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Perhaps you’ve noticed that I haven’t written nearly as much about bicycling for exercise since I moved to the country. My parents gave me a bicycle when I was about 12 years old. I took care of it, and it lasted for many years. The fact that it didn’t have gears was not an issue because I had always lived in cities with flat terrain. But when we moved to the Hill Country, things changed. The first time I tried to ride, I couldn’t even get to the top of our driveway. A few weeks later I came across a notice in “Want to Buy” on craigslist from a girl who wanted an old fashioned bicycle with wide tires. I sold it to her.
DD and SS both had mountain bikes that we had bought at department stores. DD and I rode together last year, but even with the gears, SS’s bike was hard to ride. There just are no flat streets or paths in the Hill Country. Everything is either up or down. Add to that, I’ve never liked riding a man’s bike. Then the last straw - his bike developed squeaky breaks and a wobbly back tire. The bike shop told me it would cost more to repair it than I had paid for it. We donated it to a charity that repairs broken bikes and gives them to children at Christmas.
Though I rode DD’s bike occasionally last fall, I knew I would need to buy another bike before she got home for the summer. I sought the advice of two friends who are serious cyclists. Both of them told me not to spend money on another department store bike. They said that for hills, I would be happier if I invested in a serious bike. I wasn’t sure I would be happy paying 2-3 times the price.
I began to watch craigslist for a used ladies Trek. Sometimes I called to late – the bike had already been sold. Sometimes the asking price was too high for a used bike. Other times the price was right, but the bikes were rusty or in need of repair. I began to wonder if I was being too picky or too cheap.
Yesterday I saw a newly posted ad for a Trek for $250. I had hoped to spend less than $200, but the seller still had the original paperwork and he was willing to deliver the bike. There wasn’t a scratch or a flake of rust on it. This morning I went for my first ride. My friends were right – the Trek is noticeably superior to the department store bikes. On DDs bike I sometimes had to traverse to get to the top of a hill. The Trek went straight up every hill, and I never even used the lowest gear.
Biking is the kind of vigorous exercise that is good for Type Os. DD and I will ride together all summer. Now that I have a bike that is fun to ride, I expect I’ll be peddling up and down the hills several times a week.
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