When I am being active and not running or climbing mountains, I ride bikes.

There was a very brief period of time in my life where I didn’t ride a bike, and at that point I was in one of those carts that dads will attach (or at least, my dad attached) to the back of their bikes. It’s father’s day, and it’s been a few days since I’ve done anything to retain the appearance of NOT leading an entirely sedentary lifestyle, so I figured I would ride my bike. (The weather being nice helps.)

Both of my bikes are Schwinns.

I have a (what I’m pretty sure is 1976) red Collegiate, and there’s a basket attached to it that I’ll use if I have things to carry around with me. I love the Collegiate–I like the placement of the gearshift on it, and I like that it’s old, and I like that it’s something my dad fixed so I could ride it. When I do ride it, I’m not riding it to get exercise. It can take a lot of work bringing it to a high speed since it’s really meant for cruising more than anything else. But it’s nice. It’s also the right size for me.

The other bike used to be my dad’s. Even with the seat all the way down, the frame is still a little bit too big for me, and I’ve found that I really don’t care. It’s a Le Tour, but I couldn’t tell you about the year besides it was apparently before Schwinn switched the measurement system they used, or something. I don’t know.

When I ride the Le Tour, it’s because I have the intention of working out. It’s a racing bike for me, meant to be used on the road. (Unfortunately for all of my friends who have asked, I don’t do mountain biking. Ever.) If I want to be like those folks who are training for the Pan-Mass Challenge–which I’m not riding in or affiliated with, but am going to link to anyway because the proceeds support cancer research and treatment–and ride like a Serious Cyclist with my head down and my body crouched, I can. So I got on and I went faster than I’ve rode a bike a long time, and it felt really nice.

I’m not sure how the same distance I go to run five miles is somehow only three and a half while riding my bike, but maybe my phone paused in the middle of the ride. I’m kind of tired of having to use my phone to track my fitness, but if it means having a more accurate count of what I’ve been doing than me on my own, I can’t complain. One day, maybe they’ll make robots that can ride a bike along side you, or run with you, and match your exact pace. I could see that being a potential future.

In any case, I did the same route I do while running, and it took about as much out of me since biking uses different muscles (I assume) while not leaving me crying about shin splints. It’s the same path that my dad used to take, with the main difference being that he would go on bike rides at night and I…don’t. When you hit the end of this bike path, you have to turn around rather than it having a loop or anything like that.

I made it to the end of the path and noticed that there were two kids kind of struggling. The two people ahead of me hadn’t stopped, which is understandable–as much as we tell kids not to talk to strangers, we also tell adults that they shouldn’t talk to kids. It’s a two-way street. That said, I work with kids on a regular basis and if I see anyone who’s having trouble with something, I’ll offer to help them out.

One of the kids was having trouble with his seat. It had been turned almost all the way to the right, which meant that he couldn’t ride his bike unless it was set the right way. I had thought about tucking a small wrench into my bike pouch before leaving and decided against it, and now I felt kind of bad that I hadn’t decided to be obnoxiously prepared. In any case, I said, I’ll try to fix it, and luckily the bolt that keeps a seat in place was loose enough for me to push the seat back into place.

“Can you try to fix mine?”

“Sure, I’ll give it a shot.”

On the plus side, this seat was only a little off-center to the left. Unfortunately, however, it was a little too rusted and a little too tight for me to actually move it. So much for being She-Hulk. Before I left, I told the kids to get their parents to take a wrench to the specific bolt–and I pointed it out–and loosen it so they’d be able to move their seats.

Now I’m home, and I’m thinking that next time I head out, I’ll probably keep the wrench in my pouch just in case.

In any case, you never know who you’re going to run into when you go on a bike ride.When my dad would ride, he’d have conversations with the artist who was painting a mural on one of the underpasses. I just fixed a kid’s seat.


Author: jillboger

Part time writer. Editor-in-Chief for the Bridge volume 13, former EIC for The Odyssey at BSU. My glasses protect my secret identity.

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