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Going to go get a bike today!

 

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I'm looking for a comfort bike rather than a mountain bike or a road bike--mainly because I don't see myself mountain biking or competing in bike races. The main goal here is to get some exercise and PRETEND THAT I AM RIDING MY FAITHFUL STEED.

 

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Umm, *cough* yeah... I pretend bikes are horses. It's so much more fun to pretend you're Galadriel and you're riding Asfaloth away from Nazguls than going "I'm biking. On a trail.... Whee?" 

Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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So, I did not end up buying a bike today.

 

I think I have one picked out (a green Jamis Citizen 1, if you know about this sort of thing), but I want to go back one more time to test it out and make sure it wasn't my exhausted state talking. I tried four other bikes before I got to the Citizen (the bike shop let me do a circuit around the shop to test them out, which included a slope so I could test it uphill and downhill). These four bikes included a Jamis Taxi, which is a one speed bike. 

 

I tried pedaling a single speed bike up a hill.

 

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And it was the fourth bike I'd tried. By the end of that ride, I had quite literally sweat through my shirt. I plopped down on the couch they had in amongst the bikes (noting that this exact situation was probably why they had it there) and asked the saleswoman and my mother (who had come with me) to give me a moment to catch my breath.

 

"Single speed..." I panted. "Is not... a good idea... for hills."

 

Both the saleswoman and my mother agreed. The saleswoman noted that the Taxi was really designed for flat terrain and made a slight implication that it was also for older people than myself.

 

"So, since I'm not sixty and living in Florida," I remarked dryly. "The Taxi's out."

 

Mom smiled and the saleswoman put back the bicycle. When she came back, I asked if she had anything similar to the Hudson cruiser I'd ridden earlier.

 

"Yeah, let me go check," she said before disappearing into the back of the store. I took the time to get some water and close my eyes, trying my best to become one with the couch.

 

And then she brought out the Citizen.

 

To be perfectly honest, on a first glance basis, it didn't seem like much. I noted that the seat had a shock absorber, which was nice, but otherwise it looked just like the other cruisers I'd seen in the shop. It also looked a little bigger than I would have liked.

 

"Does that come smaller?" I asked.

 

The saleswoman made a "so-so" gesture with her head before adding, "Let's try this one. It shouldn't be too short or the stride will be off."

 

I nodded, having accepted her as a bike guru thirty minutes ago. "Just this last one," I mouthed to my Mom as I got up and headed towards the bike. The saleswoman explained the brake system to me and how to change speeds before having me hop onto the saddle (yet another reason why I compare bikes to horses).

 

"You know," she commented. "That's actually a really good length for you."

 

"What is?" I asked, looking down at my feet and my arms to try to figure out what she was talking about.

 

"The..." I could see her about to use a technical term then give up. "The arm distance," she stated. "It's about where it needs to be. Elbow slightly bent. The frame height isn't that bad either."

 

I nodded, only half getting what she was saying anymore.

 

"Ok," she said, stepping away from the bike. She gave a nervous glance to my Mom as if to say "Is she going to be alright?" before adding, "Have fun."

 

I walked the bike out of the store and turned it so that it lined up with the pavement. I then hopped on and started pedaling towards the hill.

 

"Ooh, you are nice," I said to the bike. The ride was very smooth. I pulled on the brakes at the crest of the hill and it slid to a nice stop. "Good boy," I muttered to it as I set a foot on the pavement. I looked down the hill and then at the bike. There was a road slightly beyond the usual route I'd been taking and the saleswoman had actually been recommending that I don't just do the circuit. "Come on," I whispered to it and set it cruising down the hill. We got to a flat stretch of land and I gave it all I had, making the bend in the dusty road with ease. I curved back around and waited for some cars to pass before pedaling up the hill again.

 

"This..." I panted as I walked the bike back into the shop. "...Is a good bike."

 

I looked at one other bike (it's cousin the Cruiser 2) and got Mom to try to Cruiser 1 before calling it a day. Having my mom ride the bike was interesting since she was really hesitant to do it. "I'm going to fall off it," she said. "I haven't ridden a bike in twenty years."

 

"You're not going to fall off," I assured her, stopping myself from saying "It's just like riding a bike." "It'll come back to you," I added in its place.

 

The saleswoman started to explain the mechanism to her before saying "Here, you teach her" and scuttling off to help someone else (they were having a pretty busy day). So I explained the brake system and how to change the speeds (I'm nothing if not a fast learner) and got her to walk the bike out to the pavement. As I lightly held onto the handlebars to keep it from tipping over while she got on, I momentarily thought of how she'd once had to do all this for me when I was a kid. "You ready?" I asked, hand still on the handlebars.

 

"Yeah, just... what do I...?"

 

"Put a foot on the pedal," I said. "And then..."

 

She was off. I began jogging behind her as she cruised down the hill, giving little bits of advice as she stuttered and stopped and started. She'd gotten the hang of it by the bottom of the hill and, by the time we reached the upward slope, I was having to run to keep up with her. "This really is a nice bike," she commented as we reached the top of the hill again.

 

"Yeah," I huffed. "It is."

 

We walked the bike back in and were met by the saleswoman. "How'd it go?" she asked.

 

"Great," Mom replied. She gestured to me before adding, "She ran behind me the whole way."

 

"It's more fun on the bike, isn't it?" the saleswoman said with a knowing smile.

 

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I plopped down on the sofa again. "One thing's for certain," I said as I took a sip of water. "I am not as out of shape as I thought I was."

 

We ended up explaining to the saleswoman that we were going to come back another day to make sure it was the right fit, but that she pretty much had that Cruiser 1 sold. 

 

So, two valuable lessons learned today. First, never ever try to ride a single speed bike up a hill. Second, I'm actually a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. 

Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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I'm back! Sort of. I've decided that the last time I tried this I burned myself out (and got way too intimidated by the whole "eat protein, make muscle, strong person, ROAR" thing that I was seeing). So this little hobbit is going to take it slow. First things first, I'm bending to the whole "protein diet" thing. Emphasis on "bending". I'm not cutting carbs or sugars completely. Instead, I'm going to try to maximize the amount of protein I eat and the number of times a day I eat so that I don't end up eating anything en masse. I'm also hoping that this round I'm going to have more support from my family, especially with my pastry chef sister currently out of the country. I've suggested having board games as our evening bonding rather than a big meal, but am getting mixed results on that. Old traditions die hard.

 

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On the plus side, the confidence project has taken great strides. Instead of hiding in my hobbit hole, like I usually do, I'm getting in touch with friends, arranging meetings, and even trying to get myself a job as a tutor. (A dream I didn't realize I had until I started rereading the stories I wrote and noted that every single protagonist was a teacher of some sort). I'm also spending some (forced) time playing hostess for the patrons that come to see our region's branch of National Theatre Live. It turns out I'm decent at it, even if it is not my natural state, and I think the patrons appreciate having a friendly-looking young woman smile at them, hand them programs, and then either bid them adieu and come again at the end of the show or engage them in conversation about the show. (It's actually funny. Since I've been to the National Theatre in person and generally prep a little with facts about the show and/or its actors, I've become something of the expert on the National Theatre for our branch.)

 

In short, physical: so-so. Confidence and social skills...

 

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Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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So I've been trying to plan out responses for the kids in case if I actually get a tutoring job. Specifically, about my weight and the diet I'm on. You see, it seems that my most likely client at the moment would have her daughter coming over to my house to do her homework for several hours rather than the other way around. So my "pupil" would be witness to some of my private life, including my eating habits. Now, imagine you're a child or a teenager and you see your tutor cooking a pan of grilled chicken (which has been one of my staple foods along with peanut butter sandwiches). You're going to have questions, most of which start with "Why."

So I've come up with the following excuses:

 

1. I'm a werewolf.

2. I'm a dragon in disguise.

3. I'm doing an experiment to see what dogs find so appealing about a carnivorous lifestyle.

 

Now, this may seem silly, but that's the point. If I get the kid laughing about the fact that I'm eating a bowl of pure grilled chicken, they're much more likely to be less weirded out by the oddity and more relaxed in my home, both of which are essential if I'm going to be effective as a tutor.

 

And with the older kids I can just explain that I'm on a diet and that part of that diet is eating grilled chicken.  

Hobbit of Buckland

First Time Challenger: Level 0

My First Challenge: Back Again

My Battle Log: Captain's Log

 

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.â€

                                                    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, the Hobbit

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