Theresa has been starting to ride her bicycle daily to work which I think is quite an accomplishment. It's a 25 mile round trip, and the benefits she gains with the drop of elevation in the morning is paid dearly on her uphill climb home. It's a testament to her endurance and inner strength that she continues to leave each morning, pushing her bike out of the garage with panniers stuffed with her lunch, change of clothes, and books.
Bikes are modes of transportation that have been around for quite some time. About.com records the earliest form of two wheeled transportation to be
"in 1790 by Comte Mede de Sivrac of France. Called a celerifere, it was a wooden scooter-like device with no pedals or steering."
From there we gained the velocipede, the penny farthing, and pneumatic tires by 1888. Today bicycles have advanced to include all kinds of exotic components and carbon fiber. Take a tour of your local bike shop - the sticker shock will reveal just how far this technology has come.
But our bikes are old. We love them, and they have seen a lot of miles. Both are Gary Fishers of mid 90's vintage that, along with all of the local use, have taken us on two self supported tours through the southern mountains of British Columbia; a road tour of Highway 1 between Calgary and Vancouver, followed two years later by the abandoned and scenic Kettle Valley Railway between Castlegar and Hope.
And they've been abused. For the last eight years they've seen a lot of their life strapped to the lifelines of our sailboat. They've hauled propane, groceries and kids with the help of a Chariot double trailer and navigated the trails and loops of Unalaska Island in the Aleutians.
It's not surprising they're showing wear and tear. It was high time for some sorely needed attention.
I began by digging through my toolbox and locating my bicycle toolkit. Bicycle maintenance is an interesting diversion from the standard fasteners, with toothed sockets and slim metric wrenches becoming the requirement. Stripping them down revealed a few dry bearings and pitted races in the drivetrain. New pedals, chain, and a bottom bracket cartridge soon had the wheels spinning again like new.
But the hills still hurt. Too bad our old muscles and bones can't be resurrected as easily as our bikes. But with the gas prices climbing ever higher and higher, that too may be overcome by the end of summer.