Year of Pleasures #35

Posted by in Year of pleasures | 10 Comments

My new shiny big girl bike.

Columbia sports 3 speed bike

A few months ago, when the van was dead and we were on the fence about fixing it, I started scowering craigslist for a bike, despite the fact that I could not ride a bicycle. I learned as a kid, but wiped out down a steep hill at about 7, and decided “Nope, bikes are not for me.” 20 years later, and I was still bearing a grudge (and a gnarly scar on my knee). No problem, I would just buy a trike!

This isn't going to work...

Yes, a trike, which is actively advertised to “the elderly, and those with balance issues!” Considering I regularly fall down the stairs, and have been known to fall over while putting on pants, I would classify myself in the second category, but I convinced Tom that I really wanted the trike for the awesome basket on the back. As luck would have it, I found a high quality Torker TriStar for a great deal, and was so, so thrilled when it was dropped off. Right away I started playing with how to fit three children (and hopefully some groceries) on it.

Problem #1: You can’t hook the bike trailer up to the left wheel, without it being out in the street. I took the basket off and hooked it to the back axle, which worked, but limited how sharply I could turn right without the connector bar rubbing on the wheel.

This isn't going to work...

Problem #2: The wheel span makes it impossible to hook a rear-wheel baby seat. Also, you couldn’t hook up the trailer, or the basket.

This isn't going to work...

Problem #3: Okay, we’ll build a bench on the back axle, out of two rear-wheel seats! though.. the axle is only weighted for 30 lbs… and the lowest combination of children I have is 40….

This isn't going to work...

Okay, now I’m getting desperate. I’ll just screw a rubbermaid tub to the back, and all you kids just hold on, okay?

This isn't going to work...

Because I want this bike SO MUCH and if I didn’t have kids I could have it, and I would ride it to the farmers market and have a loaf of bread hanging out of the basket and I wouldn’t get Popeye legs from hauling around 100 lbs of kids and AARRGG just fix the *%$#ing minivan already, I give up.

So I sold it (to an 80 year old Korean man), and sulked for a week. Something about not getting to keep my dream bike served to rub in the fact that I, as a mom, am expected to always defer to the needs of others. Taking a backseat in my own life is one of the hardest parts of parenting for me, but seldom is it something as concrete as a dream bike. And I was pissed off. I wanted my bike, and I wanted to have the time (and energy!) to ride it. And while we were on the subject, I wanted to write daily, I wanted to cook spicy food without listening to the other 4/5ths of my family complaining about it, I wanted to go shopping without bargaining for good behavior, I wanted my hips to go back to their prebaby state, I wanted to finish a cup of coffee before it was cold, I wanted to clean my house and it stay clean for 30 seconds,  I wanted to just take a shower by myself sometimes. And I wanted my bike.

And so I fell in the pit, and wallowed there for a week or two. Resenting your children is probably a sign you need to get a new perspective, but I couldn’t see past my own (walking, not biking) feet. Slowly the sting wore off, and I started looking on craigslist for another bike. A two-wheeled bike. A big girl bike, as Ella reminded me. I practiced on Tom’s mountain bike around our back yard, in our driveway, and eventually on our quiet street. Once I felt comfortable staying upright, I even took the older girls around the block in the trailer (my legs were angry for days). I went to look at a few craigslist bikes, and turned them down because they didn’t have gears, or they were too tall, or the bike was less metal than rust.

But last week, I finally bought my big girl bike.

Columbia sports 3 speed bike

And it hauls all three of my kids just fine. Now I just need a basket on the front, and maybe some streamers.

10 Responses to Year of Pleasures #35

  1. FireMom says:

    I’m desperately wanting a bike, too. And a trailer. And I can’t ride a bike either. You’re my West Coast Sister.

    This post hit me in all kinds of ways. And screw hips!

  2. Kait says:

    I want a bike too, so I’m looking for a bike trailer that carries four kids and then I’m going to hook on a baby seat. ;) lol… so until then I’m sticking with a minivan. lol

  3. Kelly Berkson says:

    hehe, I love you.

  4. Meghan says:

    Be careful what you wish for because I am going to Walmart today and I know for a fact that they have Barbie baskets there :) xox great job learning how to ride a bike!

  5. Rachel says:

    I have this cool basket that you can pop right off and take into the store for a small shopping trip. It’s metal and can hold up to 11 pounds. I paid $40 for it but have been wanting to sell it for $20 for a while now. (With panniers, I never use the basket anymore, not to mention the bike I bought it for.)
    http://m.rei.com/mt/www.rei.com/product/776978

    Awesome that you’re finally on your bike! If you ever just want to go out for a weekend pleasure ride, we might join you. Now to start up a Mindful Mamas cycling club so we can all caravan along the south hill, lol!

  6. Robina says:

    Wow! This is inspiring. I too had a similar experience, also at age 7, and being a city girl never had much reason or motivation to learn to ride. And I’m dying to now! Andy gets places so quickly on his bike!

    He actually bought me one for my bday last year and we went out once…and then I found out I was pregnant. And I haven’t been on since, but I really REALLY want to learn. And yet I feel like an embarrassed idiot when I take it out. So this is inspiring to me. Everyone tells me that I will get the hang of it really quickly but truly that one day we went out I feel like a complete oaf.

  7. Christine says:

    I’m so glad you got your bike. I can really relate to your struggles.

  8. jennifer says:

    Aw. darnit. That tricycle WAS pretty cool. Just don’t buy anything. haha.

    Get someone to build you a rickshaw bike!

  9. Go you for finding creative solutions for the first bike. I have always looked in awe at moms who haul bike trailers behind bikes. I can barely haul myself on the bike. When I do ride it is at a painfully slow pace. I am lapped by tricycles.

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