Sunday, February 21, 2010

Amie and Reilly

I got up early this morning to take my new road bike which I have named Amie out for a short ride. I realized that my back just needs to get in shape for this new position and starting out with a 100 minute ride and 1500 feet of elevation gain was probably not the best idea last Friday. I also wanted to try out my new cycling shoes and clipless pedals (called clipless because they are instead of toe clips which are the cages that go around your shoes). Peter thinks calling them clipless even though you clip into them is ridiculous, but nevertheless, that is what they are called. First of all, they are awesome. I never realized how much my feet bothered me when I ride until I tried these. Second of all, they are really not that scary. I've been riding with toe clips for months and had one dramatic fall on them so I am used to thinking about getting my left foot out at stop sign. Plus, when you do fall it is in slow motion and maybe you skin your knee but that is something anyone over aged 12 should be proud to show off.

My ride on Amie was great. My easy cruising speed was 15 miles an hour and it wasn't too hard to get it up to 26 mph. I went for about 40 minutes and noticed my back a bit after 30, but not too much. I decided that was enough for my back for today and decided to take out my red hybrid bike for my training ride. I spent the whole first 30 minutes of the ride wishing I had on my cycling shoes and thinking of a name for my red bike. I decided on Reilly. It was my Irish great-grandmother's maiden name and I've always loved it. In fact, I'm named after her. She was one tough lady and lived to be (I think) 94 years old. She was sharp and healthy for almost all of her years.

I thought about the difference between the two bikes as I rode. Reilly is old and rumbly and felt so heavy after riding Amie that I actually stopped at one point to check to see if my back brake was rubbing again. Amie is light and smooth and WAY easier on the knees and legs. Amie's road-style handlebars offer lots of options and a way to get out of the wind. Reilly's mountain bike-style handlebars keep you more upright and give you lots of control while steering. And, thinking about these differences I realized what I really want from both bikes...a feeling. I'm not terribly concerned with speed although I do like the feeling of going fast. I just love the feeling of calm exhilaration I get on a bike. I like the focus and purposefulness. This is all I am doing right now...riding this bike. Amie means friend and I hope that we many great rides together for years to come.

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