Saturday, March 6, 2010

2 bikes in the bedroom

What a day yesterday was! My friend Jenny had lent me her son's mountain bike, so I could train more realistically for the Otago Rail Trail bike ride next month. About 9a.m. I set off and rode from Oriental Bay to Hataitai, around the harbour front.

Beautiful blue harbour, with a sliver of sun on the far shore. Happy walkers and riders. It's great whizzing along in the fresh air. I was an instant convert. All my previous reservations were swept away in one short hour. I came home glowing and went to Onyerbike to buy a new bicycle for my very own.

1. Dare I ride in traffic? Sure, it's flat riding all the way around the bays, mainly on the footpath.

2. Weather: given Wellington's notorious wild weather, how many days a year could I use a bike without being blown off? Answer: who cares if I bike only 6 days a year? Multiply that by 10 or 15 years and it's worth the expense.

3. Storage: getting a bike into the back shed is painful. Move wheelie bin, unlock shed, jostle with 2 other bikes. Wrestle bike on to a ceiling hook. Answer: carry it upstairs to my apartment and stick it in the walk-in linen cupboard.

4. But won't a bike be too heavy to carry up the stairs? Answer: na! I can handle that, especially on the new SUB (Sarah Ullmer Bike) bike, which is only 12.2 kilos.

Both bikes are now inside, until Jenny takes her Giant mountain bike home. My new bike is a SUB Lime, step through, hybrid, upright position. I can cycle with my head upright, looking at people and scenery and street signs. Perfect!

All my SUB Lime needs is a basket on the front and it will look almost like a genuine old fashioned old-lady bicycle with modern engineering. Old ladies biking want to sit upright, not double over the handlebars with our heads down.

Around Christchurch we used to see old ladies on their bikes all their long lives. My Great Aunt Bim, for example. It was part of their life, and there was no reason to get off their bikes just because they hit 60 or 70 or 80.

Biking doesn't have to be hell for leather up and down mountains or around a race track, delightful as those are for some. For old ladies, it's about going somewhere and enjoying the ride.

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