I'd be wrong to say that I'll never ride one agian, because never is a long time after all. But I do have to give up motorizing. I simply wasn't getting enough exercise and I was getting soft.
I built the motorized bicycle that I've been riding in the spring of 2012. It actually was meant for my then teenage daughter. She actually rode my very first motorized bicycle quite a bit during the summer of 2008, when she was fourteen years old. She had a paper route then and I leant her my very first china girl bike. She did well. So she's got some experience with these things.
Then, with this current bike in 2012, she rode to and from work for a good chunk of the summer. But she was having some trouble keeping the drive train and rear wheel bearings in good adjustment. She ended up losing her confidence. So I took over the bike, mostly with the intent of figuring out how to keep it in good adjustment and, hopefully, passing this knowledge onto her.
It took me awhile, for that matter, to get it all squared away. But I eventually figured it out and made it into a reliable machine. So reliable, in fact, that I was never riding my back-up bike and had gotten worried that it would be unreliable when the day came that I needed it. So I rode this motorized bicycle from late 2012 right up until recently. A couple of times I asked my daughter if she wanted it back. But she'd turn it down. I have a feeling, based on watching her recently, that she was merely being considerate of me. I was having a good time with this bike and she, apparently, could see this.
I rode, some pedal bike and some motor bike, through the winter of 2012-2013. Then the winter of 2013-2014 hit. There was too much snow and ice for a motor bike. I could, and should, have ridden a pedal bike through most of it. But I was kinda out of the pedal bike habit. So I drove to work most of the winter. From mid-December to late February or so I only managed two or three bike rides. And I think those were all motorized.
My gut grew larger than it's ever been. And my arms and legs started getting spindly. I didn't think much of it. A winter like that is going to have that effect on people. I'd get back into shape quick. But it didn't seem to work out that way. The big gut stayed. And so did the match-stick arms and legs. Intolerable.
So a few weeks back I took my daughter aside and told her that she had no choice; she's taking over the motored bike and I'm going back to the pedal bike. She didn't seem too put out about it. There wasn't much adjustment needed. A shorter seat post and some adjustment of the levers and mirrors. And the next morning she rode the bike to work with a smile on her face. The next morning, too.
On morning number three she was attacked by two Pit Bull Terriers. I'm not kidding, either.
It wasn't as bad as it could have been. She kept her head and didn't allow herself to be dragged down. She merely hit the gas and shook them off. But one of them latched onto her right calf. Some skin breakage, but no deep wound. She now has an ugly bruise, though. The second dog bit right down on her foot. There's a perfect print of a dog's upper jaw 'embossed' onto her shoe now.
I think it's a work of art. A badge of honor. The scars of battle. The mark, to borrow a phrase, of an Intrepid Wheelwoman. I've been thinking of having that shoe bronzed. I'm proud of my little girl. But the reason for some of that pride is in the next paragraphs.
As it happens, we work close to each other. Two different companies and two different buildings. But they share a parking lot. It often happens that I see her as she's leaving. This is exactly what happened the day of the dog attack. So I asked her if she though this was likely to make her lose confidence in riding. She said she didn't think so. We spent a few more minutes showing off my tough daughter to a few of my co-workers. Then she went on her way home.
When I got home, at just about sundown, I saw her bike in the driveway half-disassembled. I went in and found her passed out on the sofa with black grease all over her hands. I woke her up and asked what was wrong with her bike. She said that nothing was really wrong. But she just thought it felt like the rear wheel bearings needed adjustment. So she set out to do this adjustment. But she had forgotten that she doesn't have a cone wrench (we'll soon fix that), so she had to wait for me to get home. It was just about dark by that time. So we raced out there and slapped it back together. Our schedules were such that the next morning I had to leave earlier than she did. During the day I had vague worries about just what I might have forgotten to fasten back down in our hurry. When I saw her that evening I asked how the bike had performed. She said that we had forgotten to re-adjust the rear rim brake. So she had gotten a slightly late start through fixing that. But she had gotten to work on time.
Since then she's come home a few times and gotten to work on the bike. Tightening things that had come loose during the day. Also making adjustments that weren't necessarily musts, but she just wanted something moved a bit. Things like that.
Repair by A, July 2014.jpg
I think she'll do just fine.
And, now, here's my current ride. It's an old beater that's carried me many, many miles in the past. She's been in retirement for a year or so. But I've brought her back out and cleaned her up. It's been a good bike to me. It's a pleasure to be dealing with it again.
Roadmaster, July 2014.jpg