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Bike Friday

March 24, 2012

Tags: movement, backpack, back rack, biking, bike shop people, bicycle, Bike Friday, Boston, car, exercise, folding bike, front basket, global warming, groceries, heat wave, helmet - biking, hilly terrain, knee pain, March, materials chemist, outdoors, pannier bag, plastic foam, Subaru, UV light

My car broke down – for good. A week before we wanted to give it away to a charity anyway. A still had the last car, my trusted sixteen-year old Subaru in the garage, but a had to go and register it. So, I reactivated my bike.

That’s not quite precise. I had never really used it because ten years ago, when it was brand-new, I worried it would be stolen. It is bright red, and folds to a rather neat parcel if needed. Because I am small and tend to topple with bigger bikes, this has small wheels; it fits me perfectly well. Now that it isn’t brand-new any longer, I dare leave it outside a store, locked of course, with an extra heavy lock.

Of course, this all happened when we had an eighty-five degree heat wave (in Boston, in mid-March! And there are still people who deny the reality of global warming …), and we live on a rather steep hill. Come to think about it: The hill was probably the other reason why I never quite took to biking regularly.

But now I am back into the swing. It is wonderful! I am getting exercise while I am outdoors. Within a day, I could feel the difference in toning my legs, and feeling more alive (not to mention PROUD!). I don’t take the fastest routes, but plan my way along beautiful streets. And not too steep hills, if possible. On a bike, you are closer to the street life than in a car: You see more, smell more, hear more, experience more! Other bikers smile at you because the recognize you as one of theirs: One of the people who want to make the world a better place.

The bike is called Bike Friday – that’s the brand name. Why I mention it? No, they don’t pay me. But there is also a movement called “Bike Friday(s)!” – meaning: On Fridays, instead of taking the car to work, bike to work – if possible. A brilliant idea – to give riding your bike a chance just once. After that, you might be hooked and will to want to ride your bike every Friday. Or every day. Think of the possibilities!

Same as with with running, I don’t do biking every day. Because of the really tough hill, I think I should not overtax my knees and give them a break. So, I bike only every other day. But if you live in flatter terrain, there is no reason to not bike daily. Unless it’s snowy.

Sure, I got a new helmet. I was not aware that the plastic foam of which helmets are made deteriorates rather soon in UV light, and that they should therefore be renewed every three years. Sounds rather excessive and expensive to me, but I am not a materials chemist, so I have to take the bike shop people (who, by the way, were extremely nice and patient) by their word. After a really bad bang you have to get a new helmet, too – the material is made for absorbing a good hit – but not several. Sounds

The only problem that I haven’t solved: Since this is a folding bike, there is no place to put a back rack or a front basket or pannier bags on it. For the time being, I am carrying my groceries in a backpack. Which doesn’t make it any easier to negotiate the hill. Anybody has an idea?
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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