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!