talk to – look for trail monitors, parks with a park ranger, showed her where friends of mine, (and her parents), lived, etc.  Then I took her out on the trails. I let her go at her own pace and pushed her to ride a little bit farther than she was comfortable with. But I also listened when she said she’d had enough and wanted to go home.

When I gave her the bike, it was clear the bike was already too small for her. It was too small for me and she was about my height at the time. Nonetheless, her dad thought she could probably ride that bike for a couple-three years.

She has grown in the months since I gave her the bike, as 11 year-old girls are wont to do..

Her dad hit a bike sale and bought her one that is more appropriate for her height and weight and will probably last her a lot longer.

My friend then told me they were letting the girl down the street, her daughter’s friend, “borrow” the bike.

I think this is just fantastic! I told her that if no one in her house is using the bike, they should just give to her if they wanted. Or donate it to Phoenix Bikes. She is concerned the bike may be a bit too big and heavy for the neighbor girl. Still, I love thinking about all he people this bike has helped.

The bike got my sister and my step-niece biking. I rode it for 9 months as I learned the trails in Arlington, VA and beyond, and reconnected with my love of biking. My friend’s daughter started riding because of the bike and we had fun times on the bike trails. And now the bike is helping her neighbor learn a love of biking!

I’ll probably lose track of the bike in pretty short order, especially if they donate it. And that’s OK. It is a good solid bike that has many more years of joy left in it. I hope it touches many more lives, teaches many more people a love of biking, and improves their lives as it has mine!

Bike to Work Day 2017 & Biking Challenge

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May 19, 2017 was the DC/VA/MD Bike to Work Day. A few weeks ago, I said I would blog about two events in which I planned to participate.

One is the fund-raiser for the month of June to raise money for children with cancer.

The other was the DC Bike to Work Day event. I work only two miles, (albeit up hill), from my apartment. I can and have biked to my office, but I had never participated in a Bike to Work event.

Now, I had been sick off and on for a couple of weeks. I am having problems with my gallbladder. I have gallstones and I’m scheduled for surgery, well, tomorrow, in fact. My co-workers know how much I love to bike. They also knew that I wanted to participate in the Bike to Work Day event.

I woke up. I felt like crap. I was nauseated and tired. And my stomach was sore, as it had been for the past couple of weeks.

Nonetheless, I put on my biking gear, packed a change of clothes, and biked to work.

The effort was rewarded by a resounding cheer from my co-workers when I dragged my bike into the office behind me. They were all so proud because they knew that participating was important to me and I did not let my gallbladder problems keep me from doing it.

I felt great!

I stopped at one of the pit stops on my way home and was further rewarded with a purple t-shirt, which to me was the coolest as purple is my favorite color. That crazy girl from Steel Magnolias was so proud of announcing pink was her signature color. Well, purple is mine. So, to get a purple t-shirt for doing something I loved? Awesome-sauce!

I also got a beer glass with purple lettering on it. That is now my favorite glass.

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Now for my surgery and the fundraiser…

I’m not sure what all I am going to do about that. Of course, I want to stick to my plan of biking 5 days a week, 10 miles a day for 30 days. Obviously, that cannot happen considering I’m having surgery the day before the bike challenge begins.

I think for the first week at least, I am going to have to change my bike miles to walking miles. Then the second week, I will probably to graduate to the recumbent bike in my apartment’s exercise room. I may be able to get on the bike outside before the month ends, but I do not know yet. I am hoping at least. Not sure if I’ll make my 200 mile goal, but I think if I make the effort and get as close as possible, I’ll be happy.

June Biking Challenge

I signed up to do a biking challenge for the month of June. I have challenged myself to bike 200 miles for the month of June. That is 10 miles a day 5 days a week for 4 weeks. That is a lot for me.

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Last summer, I built myself up to 8 miles a day, 3-5 days a week. But a commitment of 10 miles a day 5 days a week is a big step up.

I did this challenge for two reasons. I wanted to set a fitness goal for myself. To do that, I set another goal to raise money for kids who have cancer. I’m not doing it just for myself. I’m doing it to also help children who need the help more than I do. So, every day I do not feel like getting on my bike or going down to the exercise room to log my miles on the recumbent bike, I will have to think about the organization I’m doing this for. This  challenge is not just about me.

I would like you, my readers and friends, to help me stay motivated. Check out my challenge page and leave me a message. And if you are able, make a small donation to the cause. If you can’t that’s OK. I will be making my own donation, but at least stop by and keep me going!

I start in three weeks! The countdown has begun!!

 

It Finally Happened

I have been biking for almost nearly a year. My sister gave me hear bike a year ago. July, 2016. I have been biking ever since except for a few months in the winter when it was too cold or too snowy or icy to bike.

One of my biggest fears about biking is having an accident.

A friend recently told me there are two types of bikers. Those who have fallen off their bikes. And those who have not fallen off their bikes…yet. Well, now I am firmly in the former category.

Last week, I took a small tumble on my bike. I have to admit, it freaked me out a little bit. I took about a week off of biking to recover. It was easy to do as it rained for a few days and was pretty cold outside. And I worked a bit of overtime. Still, I was nervous about getting back out on the trial.

This is what happened…

I took a route I did not normally take. I tried a different part of the trail. I went under Four Mile Run Road instead of crossing and turning onto the W&OD trail. I had never been down that end of the Four Mile Run Trail and I thought I would explore a bit.

Under the road, there was a sizable crevice for water drainage into the creek which was to my right. Across the crevice was a slab of concrete which one could walk or, ostensibly, ride across safely without getting wet. I felt a little nervous about riding across it, but I proceeded anyway.

I moved across slowly and started feeling wobbly, so I put my right foot down to balance myself. Problem. I was too far over to the right and did not have enough slab on that side. So, when I put my foot down, I went all the way down over into the crevice onto my side, the bike on top of me.

I hurt my knee a little, scraped my forearm and elbow, and hurt my shoulder a little. Fortunately, I was wearing my knee brace, which saved my leg from any abrasions or cuts. And I only had minor scrapes on my arm. Nothing was seriously hurt except for maybe my ego.

There was a man and his young son on the other side of the creek who saw me fall. He yelled across and asked if I was OK. I said I was. There was a picnic table nearby and I got up and walked my bike over to the table. I drank some water and poured water over my injuries and tried to assess the extent of the damage. He and his son walked over to make sure I was OK.

He examined my knee, which had turned a little purple, and suggested I immediately return home and put ice on it and maybe seek medical attention. After talking with me for a few minutes, I guess he figured I was OK, and he went on his way. I did notice he and his son kind of hovered nearby though and they cheered when I got on my bike and rode away.

I have to admit, getting back on the bike after my tumble was a little harder than I thought it would be. As soon as I tried to pedal, I had an overwhelming sense of trepidation. I was on a slight downward slope, and all I could think about was falling again. I walked the bike down to a flatter surface and started there instead. Still, I felt it imperative that I actually get on the bike and ride. So, I did. And I’m glad I did.

I did take his advice and rode back to Shirlington and stopped at a coffee shop. I got some ice and removed my knee brace. My knee actually was not purple. Thank goodness. I iced it for a while before walking up the hill to my apartment. A week later, I’m fine and everything seems to have healed up nicely.

I’m back to biking. I went out yesterday. And I am heading out today after I post this entry. My minor accident has left me a bit skittish, but still undeterred.

I am participating in two upcoming biking events. One is bike to work day on May 19. And the other is a biking challenge in the month of June. I will be posting details on both later this week.

In the mean time…Safe Biking!

 

To The Blossoms!

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Every year on my weight loss blog I write about my walk to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC and my walk around the tidal basin.

The Cherry Blossoms are pretty much gone already, but last week I did my annual pilgrimage to the Tidal Basin. This year, however, I biked!

The ride is 6.99 miles from my apartment on the Mount Vernon Trail each way. Currently, part of the Mt. Vernon trail is closed for construction, so there is a small detour on the Four Mile Run trail, Which take it just over the 7 mile mark each way.

The ride is a lot easier this year than it was last year. In fact, last year, I never made it as far as the Tidal Basin. I only made it as far as Gravelly Point which is about 1.5 miles from the Tidal Basin. I think buying a lighter bike helped, but I also feel that I am getting stronger the more I ride. Total ride to the Tidal Basin and back – 14 miles.

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Because of the mid-March snow storm, the blossoms were not as spectacular as the have been in recent years, but I still enjoyed seeing them. There was definitely some damage as they started to bud in the days before the snow storm.

Cherry Blossoms are the great harbinger of spring for the DC area. One really feel as if you are awakening from the long, dark winter once the cherry blossoms arrive.

I did get a couple of pictures. I did not walk the entirety of the Tidal Basin as I have in years past, but I was so excited I was able to just bike all the way there!

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Yesterday, I went back to the Tidal Basin and then rode on to the Washington Monument. I eventually made my way up to the Whole Foods near GW University and had some lunch. That was about a 9 mile ride, although admittedly, I did have to walk a good half mile or so. That was about a 18 mile ride total.

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My goal is by the end of summer/early fall, to be able to ride down to Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home. And back, of course. Mt. Vernon is about a 14 mile ride from my apartment, so 28 miles round trip. I am going to prepare myself for a 30 mile ride. I feel confident I should be able to do that if I keep biking all summer. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, Enjoy some blossom pics!

International Women’s Day / Women’s Strike Alternative

The Skinny Girl Inside

Want to support a woman-owned business on #internationalwomensday? Can’t take the day off to participate in the #womensstrike? Don’t have anything #red to wear? Support this indiegogo campaign started by my friend Sushmita! She owns an art studio in Arlington, Va and is my dearest friend. I also wrote a poem for this project, which is called “Thou Art: The Beauty of Identity.”

Make a donation, and let me know. I will email the horrible unedited version of my badly written poem! If my embarrassing myself is not incentive enough, I don’t know what is!

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New Recruits!

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That’s right, bikers recruit! Well, I kind of did today. A friend of mine, who has followed my journey from when I weighed 300 pounds to my current ongoing love affair with biking messaged me last week. I inspired him. He wanted me to go biking with him.

Thierry is in my writing group in Arlington, VA, aptly named, The Arlington Writer’s Group, hereafter known as AWG. He is a little older than me and has had some health issues off and on. He was nervous about wanting to bike again, as I was when I first started. Having a friend along definitely helps. It is fun, and it is encouraging. And it forces you to actually follow through with something you want to do but are a bit apprehensive about starting.

We were going to bike yesterday, but it barely made it over 40 degrees and was very windy. Not optimal conditions for biking, let alone starting to bike after a long, long hiatus. So we adjusted our plans to bike today since I was off work. I got up early and was at his place at 10am. We loaded up his bike onto my car, went tot he gas station to make sure our tires were full, then headed out to the W&OD trail.

He is definitely in much better shape than I was when I started biking. I could barely sit on my bike and had to practice regaining my balance my first time out. I rode 1.5 miles to my friend’s house and back and was exhausted. He had no problem getting started.

Today, Thierry and I rode 6.8 miles!!!

I have to say I’m impressed. I think we both did a great job. Granted, I normally do 8-10 miles when I got out, but still. For his first time on a bike in years, he did great!

I told him if he wants to bike next week to let me know. He may change his mind about the whole biking experiment after tomorrow. Today, I’m sure he’ll feel great. In a day or two, he may hate me. But for now, I have a new recruit!

 

10 Things I Love About Biking

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My New Bike!

I have been wanting to write this post for a while, especially since I wrote the 10 Things I Hate About Biking. So here it is:

10 Things I Love About Biking:

  1. Biking is Challenging – I love a good challenge. I tend to be singular in what I challenge myself with. Mostly, the only challenge I really have is my work. Last year was particularly difficult and work took up a huge amount of my time and focus. Biking offered a counter balance to the work challenge. It was personally challenging for me to get on the bike. I forced myself push a little farther every day.
  2. Biking is Fun! – Honestly, it really is. I have said many times it was hard work, but the pay-off for that hard work is that I get to bike. I love the feel of the sun on my face, the wind in my hair. I love flying down hills, or the steady pedaling of riding on a flat trail. I feel free in a way that I do not feel walking or *gasp* running, or doing any other kind of exercise.
  3.  The “Biking Community” –  I am not sure if it is the same in every community, but in Arlington, there is a big informal, (and probably formal if I looked into it more), biking community. A lot of people bike here. There are bike trails everywhere and most of the streets are accommodating to bikers. And other bikers kind of look out for one another. This is something I was not really aware of. One day in August was particularly hot. I was thirsty and pulled off the trail for a moment to drink some water. I’m sure my face was red and I was very sweaty and panting. One girl slowly road by me and asked if I was OK. I assured her I was just thirsty and she pedaled on her way. Occasionally, you get the person who is aggressively concerned with your biking. Annoyingly so, in fact. “That bike is too small for you!” One such person yelled to me as I was slowly riding up hill. “You need to raise your seat! You’ll blow out your knees!” I had to stop and walk the bike up the hill and he came over to try to show me how to raise my seat. Dude! Seriously? At that point in my biking I was just a few days out and feeling very unstable on the bike. Raising my seat was not something I was quite comfortable with yet. I waved him off and told him I was OK, and he grumbled his disapproval and walked away. Creepy. Fortunately, my experiences with other bikers has been much more pleasant.
  4. Supportive Bikers – This is probably a sub-group of the biking community, but I have really come across so many bikers who have been very supportive of my efforts. There’s the girl who offered to fix my flat tire. The guy who stopped to see if he could fix my handle bars. And bikers who just acknowledge me with a polite nod as they pass. But my favorite person, I “met” on one of my first rides. I was re-entering the Four Mile Run trail from South Glebe. There is a slight incline as you enter the trail. I was really struggling to get up the teeny hill. I wanted to push myself to the top. I was traveling at a snail’s pace. A woman rides up behind me and announces she’s passing me on my left. I was literally about to give up and get off my bike when she said as she rode by, “Keep pushing! You got this!” Her words were just the impetus I needed. Two, maybe, three pedals later, I crested the hill and yelled out, “I did it!” She raised her fist in the air in solidarity and rode off.
  5. Being Outside – I could go to gym and ride the stationary bike or join a spin class, but that really never held any appeal for me. I love being outside. The feel of the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. Amazing. Plus I get to see all the beauty around me. Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons. I love the feeling of renewal in the spring air, the blooming of the cherry blossoms, azaleas, budding trees. And the last splash of color and cool air of autumn. And everything in between.
  6. Pushing Myself – I love pushing myself. This past year, I have ridden harder and farther than I ever thought I could. I love to see how far I can go. There have been times I have pushed too far, but I’ve always made it back home, even if I had to walk. The farthest I ever pushed myself to date is my ride from home to Chinatown in DC. It was much farther than I thought it was. Google Maps initially said it was only 6 miles from my house and would take an hour. Google lied. On the bike trail, it was probably 10 or 11 miles. And it took almost two hours. I do not regret doing this though. It was hard and a little scary, but I had a lot of fun.
  7. Riding Downhill – Need I say more? Yes, it is a little scary, but man is it ever fun! I push myself to ride a 4 miles on a slow steady incline on my regular ride. The reward is, I get to ride about 4 miles on a slow steady decline on the way home. The downhill part of the ride is what everyone who dreams of riding thinks biking is like, pedaling effortlessly down the trail and enjoying the ride. And that is what it is like sometimes. But you do not think of the long slog of pushing up hill to get there. The uphill is what makes the downhill really worth it though.
  8. It Is Hard – I like that biking is difficult. One of my favorite movie quotes is from A League of Her Own when the obnoxious Tom Hanks character says to star player who is walking away from the game, “It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” Of course, in Northern Virginia, I think everyone does bike, but that’s not the point. The point is, that I have forced myself to do something that was difficult for me. And the rewards have been immeasurable.
  9. Being Present – There are numerous articles about the benefits of being present in your life, living in he moment, appreciating the here and now. So many of us just coast through our days. Or our schedules are so full, we are just racing to get to the end of the day so we can collapse on our beds for a few hours of respite before we begin again. I often say that when I’m at work, I feel like I’m wishing my life away 8 hours at a time. I’m never fully there. Always planning for the next thing. When I’m biking, I’m not doing that. I have to be focused and present all the time. There are so many things that can derail my ride, cars, traffic, pedestrians, obstacles on the trail errant two-year olds running in front of the bike. You have to pay attention if you want to be safe. Of course, my mind wanders and I think of other things while I’m biking. I think about writing, and all the things I have to do when I get home or get to work, but always, I’m paying attention to the trail, the bike, how I feel, am I hydrated, should I rest, how far I am from home. Biking is one of the few parts of my life where I’m not just waiting for the time to pass so I can get to the next part of my day. I am happy just to be in the moment biking and loving it.
  10. Overall Feeling of Well Being And Accomplishment – I feel better when I bike. My health is better. My breathing is better. I feel stronger and more confident because of biking. I know something about myself. I know that I can push myself physically to achieve a goal. This is something I have not always felt I could do. As someone who spent most of her adult life morbidly obese, the idea of excelling in any kind of physical activity was almost unthinkable. That is no longer the case.

10 Things I Hate About Biking

I wrote this post a few months ago on my other blog, A Skinny Girl Inside. I plan to follow up in a day or two with the 10 Things I Love About Biking.

 

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Post biking face

I have decided that since I am biking a lot, 3-5 times per week, that I want to do a few more posts about biking. I have another two in mind after this one. But it has become such a big part of my life recently that I have been thinking about it a lot, and since I have a blog, I have decided to share those thoughts with my readers.

Biking as a kid, I did not really think about it much. I just got on the bike and peddled away. Biking was transportation. It was freedom. It was a way to hang out with the other kids in my neighborhood. I never really thought of it as exercise, although clearly it is. It was just fun.

As an adult who recently started biking again after a 20+ year hiatus, I think about it probably way too much.

Today, I’m going to write about 10 things I hate about biking.

  1. It is hard work – OMG it is hard work. People who bike regularly make it look so easy. Don’t fool yourself. It is not.
  2. Hills – Hills suck, and by hills, I mean up-hills. Down-hills are kind of awesome. Up-hills feed back into #1. They are hard. I have to peddle harder. I sweat more. I breathe heavier. I struggle. I fight. Sometimes, I get off the bike and walk up the hill.
  3. Peddling – Peddling is hard, especially if I am peddling up-hill. Nonetheless, I cannot bike if I do not peddle.
  4. It is scary – Biking is scary. Especially if I’m going fast, and by fast I mean, well slow really. Because I’m way slower than most other people on the trails. But still, the potential for crashing, falling over, running into people is very real.
  5. Crashing my bike – I haven’t yet. I’ve been pretty lucky. I have stumbled here or there. I even ran into a wall, sort of. But I haven’t really had a wreck or even tipped all the way over.
  6. Cars – Let’s face it, cars are very scary to people who bike. They are very dangerous. If you’re in a car and you have a small accident with a car, chances are good you will be fine. If you’re on a bike, and are in a small accident with a car, maybe not so much. You would think cars would be more careful around bikers, but they are not. At least I assume they are not. That’s the safest way to be around cars. Assume they are dangerous and have every intention of hitting you. Get out of their way.
  7. Pedestrians – Pedestrian and other bike trail traffic are dangerous as well. Pedestrians, small children, they all just walk right out in front of you. They don’t look. And they never will. I saw an accident in DC one time when I was walking to work from the metro. A pedestrian crossed against the light and while she looked for cars, she did not look for bike traffic. She walked right into the bike lane without looking and the biker ran right into her. She then got up and berated him. The laws tend to favor the pedestrian as the biker or should be on the lookout for them at all times, but seriously, pedestrians are stupid sometimes.
  8. Hot weather – Weather can make all the difference in a good ride or a bad ride sometimes. I have biked in extreme heat. The one time, it was about 100 degrees and because of the humidity, we were under a heat warning. I required a lot more water. I actually ran out before I made it back home and was afraid I was going to pass out. I ended up walking my bike the last quarter mile. I’ve been sunburned and even have a strange tan pattern on my hands because of my biking gloves.
  9. Cold, wet, windy weather – The weather here is starting to cool off. I actually like biking on cooler days, but colder weather comes with it’s own risks. If I do not dress properly, I could catch a chill and get sick. The wind also makes it harder. Biking on really windy days is tough. It is kind of like biking through marshmallows. The peddling is harder. Going up-hill is harder. It sucks. Oh and across bridges on a windy day? Scary! I’m also concerned about the falling leaves. If they get wet and I bike through them, my tires could slip and I could have an accident. Plus as the temperature drops and precipitation turns to ice or snow, the weather will eventually prevent me from being able to bike.
  10. Fear that I will quit – All of the above things I hate are basically about me facing my fears. The nine reasons I hate biking are all reasons I could use to quit. I fight every day that I bike to get out there are peddle my 8 mile roundtrip route. Every time I get out there, I consider it a success no matter how far I ride, how difficult the ride, or how I feel. Some days, it is all I can do just to get my biking gear on let alone get the bike out the door. I have to fight the myriad of things going through my head that tell me it is OK not to bike today. I have a headache. I’m tired. I have to work later. I worked last night. I have to do laundry. The cat needs me to stay home. The sun is shining. It is cloudy. I could get caught up on XYZ tv show before work. I slept too late. I never game anymore. I could get an hour of gaming in. The day ends in a Y. Yet, so far, none of that has deterred me.

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.