The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, August 4, 2014

Shore Bike Challenges Perception

While vacationing at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware, an opportunity arose for a bike ride. The nature center provides bikes (and helmets too) free of charge for a couple of hours, and a decent 2 1/2 mile trail to follow. The helpful folks running the borrow a bike program gave us a map and showed us which direction to ride on the trail to take advantage of the shorter uphill and longer downhill direction. There was a time when that would have dinged my pride. To my surprise, despite the fact that in fanciful conceit I consider my mental "set age" as I like to call it to be 25 years old, my actual-aged logical self appreciated the advice.

Then we got to choose our steeds. All the bikes had thick frames, broad tires, and wide seats. There were your classic shore bikes. And here is where that mental set age really got challenged. You see, at home I still stubbornly use the 12 speed street bike I've had for a long time. That's the kind with the narrow seat, narrow tires, and curled handle bars. It's chief asset is that it will glide forever and has all the gears you need to gasp your way up any average hill. Truth be told, I don't ride it much anymore because, unlike my 25 year old mental me, the physical me is finding the thing damned uncomfortable.

So, I got on my trusty is stodgy looking steed ... and was horrified. It was bliss. It was comfort. It flashed me back to the bike I got when I was twelve (a British Hercules so heavy and durable and wide you could navigate it down creek beds with no difficulty whatsoever). Worst of all, I loved it. Those 2 1/2 miles went by smoothly and joyfully. I didn't care at all what it looked like or how it made me look riding it. It just felt too good and was too much fun. It did not make my spine snarl from being doubled over aerodynamically. It did not make my backside ache for the seat never felt like I was sitting on a balance beam. The braking was a little weird as it had been a very long time since stopping involved pushing the peddles backwards (coaster brakes ... I had to Google that), which left the peddles in lousy positions to start peddling again, but that was a minor issue in the face of all the assets. At the end of the ride all MY assets were happy ... and I was challenged to rethink that mental set age.  Okay, not really, in my brain I'll remain 25, happy in my denial, but I'm considering a cushy coaster style shore bike for the joy of it all. As for looking aged on one, who cares? After all, I grew up without bike helmets and still think everyone, myself included, looks incredibly goofy wearing them. Besides, while I might look um "older" on a shore bike, that has to be better than I'd look in those skin tight outfits designed to make street bike riding comfortable (padded crotch) and aerodynamic.

Surprising what you learn down at the shore on a beach bike! 

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