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Category Archives: bike

Still on my bike

I have not written much about my bike lately because there is not much that is interesting or amusing to say. And because it has been rainy so I haven’t had it out as much as I’d planned. But here are some things that have happened.

I downloaded a cycle computer app thingy that calculates many things including how far you have ridden and how much CO2 you saved by riding. It makes me feel very virtuous but sometimes I forget to turn it on.

I rode to school and collected Otto one day. Lots of people asked me about my bike and Otto had a great time showing it off. Then I fell off.

OK, technically I didn’t fall off, the bike fell over. And I caught it and stopped myself and it from falling. Which is good because it is rather heavy!

Fortunately no-one was there to see me. It was on a very rough and uneven patch of ground, and I was going a bit too fast. Still gave myself a bit of a jolt though.

It takes 50% longer (at least) to ride somewhere with Otto. I know because my Cycle Computer App told me so.

My mother saw it on Mother’s Day. She walked right past it twice (because it is so easy not to see something that is TAKING UP MOST OF THE FRONT PORCH) so I pointed it out to her. She gave a little scream and said OH! IT’S SO BIG! – Apparently she had been telling all her friends that I had bought a tricycle and it was “a dear little thing, with a market basket on the front.”

Otto and I rode to Safeway one day. That’s a little under 4km round trip and includes a stretch of bike path. We did a week’s grocery shopping which sat comfortably in my bike, but it was heavy to pull it onto the front porch when I got home.

While we were at Safeway, we ran into the Bigster’s French teacher. All the Bigster could say was, “Please tell me she didn’t see your bike!”

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in bike

 

Bike: progress report #1

The first weekend I had my bike, I did two trips.

Never ridden before, remember.

On Saturday, I rode to the 7-11 with Otto. It’s 600 metres either way, and we rode on the footpath. She rode her scooter in front of me, which I found challenging because she started and stopped pretty erratically. And fell off once, on the way home. Her, not me. Total distance: 1.2 Km. Total cost per Km: $1162.50

On Sunday, I rode to the 7-11 by myself. Otto was annoyed because this meant she didn’t get a Slurpee. I, however, did. I rode part of the way on the road, which I found scary when the noisy motorbike passed me! I had trouble getting my head around transitions – from footpath to road, and from road to 7-11. Got off & walked for those bits. Total distance: 1.2 km. Total cost per Km: $581.25

Then I didn’t ride all week, mainly because I was working crazy hours and didn’t want to ride in the dark. But also because it was bucketing down on Wednesday, which was the only day I wasn’t at work. Not game to ride in the rain or the dark yet. Total distance: 0.

This weekend, I didn’t do as much riding as planned, because I was at the Home Show on Saturday (of which more, anon). But I went out on Sunday and rode to Aldi. That’s a kilometer, maybe a little more. Call it a 2Km round trip. I parked out the back (later discovered I could have parked a bit closer) and had to stuff everything into a couple of carrier bags and juggle it all the way back. I find shopping at Aldi to be confusing and disconcerting. I bought a $15 bike pump, some flowers, a daggy yellow fluorescent vest, some caramel popcorn and a bunch of bananas. Also coco pops, orange juice and cheese. Total distance: 2km. Total cost per km: $320.45 (including the pump) (not including the coco pops etc).

My bike, in a carpark

My bike, parked in the carpark. Next time I'll park it at the bike racks round the front.

The good news was that even loaded up with shopping my bike was not noticeably heavier or more unwieldy to ride. And the flowers were a nice touch.

Shopping in bike.

Two over-stuffed bags of shopping. I covered the coco pops with the waterproof cover because I was ashamed.

It took me six minutes to ride home. That’s already faster than walking – and considerably easier, given what I was carrying. And I rode on the road and I did not entirely freak when the learner driver passed me. I don’t think they were going much faster than me, to be honest.

Still not game to ride at night, though. And I walked the bike across the intersection.

Next weekend I want to go to Aldi TWICE. There are ceramic knives, slow cookers and Lemsip Max to tempt me. And a foot massager and pink “Ladies’ toolkit” from Wednesday.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in bike

 

The quest for the magic tricycle

Having had my a-ha! moment and realised that what I really needed most of all in the world was a tricycle, I began my search.

There are actually quite a lot of adult-sized tricycles in the world. Some of them are even quite cool.

The Gomier adult trike is ideal for people with disabilities and trouble balancing. Image source:: http://www.bumsonbikes.com.au/bikes/adult-trikes-c-516.html

I almost managed to convince myself that the Gomier (or a similar bike) would make me look like a cool hipster.

The Mission Solo Tricycle. Image source: http://www.bikecare.co.uk/adult_tricycles.html

Nah.

Remember this photo young Padawan. We will return to it.

My searching took me more broadly.

There are these Rideable Bicycle Replicas as used in the Wicked stage show.

Rideable Bicycle Replica. Image - and Replica - source: http://www.hiwheel.com/antique_replicas/adult_tricycle.htm

But I was after a bicycle not a replica. It didn’t sound very sturdy to me.

There are Industrial Bikes like this banana peel.

Yellow: check. Looks slippery and dangerous: check. Image source: http://www.industrialbicycles.com/

But we know the dangers of banana peel. And to be quite frank, that one looks more dangerous than most.

At this stage I still had some thoughts of clinging to my dignity.

Turns out you can get Dual Seat Adult Tricycles. For those special moments when one seat is not enough.

That’s just not how I see myself. And I didn’t think it would excite Fraser either.

And this one just looks silly.

It's like a clown on a unicycle. Only a unicycle for people who can't balance on two wheels even one. Image source: http://www.fark.com/comments/4532921/Teenage-thieves-are-stealing-adult-tricycles-Its-perfect-crime-because-no-adult-will-admit-to-owning-one

I like the name of the thread that image comes from. “Teenage thieves are stealing adult tricycles. It’s the perfect crime because no adult will admit to owning one.”

And now we go back to that second picture I posted. Notice the expression on her face? Notice the expression on the faces of all the people in these photos? They are MORTIFIED to be caught riding their tricycles in broad daylight. Not just a little “ooo you got me” but more a “better get that plastic surgery so no-one knows it was me” kind of mortified.

Clearly my dignity was on the downhill slope and the brakes were off.

Not even this photo could save me.

Road racing on a tricycle. It's what all the cool kids are doing. Image source: http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-779.html

In the end I found a compromise to suit both me and what remained of my self-respect.

I’ve taken my cargo bike out twice now and I’m up to a massive 2.4 km of riding so far.

Total.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in bike

 

Bikes

My family home was on a hill. A steep hill.

Some of you may remember it.

That hill was so steep that my dad’s old VW Golf couldn’t actually drive up our driveway. My parents built a new garage at street level and converted the old garage into a study and playroom. There were 25 steps up to the house and when elderly relatives visited we would put a chair out for them at the halfway point.

When my dad had a stroke, the ambulance crew called for another ambulance, just so that there would be four of them to carry him. Then they drove one of the ambulances up our neighbours’ driveway so that they would only have to get down half the steps.

One day, a car driven by a drunken hoon came down our street and ended up halfway down someone’s driveway. On the other side of the street, because we were on the high side and it wouldn’t have got that far.

True stories. No exaggeration.

A quite steep empty lot

The people who bought the house knocked it down. And the block has been like this for about 5 years now. You can see how steep it was though!

The upside was that we had fantastic views. Our neighbours, who had a small upper storey, must have had even better views.

And the downside, for me, was that I wasn’t allowed to have a bike. Because of the hills, and because I have always had a pretty crappy sense of balance, and because my mother worried that I was going to die horribly if I had one. She may have been right, on those streets.

Also, sports? Not exactly my thing.

My brother got a bike the year I was 11, when I went to Germany for Christmas. 1981. I still remember. They bought a VCR too.

Anyway, moving on from the bitter disappointment of my youth. A few years ago, one of our neighbours put a bike out on the footpath with a “please take me” sign.

“That looks like a good idea,” I thought. “I can learn to ride a bike and it will be free!”

So I took the bike to the bike shop and spent an amount of money getting it fixed. Possibly as much as a new bike would have cost. At least a crappy one. But I was going to ride everywhere and be super healthy and lose lots of weight and be fit and a good example for my kids. And the bike had been free.

And then I got on the bike.

And then I fell off the bike.

And I tried – again and again. And I got a personal trainer to try to show me how to ride the bike. And I fell off – again and again.

And eventually even she said, um, this is just not working. Which, in hindsight, perhaps I should have expected. Given that I can fall off an exercise bike.

So I gave the bike to Fraser and I think he used it twice. And it has languished, ever since, under our carport. Because the girls need bike riding practice, but Fraser gets frustrated when they get frustrated, and it all ends in tears. Often mine, because I have to pick up the pieces after the explosive expeditions.

And meanwhile, I have no bike. And Otto likes to ride her scooter to school, which means I trot along behind her carrying her bag, while she spends more time waiting at the crossroads than actually riding her scooter.

And then I had a brilliant idea.

A pink tricycle

Tricycle image from Flickr: earlycj5. Creative Commons licensing.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in bike, grand plans, health, weight