About a month ago, I was having coffee with my friend, Trout. On my way home I stopped at the University Book Store (mainly to use the bathroom - now I understand why I have to pee so much - the cyst puts pressure on the bladder). On the sale table in the front of the store they were having a winter sale - 90% off selected sale books. Some of you may know, I have a book fetish, addiction, call it what you may. I am trying to get rid of books and only borrow from the library and not buy any more. I have 4 bookcases filled with books and stacks of books by the bed and on what is supposed to be my shoe shelf. It really is out of control. I looked through the sale books anyway and came upon one called, "Over the Hills; A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle", by David Lamb. There was a picture of a guy in bike gear with his bike standing by the Continental Divide. It was on sale for 99 cents. I bought it thinking about how much Trout would love it, since he is a bicycling guy. After that I continued up to the KUOW studios where I was volunteering that afternoon for the pledge drive.
As with all pledge drives, there is down time. If you have a really lively table, you never need to bring your book out, but my table was not so lively and I started reading Trout's book. Mr. Lamb is a journalist and when he was 53 he was having a bit of a mid-life crisis, so he decided to get on a bike and ride across the United States. I could not put the book down. It reminded me that one of the things that I thought I'd do "someday", ever since I was about 18, was to ride my bike across the country. As I read this book I began to think that I might still be able to do it, and that I wasn't getting any younger, and that if I was going to do it, I should do it soon.
Now that the thought was in my head, I couldn't shake it. I got on Google Maps and started looking at possible routes. I got on Craig's List and looked at bikes. I got on Couchsurfing.com and signed up, which I had been meaning to do anyway. Once I signed up with couchsurfing, I started looking at possible stops on possible routes to see what was available. I was pleased at the variety of choice.
This idea grew hourly. I could visit so many friends along the way. I could meet so many people along the way. I could take pictures and blog about it. I could go as slow or as fast as I wanted to, because my purpose wouldn't be to set any records, but to enjoy the journey.
The purpose of the Journey. I thought about this for weeks, I started talking to a few people about it. First I told my boss, Robert, that I was thinking about this. He thought it was a great idea. "Of course I need to get a bike." I said. Robert replied. "We have 2 in the basement that we never use. You can have Patrick's - you're about the same height, it should fit you."
I checked with Patrick to see if it was OK with him that Robert was offering me his bike. It was. He hadn't be on it in six years, I could have it. The beginnings of change are taking shape!
Trout picked the bike up for me and took it to his basement where he could work on giving it a tune up. First thing we did was get the tires pumped up. Then we put it on his indoor roller rider thingy and I got on it to check seat height and comfort. First glitch in the plan. My left knee cannot make the full rotation unless the seat is too high for me to get on or off comfortably. My knee has definitely stiffened up over the years, but I didn't realize how much. I could pedal, but every time the knee came to the upright and flexed position, I had to shift my hip up to accommodate the strain in it.
Solutions? I'm doing exercise to try and get back some more motion, and, I'm going to see if I can get smaller pedal cranks - I only need about 5 more centimeters. Somehow, I will make this work.