Bikes; Pickle Moves on to Two-Wheelers, and I Begin Commuting

I decided to take Jade bicycling to Blockbuster a few days ago as we had done once before. The trip is only about a mile one way but there are many streets to cross and heavy traffic. As we were heading back Jade lost focus of what she was doing and ran right off the sidewalk and into an unused side street. She did her best to stay on the bike and avoided, for the most part, a substantial spill. We continued biking back to the house. About 5 minutes later I looked behind me to see her, and her bike lying on their sides on he sidewalk. She seemed okay, but I could not figure out how she wrecked with training wheels. I watched her get up, mount the bike again, and topple over 5 feet later. I looked harder and finally noticed that one of her little plastic training wheels had broken off. I can only assume that it had been damaged from her little spill off the curb. Once she noticed that her bike was broken she lost her mind and began to cry uncontrollably. I walked both of our bikes back home, and promised her I would fix it.

The next day I pulled her bike out and began to modify the one remaining training wheel by raising it to offer more support. I took her around the front yard and let her ride around. She did it fairly easily. At that moment, I thought … the hell with the training wheels. I told her I wad going to take off the other wheel as well. She was reluctant at first but finally agreed. 5 Minutes later she was riding around the playground area in front of our house unassisted. Her rate of progress blew my mind. One day she could barely operate a bike on training wheels, on the next she was riding around on two wheels at her own pace. Being as impressed as I was, I started to teach her more subtle skill sets, like braking approaching turns and peddling through them, and standing when you need to apply more torque and power. Now she can pretty much do everything. She still has a little bit of a problem placing the peddles where they need to be for her to get the bike moving, but she can do everything else very well. I will post a video for family members soon.

The reason I took Jade biking to Blockbuster to begin with was because I bought a commuter bike to ride to work on. At first I planned on dropping a few hundred on a shitty 10 speed with a light frame, but, being the Kramer that I am, I ended up leaving the store with an 1100 dollar Gary Fisher Wingra *shown*. My WingraNow that does pale in comparison to my mountain biking expenses, but I certainly did not plan on spending that much. I have learned however that in the biking world (and just about in every other area) you get what you pay for. One of the best things I purchased was a tray/bag set that was mounted above my back wheel. They are very light, and the back clips right in. I fill it with toiletries, tire patches and kits, and a change of clothes. Once you are through biking it detaches and transforms into a small duffle bag. Pretty cool really.

The 7 mile ride to work is very pleasurable. About 60% of the route is along the water. While riding I watch the sailboats, take in the sunset, check out the Star of India and the USS Midway, try not to run over the homeless sleeping on the sidewalk, and otherwise absorb the sights and sounds of the city. The first day took about 40 minutes, but I have since shaved the ride down to about 33. The gas money we save even at $2.50 a gallon is certainly worth mentioning. I figure since Laura has been driving me and dropping me off, only to pick me up later (about 10 bucks in gas a day) that I will save 50 bucks a week in gas alone. All said and done this thing should pay for itself in 4 months of riding. I do feel a little like a hippie, but hell I am in great shape and would like to remain so. I should also mention that my stress levels have dropped, my metabolism seems higher, and I feel more awake at work. Why I didn’t try this earlier is beyond me.

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