Lavinia is sure beautiful. I never understood the mentality of people who had more then one bike. But now that I own two I get it. There is a different feeling to riding my very zippy very nimble Mixte frame bike and this beautiful loop frame with it weight and smooth ride. I feel pretty on the back of this bike. I am so lucky that I have been able to hop on her and ride everyday but one since she came into the house a little under a month ago.
Today marks 4 weeks of biking. 4 weeks ago today I almost convinced myself that there were a lot of things that would make me more happy then a new bicycle. I am glad I didn’t. I am glad that I managed to navigate this lovely bike down a small stretch of sidewalk, wobbly at first but I made it. Each and everyday I try to push myself a little bit harder. The first two weeks it felt like I may never really get back into the groove of it. There was lots of crying and frustration at the beginning. Lots of time when biking seemed like a chore. but my legs have gotten stronger. A lot stronger in fact, it kind of crazy how much you use your upper body while biking.
The mental conditioning has been harder. I still get upset when people in cars pass too fast or too close. I still get angry when people swerve into the bike lane to make a right turn with out looking. I hate how cars stop too close to you at stop signs and follow too close behind you. My favorite is when they get right up behind you and honk, like you don’t have a right to be there. Cars freak me out. I have lots of nightmares about the accident, or being clipped by a passing car. They are starting to fade. I am getting better at being calm around them each time I ride, but this is the hardest struggle by far. I think that it’s frustrating because it doesn’t have to be this way at all.
I bike all over north and northeast portland. I still make most of my journeys with Collin. I have even met him a time or too. The picture at the top of this post is from when I rode to a coffee shop all by myself while collin got his hair cut. I navigated thru the quiet back streets of our neighborhood. I got some quiet time to get better at gearing on Lavinia but most of all I got to fly. There are quite a few hills along my ride most of them quite small. I love coasting downhill. The feeling of flying is what gets me back on that bike day after day. The way that biking clears my head and how happy I feel when I reach my destination on a beautiful sunny day. Somedays are better than others, Somedays my arm is sore. Some days I can lock her up, somedays Collin has to do it for me. I am trying to take the good with the frustrating.
About three months ago, I wrote a simlar post about my beautiful orange Public M8. Three days later I was in my terrible bike accident. It’s been a strange journey, involving two beautiful bikes, a few mental meltdowns, over many many miles. The more I ride my bike the less I understand the car-centric mentality of this country. The more i ride it the more I long for protected bike lanes and harsher penalties for people who injure bicyclists. I was one of the lucky ones, a broken arm is bad but it could have been much worse. I am also lucky because I’m pretty stubborn and refused to give up riding because of one very bad experience. There are lots of people I’ve talked to who’ve admitted to me that they never would have gotten back on a bike after the ordeal that I went thru. They would never feel safe enough. That’s a shame because it doesn’t have to be that way.