Once upon a time, in a far away land called Glenview in a magical place known as True Value I fell in love - with a pretty pink bicycle. My dad had taught me how to ride a bicycle the way most dad's do I suppose. He ran along behind me, holding the seat for a while. I managed to stay upright as long as I didn't turn around and notice that he'd let go. This was in the mid-west, where things are nice and flat, and we were able to bike to church, the library, the playground or grandma & grandpa's house. It was great. Anyway, I digress... I learned to ride on a nice second-hand red Schwinn, with a Snoopy horn, streamers and a basket. But once I saw the display in the True Value, I only had eyes for the pink bike. My parents got me the pink bike, but I was so worried about how nice it was that I wouldn't ride it. I would only ride the red bike. Finally they gave me an ultimatum, ride the pink bike or it goes back to the store. I chose the good old red Schwinn after all. I guess sometimes you just don't know what a good thing you have. Anyway, (one of the) moral(s) of the story is that if you buy toys you should use them...not just keep them for lookin' at.
So today was the day I kept the blue bike from turning into the pink bike. I bought it last week at the Post Exchange. I'd had my eye on it since my last trip. It is a Kent bicycle and the model is Shogun Safari. It's a little heavy for me to carry in and out of the apartment building, but it's just the right height and very comfortable. It has seven speeds and an easy-to-use twist gear shift.
I've got a Schwinn helmet (for old time's sake) and it is also very comfortable. Although there is no helmet law for bicycles (or motorcycles for that matter) in Alaska, the army has rules about such things. It's a $60 fine if you are caught riding on post without a reflective strip and a helmet! I've found that it's easiest to put my hair in pigtails so that it works with my helmet straps, but I did notice that it makes me look like an over-sized 11 year old while riding. Oh well.
On top of that, the Western Interior region of Alaska is very flat. I think that with some practice I may be able to ride to Fort Wainwright and back again. Today, since I was trying out the bike for the first time and practicing shifting, I only went in a loop in North Pole (a little less than five miles). It was AWESOME. I was so happy to whoosh along, to hear the click-click-click-click as I coasted, to feel the sunshine and the breeze on my face. As I came back along one of the paths I passed two or three other cyclists and several walkers - it did my heart good to see it...and to DO it.
|Fairbanks Cycle Club - Winter Sunday Rides|