Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bicycle Fever

Nora in the galleries after our first trip to work
Commuting to work by bike is a lot easier than I thought it would be. My first commute on Friday was a breeze. The morning trip into work lifted my spirits and left me with a sense of empowerment. I met one other cyclist on the way, who seemed surprised to see me. (Kerrville is not known as a cycling town.) The ride home was hot (100+ degree heat) but I made it home in less than 15 minutes and even made it up the hill on East Main without having to get off and walk (although I could have walked it faster).

Day two gave me another beautiful morning commute. The ride home, however, was another story. Saturday was crazy-busy at work. One of the biggest shows of the year, as well as the other three exhibits in the gallery, had its opening reception and it was an exhausting, high-energy day. After the day was over, I changed from my fancy reception clothes into shorts and a tank top and rose to the challenge. The weather was blazing hot! 106 degrees!!

I decided to go around the hill on Main Street and made a tactical error that put me on course to face an even bigger hill. Crap!! I pedaled hard to gain momentum before the hill and made it halfway up before I had to get off and walk Nora to the top. Honestly, I thought I was going to die from heat stroke!! Luckily, I had some chilled water in my basket, rested for about a minute and gulped it down before hopping back on the saddle and coasting downhill the rest of the way home. (Fortunately, what goes up, must come down!) I collapsed in a heap of sweat and quivering muscles when I got home.

After my third commute, I think I finally have the right route home figured out. The morning ride was as beautiful as ever: Cool morning breezes, waving hello to people I see along the way, and considerate Kerrville motorists. On the way home I found a route south of the hill that gives me a gradual climb around the Main Street incline that only takes me a block out of the way. I was home in about 10 minutes. Eventually my legs will be strong enough to conquer the hill, but right now I'd rather take it easy.

All in all, I am very proud of myself for what I've accomplished in a fairly short time. In the process I've become a cycle enthusiast (I did not need another hobby, but am embracing this new interest all the same). I am already planning my next bike restoration and frequently read bicycle blogs and classic bike listings on Craigslist and Ebay.

My husband, who also loved biking when he was younger and commuted by bike regularly when he lived in Japan, has caught the fever and we found him a beautiful 1972 Raleigh Sport that only needs a new saddle and tires before its ready to ride.
Nora and Ivy (my next project) welcome Norman Clegg to the herd.
When I asked my husband what he was going to name his bike, he said: "I don't name machines." So I am referring to this proper English bike as Norman Clegg (with Larry's blessing - he humors me). This beautiful, dignified bike demands both a first and last name with British roots. After we brought the bike home, I spent a long time studying the amazing artistry that was put into building Norman's steel lugged frame.

For those who are wondering, my bike names are character names from a British comedy that my husband and I both enjoy (bikes like Larry's are often part of the story line on the show).  The show is "Last of the Summer Wine" and it was the longest-running sitcom in history.  The show ran from 1973-2010 and is a refreshing, upbeat alternative to what the media in the US considers "entertainment."

Clegg, Compo and Blamire from
Last of the Summer Wine

Tires and tubes have been ordered for Norman Clegg and Larry and I are hoping to enjoy a ride together soon.

One of the things I enjoy most about this new interest in biking is that it has given Larry and I more together time. In the past, I'd get home after work and do something by myself while he worked out in either the woodworking or metal shop until dinner time. Now when I come home from work, we visit in the shop a bit, discuss bikes or I change into my scruffy clothes and we work together on a project. It has been a lot of fun.

Until next time.....


  1. I am love'n seeing the progress!! You keep "in motion" and by no time those hill will be a breeze.
    you go girl... for the ride home in 100plus weather.

  2. Great post! Your husband sounds like mine...."I don't name machines!"LOL

  3. You know, my old Fuji is leaning up next to Mom's shed. Maybe I need to revive that old thing

  4. Way to go. You've inspired me to ride my bike to work... soon. :-)