Back in the (Other) Saddle!

(Post 207 of 263)

I really miss biking. I gave it up 10 years ago because it was just too painful because of my bad leg and knees. I just wasn’t getting enough use out of a bike to make it worth lugging one around anymore.

I’ve been thinking for some time now that I should try again now that Pilates has done miracles on said bad leg. Now that Bonita is gone and I don’t feel tied to the house anymore, plus we are getting into the cool season, it seemed like the perfect time to try biking again. The goal of this was not to start commuting around town on a bike — Mérida is not bike-friendly, no matter what the governor likes to brag about, and I don’t want to start showing up for appointments a sweaty mess. No, this is more for pleasure and to spend less of my free time sitting, to cycle the minimum amount of time on city streets needed to get to the dozens of kilometres of bike paths the city has to offer. That’s what the governor is actually bragging about, conflating having plenty of safe spaces to recreationally bike with having a bike-friendly city. The fact is that getting to these safe spaces is dangerous and there is almost never a place to park and lock a bike along the way if you want to run errands (I’ve already started telling my favourite businesses that it would be great if they could come up with a place to lock a bike).

Anyway, as it turns out, if I meander my way west through my neighbourhood for about 15 minutes, I will hit a series of bike paths that go from one end of the periférico to the other, north to south and back again, a total of nearly 20KM roundtrip. This is my most accessible and “bang for my buck” cycling destination. Other destinations, like the Paseo de Montejo, are too short to make the dangerous trip there worthwhile. My goal is to do a two-hour cycle trip one quiet morning a week, probably Sunday, as that’s when there will be the least traffic and the weather won’t be too hot. Forget evenings as it is getting dark very early already.

Now, I had to find a bike. I wanted a vintagey/retro city cruiser-type with handlebar brakes, a basket in the front, and a luggage rack in the back. I ideally needed 28″ wheels, but with women here being so small, that put me into men’s bike territory, so I compromised with a 26″ model. I finally found one that looked promising. A small local bike shop was selling it for $3,880 delivered (with a dent in the mud guard) and Coppel had it for $5,200 delivered! Sold! It’s not as retro as some of the models I was drooling over, but this one has much more comfortable handlebars, several speeds (a nice bonus!), and hand brakes. I’m thrilled with it.

Soon as I knew the bike was incoming on Monday, I put in an Amazon order for a helmet, lock, and bell. They arrived yesterday while I was at the dentist, so when I got back, I was able to head out to do a quick loop and get the tires pumped with air. I was rather amazed that it didn’t take long for my Watch to ask me if I wanted it to record a bike ride!

How was my first ride?

I can’t wait to head out again, but a few twinges this morning have reminded me I need to ease into long rides. I’m thinking maybe tomorrow late afternoon, like I did yesterday.