Purple and white streamers, spongy purple grips, I could have been 10 years old. But I’m talking about today — my triathlon — cycling, yoga, swimming. First I rode five miles to yoga class, then rode back home another five miles, then I jumped in the pool.
I’m proud of myself! It’s a hot Tucson nearly summer day. Riding home from yoga was much easier than I expected. I even figured out a route that lessened the steady, but I’ll admit small, incline going south on Dodge. It was easy. Yoga stretching must help everything.
Dan says my type of bike is called a mixte, designated by the position of the three steel tubes to the back of the bike. He got the bike for me last year so I could ride faster than on his son’s old mountain bike. I’m in training now before taking off on a two-week road trip to the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. We’re taking our bikes, Dan’s fire-engine red recumbent Hurricane (is it a low-racer?) and my fluorescent blue mixte.
Fifty-five years ago, I had a similar blue bike with hand brakes, something new at that time. I was a cautious kid. Somehow I got going pretty fast down a neighborhood street and lost control. Boom, crash, bang! Next thing I knew I was in the street; I may have blacked out. A kindly neighbor helped me get home.
A blood vessel broke in my eye. My eye looked bloody, icky, for a few weeks. People stared at me. I was embarrassed. I was too scared to ride a bike again.
I’ve been reluctant to ride on streets all these years. I still remember that scary out-of-control feeling — losing my balance, knowing I was about to fall, being unable to stop myself. Sure, I’ve ridden a third blue 10-speed around Southwest Harbor, which I won in a drawing from Bicycle Bob at Southwest Cycle around 20 years ago. I never would have bought another bike myself. Was I excited to win anything, so dang, I had to use it. It wouldn’t be right not to.
When Dan came to Southwest Harbor five summers ago I figured we’d bicycle around town. With no bike lanes, no shoulders, and tourists going wild over the ocean views, he thought it was too dangerous.
Could I have predicted that I would ride another blue bike on Tucson city streets, in traffic, among honkin’ big trucks? No way. That’s what I like about life, you never know.
They call the Hurricane a quasi-lowracer. Once I stopped myself from falling off it sideways by putting my hand down on the curb. Apparently if you have a real lowracer you can put your hand down on the street and never have to unclip your feet.
Thanks for clearing that up Dan, for all those cyclists — specially you recumbent folks — who really want to know. You know lots.