A lot has transpired this summer.
As I wrote earlier, I was adjusting to a new phase of life without much cycling. After being taught by cardiologists and cardio therapists that I needed to practice restraint and moderation in all my activity, I have morphed into a walker and a hiker with some casual rides on my fat bike, my gravel bike, and my cruiser (yes, I admit I haven’t yet let go of the cyclist formula: “How many bikes is enough? N + 1 ; N = number of bikes currently owned).
Jenna Rinehart of Nicollet Bike and Ski Shop and my friend Liz Johnson have been gently urging me to consider an Ebike. Being a purist who believes cycling means moving through space and time on entirely my own volition, and my own power on the pedals, I was hesitant.
This year, I was also hesitant because I was afraid that if I got on an Ebike and suddenly felt my own ability to go hard once again, I would overdo, venture into the “vigorous” level of activity, and perhaps raise my blood pressure and do more damage to some of my arteries, or to my aorta which is dissected a tiny bit beyond that which they could rebuild and stint during open heart surgery.
So I stalled. Finally Jenna suggested that her father-in-law’s Ebike was available for a trial run while he was away for the weekend. So I borrowed it.
I got out on the open road and started pedaling, turned on the Ebike assist, and started to fly. I also started to cry. For joy. I felt like my old self again. I rode up one of the most challenging hills in our neck of the woods without my heart rate getting over 135. I got up to 27 miles per hour on the flat without a tailwind, without feeling like I was transgressing the “moderation” restraint.
I went back to Nicollet Bike and Ski to return the bike and told Jenna and Justin to order me one.
Jenna did a national search for a Specialized CREO SL in my size. This is a road bike with gravel capability. There were TWO–yes 2–in my size and this style–available anywhere in the U.S. One was in Bismarck, North Dakota, and the shop owners said we could buy it. Lo and behold, coincidentally, Jayden Siegle who works at the shop, was doing a race in Bismarck on June 11, and said he could pick it up. So the deal was set, and so was I. With two bikes available, I had no say about color, but that was the least of my concerns. I just wanted to RIDE it.
When I went to pick the bike up as soon as possible on Monday, June 13, imagine my joy when not only was it here, but it was this beautiful BLUE. We outfitted it with gravel tires that also roll like silk on pavement, and the perfectly fitted seat identical to the one that was on my road bike. I did trade in my dear Specialized Ruby Comp road bike to defer some cost, and I’m so in love with this new CREO blue that I don’t even miss it.
I took it for my first ride and cried again. I’m a sap, but I don’t mind. I’m alive and I can ride again, and I’m forever grateful. To the universe, to Nicollet Bike and Ski for gently encouraging me to try it and then for finding me this bike, and to my dear cycling friends who ride with me and with whom once again, I can enjoy real rides!
And Once again, I did a birthday miles ride! I realize that 66 miles would have crossed the line out of “moderation,” so I instead rode 66 kilometers with a few good friends! Say what you will about moderation.
I’m so crazy about this bike and really riding again, that I’m sure if you read this, you may get sick of reading about it!