This blog post isn't about crafting, or decorating, or new products. Sometimes you just have to take a break, clear your head and do something totally unrelated to the work that you do day in and day out......my most recent mission.......getting a bicycle so I can ride the Tanglefoot Trail with my family.
The Tanglefoot Trail is a "rails to trails" project that is supported local tax dollars. Finally, a really nice project that you don't mind seeing your tax dollars be used for. The trail runs from Houston, MS to New Albany, MS. If you would like to read more about the Tanglefoot Trail
, just click on the link.
Ultimately my goal is to ride from Pontotoc to New Albany, but first.....I need a bike.
Choosing a bike is no easy task! The first thing I do was to browse the typical sites....Wal Mart....Target....Dick's and specialty bike shop websites. I quickly discovered that I had to do more research before spending my hard earned dollars on a bike.
The bikes of today....are not the bikes that I grew up with. Heck, I was thinking that I for sure wanted at least a three-speed bike....but goodness....these bikes have 21 speeds and more gizmos and gadgets and descriptive words like Hybrid.....Comfort.....Cruiser.....Mountain Bike.....Step-Through.....Recumbent. Definitely more research was going to be required.
I found this website Bicycle Riding for Boomers
and it was a wealth of information. The thought of electric bikes for that little extra boost sounded awfully nice.....and the recumbents really looked interesting too! No balance required for a recumbent.....certainly a plus. All sorts of specialty bikes are available and all with a price tag.....you just decide on how much you want to spend.....then start looking at that point.
My riding will consist of just trying to stay up with Carrie, David and the grand kids on the trail. I'm not setting out to do a 50-mile trek anywhere. I want to just ride casually along, as easily as I can, take a break at the Whistle Stops along the way and enjoy the fresh air and exercise.
Our grandchildren are growing up SO fast....these opportunities to do things with them physically like this are limited I know. And I'm thankful that I'm able to ride a bike! I have friends and family that are my age that simply are not able to this sort of exercise either because of their own health, or the health of their spouse and it's downright shameful of me, for not doing better along the exercise opportunities. We work hard, and that's usually my excuse....we do work hard...but I don't have to be a retired nurse practitioner to know that doing hard work every day isn't the same as getting some regular exercise. So I'm going to try to do better. But, first.....gotta have a bike!
Armed with my knowledge gained from my internet search, it seemed the best bike for me at this time, might be the Diamondback Vital 2 ....classified as a Comfort bike. I read all the reviews online which were all very good. It seemed reasonably priced and was on sale also at the time. So the plan was to get up this beautiful Saturday morning and head to the local Dick's Sporting Goods store in Tupelo to see if they had one in stock. My husband planned to go with me, and we would go in the truck just in case it was a good fit for me.
Well....right out of the batter's box.....the 12 year old grandson, A.J., called to see if "Pop" wanted to go play golf with him and his dad. I got dropped like a hot potato!
But the day was getting off to such a good start weather wise....I told him to go play golf! That I would just go on to Dick's and look around......maybe Carrie would go with me.....and we would just look. Then he said....well....I could leave you the truck and you could go in it.
Now, if you have a husband with a new pickup, you can understand what sort of gesture this was.....huge!
My ride is a 9-year old jeep with almost 300,000 miles.....really! I bought it new and I'm driving it until it stops! Or so I've said......he's the one with the new pickup.....less that 15,000.....lots of bells and whistles.....so heading off to the golf course in my old jeep and leaving me the truck....was huge.
So I call Carrie and my best friend, Bettye and we head off to Tupelo......and we have Maggie and Matt. Matt who is 5, has already told me he can teach me to ride a bike.......he says....."just focus and keep on pedaling!"
Maggie, who is 10, is determined to help me pick out something snazzy.....and I'm guessing she doesn't want to be embarrassed by me...lol
We headed straight for the bike section and started looking around. A very nice young man came over to assist us and I start asking questions and he pulls out a bike......that's it.....it's the Diamondback Vital 2....he said one of their best sellers....and that they had been selling a lot with the opening of the new trail in Pontotoc.
I sat on the bike in the store....didn't try to ride it or anything, but he was impressed by my knowledge...lol. This was funny.....but he said most people that come in to buy a bike don't know that much about them. I can't imagine what someone at a specialty bike store would have thought or how eager they would have been to help these two baby boomers, a young mom and two kids shop for a bike.
He gave us over to another nice young man and he continued to sell me on the bike. He really didn't have to sell me, but I was very eager to hear all that he had to say about it. And he gave me instruction on shifting the gears and really did a good job answering my questions which were things like......can you put a basket on it? He even kept a straight face with that one......and said, yes I think we can order you one.
He spent a good deal of time adjusting the chain and explaining things.......as he explained things, it made me realize this would be a good time to go ahead and take an extended warranty. This is something that I rarely if ever do.....but I thought, if that chain slips off......it's Katie bar the door.
He had me sit, stand and adjusted the seat a couple of times and pronounced me ready to hit the trail. Don't send me hate mail.....I didn't get a helmet just yet.....this gal won't be riding on the streets and will only be on the trail with no motorized vehicles.
I should say too that we are getting a permit for the golf cart.....hey! We have a little one that can't keep up.....on occasion someone is going to have to ride along with him in a golf cart....I say it's not a bad idea......someone riding on a bike might get tired....and need to take a break and switch to the golf cart......just saying....
So we check out....the nice salesman loads the bike into the back of the truck and off we go.....he doesn't know that I've written his first name down on the papers......now I have a contact)))
We're ready to ride! Well...almost ready......We drop Bettye off at her house and Carrie, the kids and I head on to Pontotoc. Then we decide we might as well stop in Pontotoc and get me some new shoes.....new bike....new shoes....makes sense to me.
So we get new shoes.....along with some sports pants....t-shirt...tank-top.......NO SPANDEX...lol Gimme a break.....I'm riding for fun and comfort.......
We change clothes and head off to the shop. I haven't ridden a bike in over 30-40 years.....I'm hoping it's one of those things that you never forget.....and I keep remembering Matt's advice....."just focus and keep on pedaling." Course, remember now this is coming from a 5 year old who still has training wheels on his ride....
Terry meets us at the shop......he's quite impressed (and you know he is relieved that we are back with the truck). He unloads the bike and checks it out.....looks sturdy......lightweight......nice color.....all the important things......and he asks "think you can ride it?" I'm guessing it's a little too late to wonder if I can or not.....so I hop on and take off. Just like Matt said......"focus and keep on pedaling!"
I am amazed! It pedals so easy! This is going to be great......I can do this I'm thinking.....what a breeze...
I ride around the building a couple of times while I'm waiting on Carrie and Maggie. They hit the trail right below their house and are riding to meet me at the shop. Our shop is in industrial park and the Tanglefoot Trail passes right though the area. It's not a pretty area....but it's mostly flat and will be a great place for me to get on and off the trail.
I'm impressed at the length of time it took for them to get to the shop! Only a few minutes....gosh...I'm thinking by now that we'll be able to ride to New Albany ....tomorrow afternoon maybe??
So, they arrive and we head out on the street to get on the trail. So far so good.....I warn Maggie not to get too close to me in case I do something......well, stupid. I would hate for her to get hurt because of me......so she stays way back.....and I notice....Carrie is even further back....lol
We get on the trail and head south and we're off! Pedaling along....everything is going fine.....this isn't so hard....not much to look at but hey.....we have to take this in increments....we'll get to some pretty places soon enough.
We haven't ridden very far and it a little uphill.....and a little harder to pedal......and it's getting hot.....seemed like a nice breeze when we left....
I'm beginning to think......better not go past that next exit or we'll have to ride all the way down town to be able to get off......by this time Carrie and Maggie have decided I'm safe enough and not going to run over them, so they've moved up ahead of me.....or maybe it was me.....and I'm lagging behind!
Anyway....I start to holler at Carrie and say....we better hold up......so we stop for a minute and take a break.....and I'm thinking.....get off at the next exit.....and head back to the shop......they are pedaling along just fine.....I get off and walk a few feet. Then we reach the next exit and head back to the shop. I'm so hot and winded at this point that I'm thinking......where is that golf cart???
As we pedal back to the shop....I'm already telling Carrie.....get the keys....open the shop.....I'm not feeling so well....turn on the air......Maggie get my bike......we get back in the shop and just sitting down doesn't help that much! I'm in worse shape than I thought.....I'm breathing heavy..... pale .....sweaty ...... nauseated .....I figure this was probably a good cardiac test.....no chest pain.....no irratic heart beat......I'm just out of shape!!
Bless her heart....Maggie picks up a big piece of Styrofoam and fans me......offers to get me a Diet Coke....I must have looked even worse than I felt...lol
I recover pretty quickly and am able to see again.....we decide to leave the bikes at the shop since that will make it easier when we do our next little trek.
I wonder if we even covered two full city blocks! But I don't care if we did or not.....it's a start....it's just the beginning. Nothing worth doing is usually easy.....next time I'll go a little farther....work my way into it.......hold on to that sales receipt...
When I get my basket attached, I'll throw my camera in there and take some pics along the way. I'm going to enjoy this....or die trying))))