Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tour de Slow Pokes

On our spring break trip to Holland, we saw everybody and their dog riding bikes. Bitten by the biking bug, we ordered Cal a bike as soon as we returned from our spring break travels.  We had shipped over 3 bikes from Texas, so she was the only one without some wheels of her own.

Isn't it snazzy, with the silver seat?  Right now it's residing in the hallway area between the kitchen and office/laundry since it doesn't have a kickstand.  It seems to me that for £150 that little bit of essential metal would be included.  For those of you out there still converting the pounds to dollars, like me, this bike cost us $244.  For that kind of money, it seems like Lance Armstrong should come to the house and give us some pointers, right?  I've never been into the whole biking scene, so I'm sure this is just a drop in the bucket for a quality bike to those who are devotees of the sport.  We just wanted something for a 10-year-old to ride around the neighborhood.  

I know some people hate Wal-Mart, but I really wish we had that as an option for this bike purchase.  It took a week for the bike to arrive at our house in a box, as in requiring some assembly.  The one that cost us $244.  At Wal-Mart you pick out a good looking bike and get it fully assembled for around $100.  Don't I wish.  The husband, who had been in Texas for 8 days, arrived home to unpack and then put the bike together because he had promised Cal it would be ready to ride when she got home from school that afternoon.  Doesn't that sound fun, after a 9 hour flight?  Let the wrestling and cursing begin!

Most men don't read the directions, but my husband is pretty good about using them.  However, these were so poorly written that they weren't really helpful, so he was winging it and I was his trusty helper.  Since this bike didn't come with a kickstand, I got to stand there and hold it for him.  The back tire was in place but the front tire had to be attached.  And the handlebar.  Plus the front brakes.  Did I mention the seat and pedals loose in the box, too? 

So yeah, it took a while and there was the obligatory muttering, swearing and visions of putting it out at the curb for the garbage collectors while we concocted a lie for the kid that it was defective and we hadn't kept the receipt.  But we persevered and got it done.  I was gonna give it a test run in the driveway to make sure the gears changed correctly and brakes worked, but the big guy gave it a go.  I walked back into the house and missed the little show, when the seat gave way and the back tire pulled his shorts down.  

Check out my ride.  Pretty spiffy, huh?  It belonged to my mother-in-law (Hi, Rose!), but she gladly donated it to us.  I like the big ol' seat for my big ol' butt.  Yesterday after supper Cal wanted to go for a ride, so we pedaled around our neighborhood for about 30 minutes.  I had cooked breakfast for supper - sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs and pancakes.  It was tasty, but quite the heavy meal and we were F-U-L-L.  So we took off, staying on the left side of the road to go with the flow of traffic here in England.  The neighborhood is very leafy and it was a pleasant ride, with the temp in the 60s around 7:15 when we left the house.  Right now the sun isn't setting until almost 8:45, so the days are already getting long.  

Everything was fine until we got near the end of our ride and started down a road that allowed us to coast, which is great but you know that you're gonna have to pedal yourself back up afterwards.  With a belly full of heavy breakfast foods you're trying to work off.  Then there's the issue of my seat being a bit low for me and I felt like a bear on a tricycle performing with the circus, my knees up around my ears in danger of hitting the handlebars.  

We both got off our bikes and walked them up the steepest part of the hill, then Cal hopped on and since I couldn't just let her ride off by herself, I ended up "pumping" myself back up to the top of the hill with all that food bouncing around in my stomach.  Good times.

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