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4.12.2011

MY LE TOUR DE FRANCE

I'm sure I had a tricycle, but I can't remember that far back. Though I do remember my first unsupervised and non-training wheeled ride wobbling down our gravel lane.  That is the bike of my first memory.  It was a very, very sweet ride.  It had a banana seat and a bit of a sissy bar up the back making it very convenient to have a pal ride comfortably with you.  Its handle bars curved up in a great way and I felt like I could ride forever on it.  Now that I think about it, it was a hand-me-down bike from one or both of my older sisters.  But, I never cared - I loved that bike.  It provided me a way to adventure and did I ever:)  From that bike, which I rode till no doubt my legs were hitting the handlebars, I transitioned to a new blue skinny wheeled 10 speed bike with the curled downward handlebars and a seat that even the smallest of butts felt pain on.  I too spent hours on that bike even long after I had a driver's license and could easily have driven myself anywhere.  Biking was a love.  Sunday afternoons during warm weather I would take off and ride 20-30 miles some days - not really going anywhere in particular but loving the feeling of speed, the outside and just thinking.  That bike really wasn't comfortable, but I was young and tolerated it more than this middle aged butt bone could ever now!  Some twenty years ago I took a group of high school kids on a 250 mile bicycle trip.  Having spent many hours on my blue 10 speed bike, this would be my first to ride that far.  Team Armstrong we were not.  In fact, we looked more like the team from the movie, "The Good News Bears"!  Day one we hopped on our bikes, me on my circa 1980 skinny tired, pointed-assed seat 10 speed bike whose gears jammed occasionally.  Headed down the road, we were followed by a junky white 15 passenger van which flashed its hazard lights as it pulled a small travel trailer that must have been 20 years old.  It would serve as our kitchen when we stopped to camp at night.  The van was intended for inclement weather or a respite for a tired or injured cyclist.  The first day we rode about 75 miles.  As we rolled into the campsite that first night only the 3 adults and one kid were still riding their bikes.  All the other teenagers had climbed into the van at varying points in the day feigning injury or exhaustion!  Wimps:)  The next morning, thoroughly exhausted and sore from riding on a skinny-assed seat designed solely as a torture weapon, sleeping on the ground, and from listening to a mob of teenagers whine, we mounted our bikes once again.   I felt like I had ridden a horse of sorts and climbing back on the bike I winced in pain.  If I thought those first 75 miles were horrendous, the next day was worse - muscles were screaming and stiffness had set in that doesn't even compare to any of the home improvement projects I have done over my lifetime!  A few hours into day two only the three adults remained committed to cycling another 75 miles as hills increased to the size of small mountains and our asses burned from the inclines, miles and lack of training.  The 250 mile trip concluded with only the adults finishing fully all the miles.  Recently I suggested to my husband that we buy a racing tandem as I would like to do some small jaunts with him.  This time though, a big-assed grandma seat and strictly flat terrain followed only with a night's stay in a hotel. 

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