In Loma Linda, California where Lisa and I spent the winter months – I discovered walking to be a tremendous way to stay in shape and save on fuel for our gas guzzling SUV we needed to haul our stuff out west for three months. At one point I managed to average about eight miles per day – which will never get me ready for a triathlon, I realize, but not bad for a 53 year old with an arthritic knee and really bad feet.
By the time Lisa and I had returned home – my feet were a mess and a doctor informed me following an exam that foot surgery would be necessary soon. That will have to wait until our return to Kentucky – whenever that will be. In the meantime – I miss walking but the heat here in Arizona coupled with my foot problems have forced me to find other ways to stay in shape.
There is a really nice pool here at the KOA campground where we live in Kingman and I will use that as much as possible. However, I have never been a really good swimmer and I don’t believe sinking in a pool is really going to get my heart rate up. As I was taking Lisa to work one morning – we passed a sign indicating a walking trail and noticed people taking advantage of the cooler morning temperatures heading down the concrete path. Because of my walking problems I decided to check out bicycles at the local Wal-Mart thinking that may be the best alternative for me as far as exercise.
Years ago (probably twenty) I invested in an expensive mountain bike that I still own. I never really used it for mountain biking – just rode the Owensboro “Greenbelt” trail or occasionally rode it to work and back. I got plenty of use out of it over the years – but really paid way too much. So I was looking for something plain and simple in a bike that would allow me to sit upright and just stroll along on this new found path here in Kingman. Sitting upright was my priority consideration. I am done with any bicycle that forces me to lean over until the blood has filled the top of my head and my hands have turned numb and blue from the strain of all my weight. Also I refuse to turn myself into one of those Lance Armstrong acting, spandex wearing, piston legged club riders that lean across bikes with pencil thin tires worth more than the RV we live in. I wanted something with wide tires and fenders and one of those spring loaded carriers on the back. I wanted something with a wide seat and old fashioned coaster brakes. I wanted a Schwinn “Heavy Duty”.
Upon arriving at Wal-Mart I noticed many bikes that fit that description and settled on a blue Schwinn that would make me look more like Pee Wee Herman than any serious street biker. This one was perfect – wide, whitewall tires, coaster brake, fenders, and when I rode it for the first time I thought of Ms. Gulch in the Wizard of Oz carrying Toto away from Dorothy. I could not look more ridiculous – but I love my new bike.
But the amazing thing about this whole experience is that I only spent $88. I remember when the bikes we rode as kids cost more than that. How did we manage to keep the prices of bicycles so low? I mean $88 – really? This bike is certainly not top of the line and has no hand brakes or gears. But for that price – I may not bother locking the thing up. Don’t get me wrong – $88 is a lot of money and I am glad I could afford to buy it. There was a time in my life that would not have been possible – something I am not ashamed to say. But in an age where we can easily spend $88 at a nice restaurant with our family – I bought a bicycle – and it was a Schwinn.
Now if I can just find some of those tassels.
Steve and Lisa