Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Beginnings of My Addiction

So, how to exercise in a practical way? A bike. A little store by the name of Trader Joe's opened up exactly 1.25 miles from my house. I had the inspiration I needed. A bicycle, a basket, and three small grocery trips a week. That's how it started, one mild week in April.

My Columbia hybrid became my morning cup of coffee. I started buying the smallest amount I needed, just so I'd have to ride back to TJ's the next day. (A side benefit was that my grocery bill dropped. not much room for pricey junk food in a bike basket with the essentials.) Soon, that 2.5 miles a day wasn't enough. I needed more.

So, popped the bike in the back of the truck, and started riding the trail at Riverside Park a few afternoons before picking the kids up from school. Pretty soon it was almost every day, and one trip each weekend.

Bought a computer, so I'd know how far I was riding. Then added cage pedals. Then I started paying attention to my speed, and working on maintaining a certain pace, with the help of Their BPM mixes are fantastic!

A friend of mine, PJ, suggested I try the Silver Comet Trail. He rode with me a few times, and Wow! did he ever help me take it up a level. I was planning a 5 mile stretch down the trail, figuring 10 miles was the longest I could handle. But, thanks to his gentle pushing and wonderful conversation, 15 miles flew by.

I started going for longer rides 15 miles during the week, 25-30 miles on the weekend. I started renting the Trail Bike at the Silver Comet Depot to attach so I could take one of my children with me. (Those rides are shorter, just 10-12 miles) Picked up cycling shorts. The temps in Atlanta were climbing into the 90's, and it didn't bug me. I was still riding, loving the heat, going on 40 mile rides each Saturday. Felt great, but I wanted to go faster.

My hybrid is a great commuter bike. Comfort seat, the basket & mount on the handlebars, great for riding with the kids, but 40 miles takes a really long time at 12-15 miles an hour.
The tires are 650's, the frame is heavy, it's just not meant to zoom. So, I started trying out road bikes.

Specialized, not bad. Fuji, pretty nice. Schwinn flatbar road bike, liked it. Trek, 's okay. Then, I saw it. A beautiful blue bike, the seat just even with my hips. It called to me. I handed over my drivers license and took it for a spin. My sneakers slipped off the pedal clips, and the shifting took getting used to, but... I flew. The wind was actually loud in my ears.

And the bike was the perfect fit for my short legs and long torso. No stretching, no scrunching. No scooting around on the seat to get comfy. It was perfect. It was also $950, way beyond what I planned for my first road bike. So I went home.

The bike stuck with me. I'd stop by each time I rode the Silver Comet, drool a bit, check the price tag, and walk away. For that bike, I'd even learn how to use cycling shoes. Even if it meant falling over. I'd wear a helmet on a regular basis. I'd give up my plan of upgrading my 2nd generation iPod for another year.....

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