Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Wheels on the Bike go Round and Round

I seem to be on a three month rotation here - December, March and now June - already! There was a time when I posted every week, even a month when I posted every day - anyone remember NABLOPOMO? 

Life rushes by, I mean to post something but then, in a blink, three months have passed.

Time for an update.

 We dusted off our bikes in January and have been riding ever since. The OC bikes every day - going for land speed records! He never does things by halves whereas I, apparently, do, as evidenced by all those half-made quilts. Finishing them has become my mission. The clock is ticking and the thought that they'd be carted off to the nearest thrift shop upon my demise fuels my determination, this year as never before. So I half-ass the biking too, going not every day but every other day. Which not only keeps it relaxing but leaves time between for quilting, reading, gardening, yoga, navel gazing and, at least once every three months, blogging. 

In the early months the weather was perfect, short sleeves the order of the day. I went out early yesterday in long sleeves, even though it was already eighty degrees. Having spent my childhood in raincoats and wellies, I love the sunshine here, but I burn. And freckle. And wrinkle - and how! And this in spite of slatheration with high SPF sunscreen. So - long sleeves from now 'til cooler days return.  I like and respect Dr. Dermatologist, but I'd rather not give her any more business.

So there I was, a sight to warm the hearts of alien children in search of their mother from whom they'd been separated when their UFO landed - There she is! There's our Mama - in that driveway over there! But they're wrong, of course. I'm not an alien, I'm not their mother, I just look like her.

 It's the helmet.

 The OC insists I wear it even though it flattens my hair. He also makes me wear fingerless biker gloves. At lycra though, I draw the line.

As I peddle down the driveway I note that we have clouds this morning, piled high on the horizon, soaring above the trees, mountains of woolly grey with silver tipped tops reaching up to where there is nothing but blue. I'm glad of them, they'll keep me cooler. There's always the chance,of course, that they'll blot out the blue and dissolve and I'll come home like a drowned rat. But I'll take that chance.

The OC rides for at least twenty miles, even on days where he says he's going to take it easy. The man can't help himself. Habits of a lifetime. And me? On my every-other-days? I peddle faster or slower depending on how much, or not, my knees ache. And when I come to a hill I downshift, and zig-zag, which always brings to mind The Mag. Sr. Margaret was a Kerry woman. She taught us Irish and in one lesson we were reading, in Irish, about a donkey and how, at a hill, he would, as the Irish phrase put it "take both sides of the road with him" meaning he was doing the same zig-zag as I was doing now because he was a clever fellow and knew he'd climb more efficiently that way than if he tried to go straight up. I take comfort in knowing I'm at least as smart as a donkey, and I'm sure The Mag must smile Up There to know that I still remember that long ago lesson.

And now the driveway is in sight again. It's been an hour, give or take five minutes. The clouds cleared. The long sleeves protected me from sun and wind. I don't feel like a drowned rat but I do feel like I'm melting. I glug some water, remove my helmet and stagger inside.


gz said...

Well done on your ride..doing better than I am at the moment....and every other day is right, leaving time and energy for all those other interesting things!

Annemiek said...

I’m Dutch. We ride bicycles from birth to the grave. Running errands, grocery shopping, going to work, visiting nearby friends…
Most of us have bikes suitable for all this, including transporting our children and an occasional friend. More and more elderly own a so called electrical bicycle: more speed and less effort.
We don’t wear helmets.
Looking forward to read about your adventures again in september!

Elephant's Child said...

Lovely to see another post from you - and I am already looking forward to the next. Helmets are compulsory here, though you wouldn't know it looking around.
I have enough trouble walking at the moment. Cycling is a step too far.
Reading and zoning out I manage. Well.

Sabine said...

As a livelong cyclist I salute you! My bicycle is my means of transport, no matter what distance or weather. My brother, equally attached to his bicycle as a means of transport, claims that helmets were an invention of the car industry to avoid insurance claims for endangering cyclists by careless driving.

Ali Honey said...

Hi Friend! I have to stick to walking as there is nowhere suitable to bike. Well there is but its tiny. Helmets are compulsory here. Millions are being spent putting in cycle lanes here but we all have cars and need more roads! How the hell would a 78 year old carry all the groceries 15kms home along a state highway on a bike ?

( Missed you! )

molly said...

gz - yes. I wouldn't have lasted a week if I'd tried for every day....

Annemiek - I hope it won't be so long 'til my next post! it was similar in Ireland. We rode bikes everywhere and as recently as my last trip home (too long ago) I still saw women riding bikes into town and back and forth to get places whereas here, the distances are such that it would be impractical. And so biking has become something we do mostly for sport and fitness.

EC - I hear you on the walking! I was doing pretty well on that until the last year or so. I used to love going on long walks/hikes but my knees object now so I humor them by biking which doesn't seem to bother them as much.

Sabine - We have our share of careless drivers here. Most drivers will give you and your bike space, but there are the few who either "are blind in one eye, can't see out of the other" or just resent having to slow down for you. Because of them and the chance that they'll send me flying into the ditch, I'm resigned to wearing that helmet, at least on trips longer than riding down the road to pick up the mail.

Ali - Grocery shopping on a bike would be a problem here too, unless we outfitted our bikes with baskets like the messenger boys had when I was growing up! And because it's so much hotter here than in Ireland, you'd need some way of keeping things from melting and spoiling before you got home. Some states really encourage biking as a means of getting to work etc. notably Oregon and Minnesota, to name a few. FL unfortunately is not high on that list. If you did ride your bike to work here, you'd need a shower and a change of clothes when you got there!

Wisewebwoman said...

I miss your posts and always elated when I see one from you. I am erratic too depending on my energy and where I'm going to throw it on any particular day.

I'm lost in admiration of your Lancette attempts, referring to the Armstrong wallah who stoked up on all sorts of enhancing goodies. Glad you are not doing the same but in awe of your pedal pumting.

I need to get at the unfinished knitting. It's embarrassing.


Pam said...

Ooh, look, a post! Well done on the biking. I haven't biked for years and no longer have one, but would quite like to... but probably won't. We do walk, though. But not in the hot, or not very far in the hot. And it's been quite warm recently, even here in Scotland.

molly said...

WWW - None of Lance's enhancers for me! Though I always have coffee before I go. Just to make sure I'm fully awake. In addition to quilts, I have a large bainin sweater that, in spite of all my beautiful Aran stitches, went horribly wrong when I tried, many years ago, to adapt a sweater pattern to make a man's cardigan. The idea of ripping it all out and starting over again fills me with gloom, but seems to be the only solution.

Pam - Amazing, isn't it? And you thought I had died? I have seen your posts about the beautiful walks you go on and am green with jealousy. Would love to bike in Scotland.
I'm tearing my hair out every time I try to comment on your posts as Google sends me in endlessly maddening and futile loops....