Sunday, November 22, 2009

At First Sight

It is so good to finally have my new bike in my possession.  Friday evening I went to the LBS to pick it up and was impressed with how kind and friendly the bike shop employees were.  One of them helped to put the bike onto my car rack for me.  One of the mechanics even took time on his way to his car to explain a detail about the bottom bracket that I was confused about.  I'm already looking forward to taking the bike back to the shop because I know they will treat me well.  Unfortunately by the time I got to the shop and then home it was dark out so there was no test ride that evening.  I couldn't keep myself from looking at my bike as it sat between the living and dining room.  This is his home until I can pop a kickstand on him.

I say him because on the way home my bike's name came to me. I had been researching Austrian names and things that have to do with Vienna all day because my bike is a Vienna 4 model.  Of course I was going to try and be witty with the name.  Well, then on my way home I was thinking about my brown bike and the color just stuck with me.  Then out of nowhere there it was.  My bike will hereafter be known as "Charlie Brown" aka "Chuck".  This has about a thousand different meanings for me, but the most relevant is that it makes me smile.  Charlie Brown is not super athletic, but he is steady.  That's how my new bike feels.

We took Chuck out on his first ride on Saturday morning.  We decided to do our favorite greenway trail because of the scenery and the length.  I took Chuck around the parking lot for a few minutes to get used to the gears.  Then I let Becca ride him for a few minutes.  Then we were off down the trail and I had the biggest smile on my face the whole way.

A few things I noticed about Charlie Brown right off.  He is taller then the distinguished gentleman, Kenta (who is insulted when I refer to him as "the old bike").  Chuck's handlebars are wider which immediately made me feel steadier and safer.  His tires are wider and offer a smoother ride and also add to the stability.  The internal gears are positively blissful they are so easy to change.  And Chuck has a bell which I love.  Love.  It is nice to give people on the greenway a warning when I am still a bit far back, so they know I'm coming and then when I get close I still give the proper "on your left call".  Now though I can do it a bit closer and at a much more pleasant volume.

The greenway we chose offers a few small hills, some road crossings and several intersections with other branches of the greenway system which were also all great opportunities for bell ringing.  Before too long I had to ask that we stop so Charlie Brown and I could have a photo op.  Charlie is not vain, but I insisted!  Then it was back on our way.

Going up the hills was so easy with the low gearing, and I felt so confident really letting loose going down the other side.  This was like a whole new world!  I felt safe and comfortable and steady.  And none of that means Charlie is a plodding old workhorse.  Quite the opposite! I felt comfortable swerving my way down the trail, using my weight to shift the direction.  I had never gotten quite that comfortable on Kenta.  I also felt comfortable riding with one hand again.  I could barely take a drink of water when riding Kenta because if I hit one little root bump or a freakin' acorn or something I was risking life and limb!

When we reached the end of the trail, I coerced Becca into stopping for a few more pictures.  While I was "in the zone" she took a break on the nearby bench.  I was startled to hear a man start talking from a few feet behind me!  I hadn't even heard him pull up!  We talked for several minutes about the planned extension of the greenway and bike riding in general.  Then we noticed a very tall bike rider coming down the trial with some children and a friend.  He looked really odd from  distance and as he came closer we saw he was on a unicycle!  He and his group stopped and talked with us for another 10 minutes or so and he told us all about riding the unicycle and how he had become interested as a way to work his core muscles. He said it took 10-15 hours of riding time before he became at all comfortable on the unicycle.  After a few more minutes we turned around and started back.

I was shocked to realize we had been out riding and chatting and taking pictures for over an hour and a half.  I couldn't stop grinning about my new bike and how wonderful it felt to ride.  I love the more upright position, the comfortable stance and the greater stability.  I can't get over the difference.  On the way home, I told Becca, "For my needs right now, I could not have ended up with a more perfect bike". 

Watch out Peppermint Patty--I'm in love with Charlie Brown!

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Courtnee said...

Charlie Brown is lookin' good! I love the matching rack and fenders--very swank!

Dan Nguyen-Tan said...

Lovely. And your smile says it all.

Brenda said...

Courtnee--Thanks so much I think he is one handsome guy!

Dan--Good thing is was too cold for bugs...I'm sure I would have caught one or two in my teeth!