Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bugging Out

Got home from the commute Tuesday astride the Red Sled, and noticed that I wasn't the only one enjoying the ride:

A stowaway! Egads!

Once I was able to loosen his surprisingly vice-like grip on my brake cable (which explains why he was able to hang on during my blazing sprint), I released him into the yard to start a new and exciting life in a different part of Des Moines.

(Astute readers will note the use of male pronouns above. I have no idea if this was a he or a she, I had no idea how to check, and even if I knew how to check, I'm not emotionally equipped for that level of insect intimacy. Call me a tool of the patriarchy, but I figured that a bug dumb enough to participate in the extreme sport of bike-surfing was probably male.)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Best New Bike Day Ever

My pal Amy first appeared in these pages after she handed me a pondering question about whether or not I'd keep going with the whole bike thing even if it meant risking my life (more than it does already on streets shared by idiots texting behind the wheel, that is).

In addition to her kayak habit (which inspired the original question), Amy also liked to bike before her big accident. Unfortunately, the brain injuries sustained in the post-accident recovery gave her some balance challenges that made getting back up on her old hybrid challenging. She consulted me as resident bike-nerd-friend, and I promptly went down the rabbit hole, researching everything from trikes to adult training wheels (excuse me, "stabilizer wheels") to stuff so weird that I've since blocked it from my memory. Somewhere in there, I must have pointed out the potential in bikes like the Electra Townie, since they let the rider stand flat-footed while still in the saddle.

Long story short (too late!), this happened today:

"So the big excitement for me this weekend was supposed to be getting adult training wheels on my old Cannondale. But since the wheels would not fit the bike I have, we thought about finding a bike that would play well with the training wheels. While adult trikes exist, they are annoying to transport.

And then I sat on a lightweight bike with a much lower riding position, different frame, and smaller wheels. It was so cozy that everything clicked and I didn't need the training wheels AT ALL... which I only realized when I had been riding the bike around the parking lot completely unassisted. Then I came to a safe stop and had a nice cry, because this has been a long time coming. (Shut up! Crying when you're happy is NORMAL.) I was even able to breathe well! It was a GREAT a-ha moment."

I like making new-bike-day happen (even when it's not for me), but this one is going to be damn near impossible to top. Now if you'll excuse me, I think my allergies are acting up. My eyes are all watery.

(Oh, Amy's taking suggestions for a name for her new bike, so if you have ideas, stick 'em in the comments and I'll pass them along.)