Well, it had to happen....my first flat tire. It was at the apex of an eight mile ride, on the highway, with no help. As I was riding I thought the cell phone was playing a song with a hiss to it. Ultimately the hissing stopped and a mild thump brought me to a halt. From my trusty tool bag I removed a tube, plastic tire irons, and prepared to fix a flat. How hard could it be? Had I practiced.....well, no.
And just in case you want to see a double amputee do it, just click here.
After four months relearning how to ride a bicycle I can climb hills without having to walk the bike, check for traffic, click through the gears, and easily cover eight to fifteen miles. I am not quite at one with the machine but I have no issues with balance. I can even enjoy the scenery. This is all great. And much of it is due to getting a small review mirror that attaches to my glasses and lets me easily know where all the traffic is in real time. I had been relying on sound and as the terrain and trees change, sound gets very unreliable for assessing where cars really are.
The best part of my summer experience, I am much healthier: 20 pounds lighter, able to work through a day with energy to spare, and no grocery checker has asked if I need help getting my sacks to the car.
So in sum I am happy with biking. It has provided health, a richer vocabulary, and many reasons to search and purchase small treasures from Amazon.
I got my first bicycle at about age 5. In those days bicycles came in one size, 26”. For a boy that meant a bar that made mounting and dismounting with short legs a potentially destructive enterprise. I think I started really riding about age 7….about the time I could reach the pedals and depart safely to the ground. All our bikes had one speed, were heavy, and we stopped with pedal brakes.
John Alfred Riebli