Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I passed this still life on my way into the grocery store this past Sunday.  Doesn't this adorable pale yellow cycle with its basket just waiting to be filled with a baguette and tulips make you want to eat its owner with a spoon?  

Me too, and as such, I have a confession to make, lovely readers. 

I have an inner cyclist.  

My inner cyclist has been locked up since September of 1995.  I didn't think she existed anymore, having passed the last 12 years with nary even the beginnings of a straddle ... a bike (!) straddle.  I had let my guard down. Seeing this bike with its big cushy seat and inviting basket made her too tough a match for me to suppress.  She's out and she ain't goin' anywhere.

My love affair with bikes began in 1976.  I was two and would spend a couple afternoons a week at my grandmother's house.  I had a little pink and black motorcycle that I would sit and shuffle down the sidewalk on, Fred Flintstone style.  My dad's mom would calmly walk behind me, content to let me hop off whenever I wanted to walk up her neighbor's steps and explore what they had on their front porches.  She was patient, as were her neighbors who let me eat as many Lemon Drop candies off their coffee table as I wanted.  

My first real bike was AWESOME.  It was purple, had streamers coming out of its handlebars and a groovy banana seat with flowers.  I pretended I was Penny from Inspector Gadget and would ride the streets of Scripps Ranch solving crime with a vengeance.  

Along the way I moved up to a yellow ten speed, then forgot about bikes completely when I switched to riding horses.

Alas, college interceded and the horse was sold to go make another 12 year old girl's life.  It was the horse or tuition.  I'm glad to see that at one point in my life I had my priorities straight.

Enter my dad's refurbished mountain bike and I fell in love all over again.  

Quick rides back and forth to campus, the wind in my hair (who needed helmets?!), flip flops on my feet and the San Diego sun on my legs.  I blissfully felt like I was eight again.  I had forgotten how much I loved riding.  That is, right up until that day in September when the world didn't come crashing down on me, but rather I came crashing down on it.  

On my way home from class I decided playing slalom with curbs would be a good idea.  Long story short:

Curbs: 1
SSG: 0

Before I knew it, I was flat on my stomach, face in the concrete and had road rash everywhere.  I even got to take a little trip to the emergency room courtesy of a kind citizen who had seen my crash.  We were both nervous at the odd angle of my ankle.  

Fast forward an hour, through X-rays, a broken ankle diagnosis and the requisite phone calls to my parents and roommates to when a nurse shoved aside my emergency room curtain and said all matter of fact like: "okay, we're going to have to get your clothes off."

And then I was all, "Um (nervous laughter).  I think you have the wrong room."
Nurse:  (Looks at the chart) No, it's you.
Me:  But I broke my ankle.
Nurse:  Yes, I know.
Me:  I'm wearing shorts.
Nurse:  Yeeees?
Me:  Don't you just yank it straight and smack a cast on it?
Nurse:  (Laughs) Oh honey, you're going to have to go in for surgery.

It seems like the doctor had left that teensy-weensy detail out.  Essentially I had broken every bone in my ankle.  If you're going to do something, do it with gusto, is what I always say.  A few hours later I had 10 pins and a plate holding the whole thing together and a refillable prescription to Vicodin.  

I haven't been on a bike since.

But there's something about living in Portland and all its beautiful trails with scenes of rivers and lakes that makes ME ... want ... to ... maaaaybe ... try (?) ... again?

So if anyone has any pointers about where I can find a bike ... maybe with training wheels ... and nice EASY places to ride sans any curbs or major hills, I'd appreciate it.  Who knows, soon that just might be my bike waiting out in front of a grocery store near you!