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I Want to Ride My Bicycle

One of the fun things my husband and I did while off-the-grid was a bike ride on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Bike Trail.  My husband is a long-time bicyclist and a proud owner of a 1974 Carleton Raleigh International.  He’s been carrying this baby around with him since 1975.  Some restoration was called for at times, but it’s close to its original condition.  Out of his three bikes, it’s still the one he enjoys the most.

And, hey, Andra Watkins, bring MTM on over so he can see my husband’s bike, too!

1974 Carleton Raleigh International

1974 Carleton Raleigh International

1974 Carleton Raleigh International (2)

1974 Carleton Raleigh International (3)

1974 Carleton Raleigh International (5)

1974 Carleton Raleigh International (4)

I have a fat, heavy Raleigh hybrid that suffices to get me from a trail head and back.  Locally, we ride the St. Marks Bike Trail, about 32 miles round-trip from the trail head to the Riverside Cafe in St. Marks where you can get a tasty Grouper sandwich.  It’s a fun ride when we have all day, but if we ride after work, we do a 15-mile loop.

Before our recent hiatus, I hadn’t ridden my bike in almost 4 years.  I never felt very comfortable with my bike (even I have to laugh at my efforts to brake and get off my bike without giving myself a wedgie).  I always felt self-conscious riding with my husband because he has thighs of steel and likes to ride hard and fast.  I’d either feel bad because I felt I was holding him back, or pissed off because he would leave me behind in the (literal) dust, even though I would have told him he could.  But on this trip, all that melted away.  I’m still klutzy but I’m not as bad getting on and off as I used to be (and I attribute that to years of yoga practice).  And I’m not self-conscious about riding with my husband.  He can ride how he wants.  I have my inner groove and I’m happy.

I don’t know why/how this change occurred, but there it is.

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Categories: Bicycles

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

32 replies

  1. Sounds lovely! I know how you feel with regard to holding your hubby back, I have a few amazing running friends and I’ve felt the same way! I’ve considered riding a bike for cross training, but haven’t mustered up the guts yet 😉

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    1. I have a friend who tried a couple of triathlons. She’s long-time runner and the biking part of the race was for her the most intimidating. But she did it 🙂

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  2. Don’t question the change, Marie…embrace it! Boy, 32 miles on a bike, that’s impressive. I’m not sure if my rear end could handle that. Although knowing there is a Grouper sandwich waiting, I might be able to push through the pain. 🙂 It sounds like a great day trip!
    Your husband’s bike is in pristine condition…very nice!
    Have a wonderful holiday weekend and enjoy the ride! xo

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    1. Yup, food is a great incentive for me 🙂 Even with my chamois liners, my bum gets pretty numb after a while. My husband just says, practice, practice. Have wonderful weekend, Jill!

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  3. Sounds like fun and love the song. Maybe the change simply happened because time passed. Could even be that no change occurred and you were always this good at bike riding. 🙂 Our abilities and successes tend to look worse in retrospect at times.

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    1. Thanks, Charles. I think I did “mature” somewhere along the way and now I can really enjoy biking. And my husband is just happy that I’m enthusiastic about it. It’s a relief since, you know, I’m not getting any younger 😉

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    1. Thanks, Jill! I don’t like stationary bikes; I can never get comfortable on them (and it’s boring to ride a stationary bike). I like treadmills because then I can walk fast and if I trip, I just grab onto the rails instead of falling on my face 😉

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  4. This makes me wistful. I used to like to ride just by myself with no goal in mind, but I can no longer ride for medical reasons. At least I have the memories!

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    1. Oh, Luanne, I’m so sorry you can’t ride any more. You’re right about memories. I have a few good memories of when I had a ten-speed (I was in high school) and I would just take off now and then and ride 🙂

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    1. I love to walk too, but one of the things I love about biking is being able to go further in a shorter period of time. And it burns a lot more calories! Something I really need these days 😉

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        1. I’ve got a big soft butt (you won’t catch me dead in Spandex) but I’ve found that shorts with chamois liners make a huge difference. They don’t keep my bum from getting numb, but they do minimize the pain. Oh, and I wear my shorts under a short skirt. I wouldn’t want to offend the wild animals 😉

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  5. My partner has thighs of steel, too—I’m the marshmallow with the padded bike seat. We’ve worked out a system when he rides as fast and far as he likes and then comes back to get me. I’m proud to say that he’s almost always surprised by how much ground I’ve covered by the time he gets back.

    I never thought of yoga as a cure for klutziness—I may need to start!

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    1. Hey, Candace! My husband will race ahead and then double-back sometimes. And much like your husband, he notices how much ground I cover. Positive feedback is a wonderful thing 🙂 Yoga has really helped me with improving my balance as well as being able to “fall out of” a pose without hurting myself or being too embarrassed. I really love the practice itself, but the studio I go to is wonderful. All shapes and sizes and lots of good will and laughter 🙂

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    1. Thanks, John. My husband is pleased with all the compliments his bike is getting. I just checked out 3G bikes online. He had suggested that I might like a Cruiser (out of the 21 speeds on my bike, I tend to use 3 or 4). The prices look right too. Maybe my next bike will be a 3G Cruiser 🙂

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    1. Men and their bikes 😉 I think Greg and I might be working toward a happy middle: I’m more enthusiastic about biking and he’s more willing to stay within my field of vision 😉

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  6. Ha ha, before I even got to the end that Queen song was going round in my head. 🙂 I have recently re-discovered my bike as well although my knees are not terribly co-operative…. 🙂

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    1. Good for you, Jade! Biking should not be hard on your knees. Be sure to check the height of your seat. I’ve found that if my seat is too low, my knees stay bent and eventually hurt (a lot). Of course, when my seat is at the proper height, getting on and off my bike with grace is a challenge 😉

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      1. Ah.. that’s good to know, thank you. I shall have to check the height and have another look. My knees are not in the best shape anyway but if I am not riding correctly then that is not going to be doing them much good. 🙂

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  7. My dad used to be borderline obsessed with biking. He frequently did solo overnights from our home in central NJ to the Catskills, the Virginia coast, Amish country, or wherever he could get to in 12-14 hours. The more impossible the hills, the better.

    I’ve never been much for tour biking, partly because everyone drives like lunatics in NJ, and because I find the seating position on street bicycles uncomfortably awkward. Small, off-road mountain bikes suit me better, though I confess to not having ridden one of them for ages either.

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    1. Wow, your dad sounds like my husband, at least before Greg and I got together 🙂 The problem I have with hills is, what goes up must come down. I don’t like going downhill. I don’t like going fast. I really don’t like going downhill fast 😉
      It kills me that my workplace is only 9 miles away … a distance I could easily cover with a bike if only there weren’t so many lunatics on the road. I witnessed a bicyclist get clipped by a minivan that turned a little too soon. My coworker was harassed and buzzed by a driver who blared his horn at her as she rode in the bike lane. A coworker’s husband was run over by a city utility truck that was signaling to turn left but turned right instead (the husband had serious injuries but is now back on his bike). Finally, my husband almost got run over as he crossed an intersection. These are all people who wear helmets, obey traffic signals and stay in their bike lanes. So for now I limit myself to the one safe designated bike trail in town and hope that we eventually move to a more bicycle friendly environment (while I can still bike).

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  8. Nice bike, Marie! You’re doing a good job of making me feel bad for not getting out and exercising much lately. 🙂 It’s okay though, we all need a little motivation. Hope you have a good rest-of-Memorial-Day Weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Phillip! I don’t want to make you feel bad, but sometimes a little bit of exercise is better than none at all. Especially for those of us who are chained to our desks for hours at a time 😉 Hope you had a great weekend too 🙂

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