Tis’ the gift to be simple; Tis the gift to be free —Shaker Elder, John Brackett 1848

Spring with all her splendor has arrived! She beckons us outside after our time of winter hibernation. I love the sound of the peepers in our pond and the neighborhood children playing. After dreaming about warmer days, I am anxious to hit the pavement. Walking, hiking and kayaking have all been activities that I have increased in the past decade. This year I am excited to be adding biking to the list!

 
The Mullet’s electric bikes packed up on the Jeep, ready for their next adventure.

The Mullet’s electric bikes packed up on the Jeep, ready for their next adventure.

 

I have never been comfortable riding a bike. We moved to the country when I was four. Our gravel country road was hilly, and my mother did not think it was safe for us to ride bikes. Consequently, I did not receive my first bike until I was 11 years old. As hard as I tried, I never felt coordinated and frequently lost my balance. The scientific principle of motion and stability did not register with me. That was not the only thing. As I grew in age and received a bike with gears, I never learned how to appropriately shift, nor the concept of hand brakes. My sons quickly picked up the skill, but I never could.

I have had five bikes in my lifetime. The last one my husband Joe got for my birthday about eight years ago. He is a great gift buyer, but even more so when I circle an item for him and leave it on his wallet. This model had been featured as one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things. An automatic shifting bicycle with old fashioned pedal brakes sounded like the right choice for me. I successfully rode it for a few seasons but still never felt totally safe. Having to stand on my tip toes at stop signs was very intimidating to me; after the second hip replacement, it felt just plain reckless. Having decided my biking days were over for good, I parked it in the corner of the garage that holds items for sale.

Then one day I read in the AARP magazine that new bikes were being designed with seniors in mind. Not only were the bikes more friendly in comfort, height, and stability, but they had an electric motor to aid when needed. 

Two weeks ago, Joe and I made our way to the bicycle shop to try them out. Getting on was the first test. No high bars to struggle with, smooth entry with the new “step through” design made it simple. When I lowered the seat no wrench required, I could sit and touch the ground with both feet. The shifter is a dial so I can clearly see what gear I am in. But the best feature is the motor. Whether I choose to go for the eco mode to conserve on battery or speed it up to turbo mode where I can go 20 miles per hour, if I pedal, the motor will kick in to provide the assistance I need.

With special thanks to the residents of Pines Village Retirement Communities and their generous Christmas gift, I was able to meet my savings goal and purchased a spanking new E-bike in LIME green with white-walled fat tires and a beautiful tan padded seat. I swoon just thinking about her and the gift of freedom she provides! Free from the chains of “I can’t do that” was replaced with “Joe can we go for another bike ride?” after one practice session.

 Have you ever let your fears and physical limitations keep you from trying something new or in this case, something old that needed to be re-worked? I hope you will reconsider and look for alternatives today. With advances in technology, there are numerous adaptive devices available to help us along the way.

If you do make your way to the bicycle shop, let me know so we can plan an adventure together. And don’t worry about that green flash outside your window. It’s just me on my lean green speeding machine!