Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beach Cruiser

Bought myself a beach cruiser bicycle the other day, which might perhaps be seen as an odd choice for land-locked Pocatello, Idaho. But I disliked all my road bikes with their 600 finely-tuned gears and their rock-hard rides. The heavy steel frame of the beach cruiser, the fat tires and the coaster brake – as well as the seat just made for a middle-aged rump – lured me with a promise of bicycle comfort that I could no longer resist.

Plus the doctor says I HAVE to get daily exercise, no matter what -- so I had a medical excuse.

My first ride of 20 minutes on mostly flat terrain left me winded and with wobbly legs. Clearly this will require some effort on my part.

But tooling along, when I wasn’t noticing the burn in my thigh muscles, I felt years younger. This is the kind of bike I grew up riding – indeed the kind of bike I learned to ride on when I was about 8 years old and my parents had managed to snag a bike for no money (the only way we had bikes when we were little). And the weather in Pocatello in these waning days of summer 2008 has been absolutely peerless: chilly mornings, clear and warm days, a mild breeze. Can’t beat it for outdoor activities.

And surprisingly (to me), biking around town gives a much better perspective of this place I call home now. You really learn the streets and can appreciate the beauty and charm of the yards and houses when you’re cruising at 4 m.p.h. through a neighborhood. We’ve had a fairly green summer, and everyone’s flowers and yards are still quite lush. There are proud, glorious sunflowers and cheerful geraniums everywhere. It puts me in mind of the last days of summer at the Shore, when most of the East Coast humidity is gone, the breeze is stirring the sand, the wild roses tumble over the fences, and the days are crystal clear.

You get the picture.

The beach cruiser bike is clearly a pleasure bike – a mixed blessing to my self-esteem because I think it inspires pity in motorists who watch the middle-aged lady pedaling her big bicycle along the side of the road. They stop their cars at intersections in order to let me cross – as if I were a pedestrian in a crosswalk and not a moving vehicle subject to the same rules of the road as they. Weird, but at least I get safely across the road (unlike when I’m on my motor scooter and motorists seem intent on mowing me down if at all possible).

I’ve just returned from a ride, winded and with muscles burning, but the breeze and the sun were so exhilarating that I just can’t mind the discomfort. The last days of summer are going fast, but I intend to slowly soak up as much of them as I can on my beach cruiser.

What’s your bicycle story?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation.....

It’s been five days since we returned home, and already the memories are starting to fade a little as everyday life ramps back up to normal. But the ‘battery recharged’ feeling really lives on. What a great time we had this year, the three of us and the dog!



Still mornings, with a hot sun, cool mountain air, and a lake so clear you could see the fish on the bottom at 15 feet or deeper.

Waking up at whatever time we wanted to, no schedule all day long.

Floating around on the water, cozily ensconced in my river tube.

My two best guys out in the raft, our dog sometimes with them, exploring the lake.

Sitting in my chair on shore watching storm clouds roll up through the valley.

Seeing the Bald Eagle fly overhead, bringing home a fish.

Watching the Ospreys fly back and forth along the valley wall (often in pairs), hunting for their next meal.

Visiting with our good friends, Tom and Marilee.

Evening movie marathons in our camper, the three of us huddled around a little 7-inch screen.

No cell phone service and no internet access.

Driving 20 miles one day to get internet access so I could complete a proposal on deadline (bleah! but I had the consolation of knowing that my project director had to do the very same thing: drive 20 miles from her own lake vacation for the same unexpected deadline.)

Warm days and cool nights.

A summer thunderstorm that poured rain over the valley one afternoon.

The gentle sunshine and crystal clear air after the thunderstorm, as if the earth had been cleansed just for us.

Crawdad hunting, and then (yuck) crawdad cooking!

A renewed and welcome sense of the wonder (and fun) of raising a child to adulthood.

The “Black Dog Convention” that seemed to be taking place at the campground while we were there (no less than a half-dozen black lab or lab-type dogs were in the campground by Friday).

Prowling the lakeshore in search of beautiful wildflowers to photograph.


Our photos are at . Can't wait for next summer!!!