Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Be ready for bicycling before spring days arrive

Donít try to ride the bike you rode as a child. It wonít fit you any better than the jeans you wore when you were a teenager. Choose a reputable dealer and ask for help. A good dealer wants you as one of his satisfied customers for years to come, and there are advantages to going to a store where bikes are assembled by mechanics.

A good dealer will expect to hear from you after youíve ridden your new bike and might offer a 30-day check-up. The check-up gives the mechanic a chance to tighten things up here and there and to see that the cables have not stretched, that the brake blocks are still lined up, etc.

And you have a chance to say things like, "I seem to be uncomfortable with the saddle so high," or "It takes too much pull on the brake levers."

When you learn to ride well, youíll push the pedals with about the same effort youíd use in walking - and you go so much faster and farther. I can prove it: To celebrate my 61st birthday, I rode 61 miles. I set an easy pace, with the bike in a gear that was not tiring, and just kept pedaling all day long.

When I was a child, people thought that learning to ride a bike meant to stay up without falling.

I was past 50 when I discovered that thereís a lot more to cycling than that. It means pedaling rhythmically, riding in a lower gear and stroking the pedals around a bit faster as you get on the open road. It means getting more power while working less. Sounds too good to be true? Let the gears level off the terrain, make hill-climbing ever so easy and get more miles for less muscle.

Youíll see more scenery, hear more birds, feel more wind in your face and smell more fragrances - including the skunk that trots alongside you, unafraid of your quiet machine.

Why did I ride 61 miles on my 61st birthday? I did it for the pleasure of it, the freedom of a challenging day "alone" with others, the joy of accomplishing something, the exhilarating experience of going over rolling hills and through cool, shady valleys and for the simple joy of moving under my own power.

On that 61st mile, I had the feeling that Iíd done something!

And a hot shower was my glorious reward.

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