Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I WAY heart my new trike

I WAY heart my new trike. I never had a big wheel when I was a kid. We were too poor. Also, the big wheel hadn’t been invented yet. I had a red trike and I’m pretty sure I was not the first (nor last) owner of said trike. Still, it was cool and big enough a (having, if not being, a big wheel) that someone could stand on that little platform between the back wheels and ride around as though on a chariot while the person in the seat peddled as fast as our legs would carry us. Though I remember the chariot rider person mostly being a cowboy …which didn’t make sense. But now I live in Plummer Idaho and saw an actual fat cowgirl riding a chariot through town one day so maybe I tdid make sense and we just didn’t know it yet. Anyway, I also remember this trike being so big when I got it (maybe it was new…hmmm) that my legs were too short to reach the peddles at the far end of their circuit. I had to push with whichever foot could touch a peddle at that moment. It was not the most efficient mode of transportation, but not bad and seems to allow me the very great freedom to ride to the end of the property (we only had sidewalk on one side of our corner lot…in front of the house and over to near the street on the other end. Wow. After a while, and after my feet could touch the peddles the whole time (I grew at what seemed an alarming rate at a few points in my childhood—once outstripping my older brother (and thusly beating him soundly when I noticed it as we met in a door way one fateful day when I was bigger since I knew this was a temporary advantage and I didn’t want to pass up the chance) and becoming the tallest kid in 2nd grade and again in 5th grade when I reached my full height and tragically almost my full bosom…5’5” and packing C-cups are not great things to be in mixed-gender gym class in 5th grade…or ever in gym class…and quickly outgrew the trike)). I loved that trike.
When I was about 5 I got a sparkly green bike with banana seat (also sparkly green) and a sissy bar. It was the coolest bike one could have in 1971. I got it because my brother had gotten a bike the month before on his 6th birthday (good family planning there Fred-n-Sher! Two kids in 13 months. Nothing like a little “down time”…ewww). I was apparently insufferable and got a bike for my birthday which must have been galling for the older brother, Stan. There was no Pam yet to steal my thunder as the youngest and favorite child. The only down side of the bike was it was a girl’s bike with the slightly weaker frame design of lowered top bar. I did not know of this perfectly reasonable objection to a girl’s model bike and was only offended that it was labeled “girl”…a label I had already rejected as limiting. By this point I had sworn off dresses losing the battle only for Grampa Wagners funeral (see “insufferable” above” and my kindergarten picture day. You can see the fury in my eyes and the subtle sneering pout (re: “insufferable”). I did not need a “girl’s” model bike as there was no chance I’d be wearing a dress or skirt on that thing. My Sears (or was it Penney’s?) tough-skins , which became “husky” after I got my tonsils out and could eat, jeans would not benefit from the lower bar.
Nevertheless, it was sparkly green and had a banana seat and sissy bar and those cool handle bars that made a rally big V and could be raised or lowered according to the day’s fashion and my mood (lower was sometimes cooler but limited the turning radius of the bike which was a disadvantage when jumping or doing sliding sideways skids through the dry run (a waterway that was sometimes dry, sometimes full of rain run off, and as we would later learn to our chagrin and our mother’s horror….sometimes full of raw sewage). All in all a very cool bike.
It got EVEN COOLER (like cool to 11) when someone gave me a package containing DOZENS of sparkly yellow stickers with my name on them…in capital letters. Awesome. I plastered my bike and many other things, possibly a door, with these stickers. I saw it years later at the farm (Hi Billie and Keith!) with the stickers still on it. Probably made of lead or some other durable toxic substance. I wonder if that bike still exists.

Anyway, my next bike wasn’t until I got back from France or possibly right before I left. It was a silver-gray 10speed in about 1984. II had it for years but we never bonded like I did with the trike or the green sparkly one. It wasn’t as cool, though pretty cool for the time and it had a boy-frame which I by then knew to argue for due to superior frame strength rather than the inherent negative connotations of feminine forms of anything in this culture (not that chicks are bad…just that feminine terms are generally used as diminutive or derogatory in this culture, e.g. “bitch” and “women and children” being constantly linked with the implication of weakness masked as value…wow, I need to let it go already). I had that bike for years. Clear into graduate school having gotten it the year I graduated high school (yes, I’m 43 now…you do the math). I never liked the little seat wedging it’s way where nothing should be, or the hard handles with so much weight pressing on my hands, or the hunched posture. Just wasn’t a 10-speed type of person.
I’ve avoided bikes since then due to the discomfort of the little seats and the weight on my arms, one of which now has an apparently permanent tendon problem exacerbated by gripping and putting weight on it (as well as by typing and being tense, knitting, writing…anything where you use your hand).
Then, I think it was last summer or fall, Berne (a dude) at work had this weird contraption on top of his Subaru. It had 3 wheels and looked like a big wheel for grownups. I asked him about it and he let me try it out. It was well fun. It’s a different brand than mine, but quite similar in style. The term is “tadpole trike”. His is a “Catrike” brand which is a pretty high end brand. He and his wife each got one, used, and have been enjoying them ever since. People claim speeds of 35mph on them. I believe it. You’re sitting in a recumbent seat that supports your back (unlike the annoying pulling on the lower back I experienced when peddling a 10speed) while you peddle. They are “recumbent” so you’re lying back pretty far. I think the seat on mine is set at about 35degrees up from horizontal. Berne’s has a mesh seat. Mind is a hard frame bucket but I like it so far (we’ll see after I ride on a bumpy surface for a long distance or sweat a lot on a hot day and get bad swamp ass). It has a nice lumbar curve built in and is narrow and short enough on the back that it doesn’t touch my shoulder blades or force my shoulders forward which happened with one low-end tadpole I tried out. Didn’t like it.
I paid 1200$ for it and it’s one year old. Sparkly blue, 27 speed (which I will be months in figuring out) (3 in front, 9 in back…I don’t know the gear ratio…it’s a KMX Viper….look it up), with panier racks (wire thingies to hold bags on the back wheel area), one bag for the aforementioned panier rack, a little baggie of tools and a paper manual that I haven’t looked at yet).
It has a brake on the back wheel (all are disk brakes) run by the left hand and brakes on the front wheels run by the right hand. I should probably have those swapped since my left arm is the “good” one and I should use it more. Most tadpole trikes only have front brakes because using the back brake lessens your ability to steer. This one, the KMX trikes in general in fact, have the back brake BECAUSE it decreases steering ability and makes you go into a semi-controlled skid (probably more controlled once I learn how to ride the bastard). So, the parking lot at work, gravel, is now heavily marked with brodies that me and others made while riding fast and then slamming on the back brakes. It was awesome and stupid so more awesome.
I do seriously need a cool helmet. If any readers have suggestions, feel free to post them. If there are local Plummer readers, feel free to call me for a test drive! It’s much funner than you think and you only look a little bit stupid.
Here is a really BOGUS phone photo of my trike. Please note the mess all around it. It is in the living room / potting shed / bike garage of the trailer. I am SUCH A SLOB! Oh well. I have fun.

On other topics, I'm in Denver. I won tickets at the Spinal Tap concert and this is the time to use them. Loretta will be on stage tonight and I plan on being there. Jonny picked me up at the airport and is letting me use an empty desk at his work (Trevor's) and use their wi-fi (so I have to keep it clean...PAM! that means you). He DID make me change my shirt before I could come up here and he said, "well, you'll be sitting behind a desk so no one will see your pants." ... nice! ... NOT! Of course I had just said that someone he was talking about sounded like such a mess that I was surprised Jonny wasn't dating them, so I totally deserved it. And I put on a better shirt than the torn sweat shirt I had been wearing. I wouldn't want to make his place of work look like a sinking ship... ...

And now, I'm going to maybe watch a movie online and fall asleep in the comfy office chair and snore and drool. But at least I look good.

1 comment:

Fly Right said...

I love your new wheels! Is there any way to attach a neon orange flag to it? (that was a memory from my purple banana seat bike--and it made the girly-style make sense because you couldn't swing your leg around the back to climb on if you had a flag). My flag was a give-away from the Piester-Derby gas station in town. How was Loretta????