I Want To Ride My Bicycle!

I thought that when I turned 50 my life would under go some changes. I decided that I really needed to start checking off those things in my bucket list. That I needed to get healthier. That I needed to write more. That I needed to….

Have I mentioned that I am a world-class procrastinator? I could give lessons on the art of leaving things to the last possible minute and still accomplishing what needs to be done. Unfortunately in life that is not a great way to live.  If your doctor tells you that exercise will keep you healthy and help your heart after you have had an open heart surgery, sitting in front of the TV every night with a beer or two isn’t going to accomplish that goal. In fact, you may find yourself BACK in the hospital and then it may be too late to repair the damage.

This is a reality I live with. Not for myself–I’m as healthy as a horse most of the time–but my husband has heart issues. About 6-7 years ago my husband went to the doctor for shortness of breath. This was on a Monday. Thursday he was having a double bypass. It was scary and absolutely hit us from out of the blue. He was in his early 40’s and had been having symptoms for over ten years, but his doctor never thought about checking his heart because of his age. I was pretty numb and thank God for his friend Mimi, who we had flown in to be by our side throughout the process. She sat with me while we talked to the cardiac specialists and helped me understand what they were talking about and what needed to be done. Having an RN for a best friend can be an awesome thing!

We got through it and for awhile he was pretty good about exercising and watching his alcohol intake, but as time went by he began to slack off. When I got my horse he decided that he wanted to get back into riding and I found myself out test-driving horse after horse for him until he found the perfect one. Which he has ridden exactly once. In the arena. He has never gone for a ride with me, even though I have asked him to several times. My youngest daughter has pretty much taken over that horse, so at least I have a riding partner, but that wasn’t the point of the horse. I wanted HIM to get out and enjoy the horses WITH me. Sigh…

So now I have bought myself a bicycle. We have talked about buying bikes for a few years now. In fact, we were looking at bikes when I got my mare and we veered off into the wonderful world of horse-ownership instead. However, bikes take much less maintenance and I don’t have to worry about keeping them up on their vaccinations every year or feeding them copious amounts of very expensive hay during the winter or keeping their feet trimmed, so I’m thinking the bikes might be a better choice for us when it comes to cheap exercise.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes, the bike. I purchased an Electra Townie that had been refurbished into a coaster bike–originally it was a 3 speed but the guy took the gears off and made it into a single speed. Even as a single speed it’s an amazing bike and I have decided that I am going to start riding my bike to and from work. Not only for my health, which will certainly benefit from the 20 minute ride twice a day, but to help save me  money on gas as I watch prices continue to creep up and I eye my giant SUV with horror when I realize what it is going to cost me to keep fuel in it’s greedy belly.

So now my husband has jumped on to my bandwagon–again–and has decided that he must have a bicycle too. So we have been searching Crag’sList looking for an Electra for him (really, you HAVE to check these bikes out!) and I want to get it before our vacation in mid-March. I am planning on a biking vacation. I want to take our bikes to places where we can enjoy a nice ride and fresh air and see a little bit of the country that we never see from the inside of our truck. And it will get him off the couch and away from the TV and I won’t feel bad about letting him have that beer in the evening because I will know he has exercised that day! The Electra is such an easy bike to ride it puts no stress on your body really and you can ride for a long ways without feeling tired. It’s the perfect bike for him!

I’m excited about the direction our lives are going. I am hoping that once I get him out of his truck and onto a bike he will enjoy it and we can take our bikes more places on our little weekend getaways and get healthier in the process. The horses might get used more also. Now if I can just get a trailer to take them with me life would be perfect….

What have you been doing to get healthier? Did you get a wake-up call from your doctor? Or have you always had a pretty healthy life-style?  My mother died from complications from diabetes at the age of 68. I had gastric-bypass surgery right before she passed away because I looked at her and saw myself. As one of Jennifer Crusie’s characters in Faking It said “If you can’t be a good example, at least be a horrible warning”. I’ve decided I need to be a good example!

So today I am off to the Bay Area to pick up a bike trailer for the grand babies and to check out a recycled bike shop in Campbell. Lord help me, I hate driving in the Bay but at least I am staying on this side of the bridge! Of course when I decide to start riding a bike California finally decides to bless us with copious amounts of rain–coincidence? I think not! But I am loving it anyway–think how beautiful those bike trails will be with all that wonderful spring growth! Happy trails!