In which we had fun.

Posted: February 9, 2009 in Arizona, biking, Calvin, Health/Fitness, weekend

calvin_bikeCalvin surprised me yesterday.

After our usual Sunday morning routine (him – newspaper; me – book/web surfing), we showered up and went out to grab some lunch and run some errands. We ate at Taco Bell (yes, I know, I know, not very health conscious of us), and as we were leaving Calvin said, “The only thing you had planned was to go to Pets Inc. to get a rat and some worms, right?” I confirmed, and asked if he had something in mind that he’d like to do for the afternoon. He said he did, and when I asked, “What?” he replied, “You’ll see.”

He turned the truck around and headed back toward the house, and as he backed the truck into the driveway he said, “Go grab some towels so the bikes aren’t rubbing against each other.” So I hopped to, changed my pants into something more comfy for riding than jeans, got a couple of water bottles, and grabbed some cushioning materials.

It’s a bit of a struggle fitting the bikes into the back of the truck, but with some maneuvering and cursing we managed it well enough.

We headed towards Tempe, and Calvin asked if I’d prefer Tempe Town Lake or Papago Park as a destination. I chose Papago, since, even though the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens are part of the same complex, I’d never been to the actual park before (except for a small part of it that Heather and I went to once with our puppies – I wanted to point that out before she called me on it for forgetting).

We pulled into the parking lot right under the butte and had just gotten out to finagle the bikes out of the back when we heard, “OH NO! Ow! Ouch! Oof! OOF! OUCH! OWOWOWOWWWWW!” We looked up at the butte and saw a teenager in an uncontrolled decent down the final steep part of the mountain. People fall off the thing all the time – they go up to the park to picnic, want to climb up to the Hole-in-the-Rock (there’s a lovely picture of it here) in their slick street shoes or sneakers, and underestimate how steep it is to get up and down the thing. This kid was no exception. He fell probably ten or fifteen feet, apparently banged up his knee, but with some adroit sympathy from fellow climbers and his family, he was deemed fit after about ten minutes or so.

So Calvin and I, figuring we weren’t needed to dial 9-1-1 or anything, hopped on our bikes and started cruising around. It was cool enough that Calvin had to turn back for his sweatshirt, and clouds hid the sun every now and then and threatened showers. We did get sprinkled on a tiny bit, but by then we were warmed up and the damp was kind of refreshing. We wandered around the park a bit, then happened upon the paved bike path that circles the park. There are several excellent views of the Zoo and Tempe and the Botanical Garden and Hunt’s Tomb from various aspects along the path. Most of it was fairly easy going terrain, but there were a couple of hills steep enough that I needed to take a pause at the top and suck some air into my limp lungs.

Yeah. I am SO out of shape. Calvin hardly puffed at all. Dammit.

After about an hour we headed back to the truck and called it a day. It was a good easy start to what I hope will become a weekend routine. Calvin seems to be enthusiastic about it – enough so that he ordered a 2-bike hitch mount bike rack so we don’t have to keep loading the bikes into the back of the truck. We’ve talked about a few places in the Valley we’d like to go, and we’ll take road trips up north to Sedona and Flagstaff when the weather gets too hot to stay around home.

Per MTAE’s warning, my seat is pretty darned uncomfortable, but my butt only hurts when I actually sit on the bike, not all the time. I’m gonna get me one of these. And I need a bike lock if I’m going to ride to work. And I’d like a computer that tells me distance so I can track my riding progress. And I need a helmet. And some of those neat cyclist shorts with the padding in the butt. And… and… and…

Let’s see if this enthusiasm continues, shall we?

  1. Taoist Biker says:

    Never underestimate the power of butt padding. (You know, the kind that you take off to take a shower, at least.)

    Seriously, even on my motorcycle, I could tell the difference between days when I rode in jeans and days when I rode in my perforated leathers – the leathers had an extra layer in the seat and my butt didn’t go numb after the first 20 minutes like with the jeans. And that’s when I WASN’T constantly moving my legs to keep moving forward.

  2. angelcel says:

    Cycling’s fun and good exercise and you’re lucky that you have some off-road trails, especially paved paths specifically for bikes. We have just 2 trails: one that goes continually uphill from the south of the island westwards, and one that goes all along the main bay on the south of the island. Guess which one is choc-a-block with bikes, joggers, walkers and in the Summer ‘Le Petit Train’ (a little tourist train). I always envy the sheer space you have over there. Keep up the good work – you’ll be zooming around in the traffic to work and cutting up the cars before you know it! 😀

  3. Kim says:

    Again, jealous!
    I’ve been talking about wanting a bike for months now; we have a great neighborhood for it (even has intimidating hills) and plenty of parks around here too. I need to start looking again for one I can afford. I’m a lot more inclined to exercise when it’s enjoyable.

  4. Calvin says:

    For me to stay interested it will be a combination of things.
    1st you guys are right about comfort, this is not like it was when you were a kid and rode your bike 20 miles a day every day. A huge super comfy bike for a paper route and small not so comfy bike for bmx was fine then now it needs to be functional and very comfy.
    And the places we ride will need to change every so often so as not to get bored, can’t just circle the neighborhood.
    I would say if you are going to get a bike do spend the extra to buy a good quality one because you can feel the difference when you ride and when you sit after:)
    Kim is right it has to be enjoyable.

  5. Strap a Lay-Z-Boy to the bike. It’d be heavy, but worth the trouble and much better for you butt. I don’t think you could get it in the back though…you might have to get a rack fof the thing.

    I managed to mention “butt” and “rack” in one comment…do I win something?

  6. Laura says:

    TB – Heh. That reminds me. I need to get leather chaps for our Sturgis trip.

    Jayne – I’m rather leery about riding in traffic, actually. The drivers around here are INSANE and can’t be trusted to give the right-of-way to cyclists. I’ll be sure to start taking our camera out with us on our rides, though, so you can see what it’s like.

    Kim – We got a good deal on both bikes – they were on sale. Some of the damned things cost upwards of NINE GRAND. WHY ON EARTH WOULD A BIKE COST NINE GRAND???

    Calvin – I well understand your threshold for boredom. I’ll keep looking for new places for us to go, since riding along behind you affords a most excellent view that I’m eager to repeat. 😀

    MTAE – You win my everlasting respect, and credit for any new search engine hits that come my way. ~grin~

  7. […] he’ll vote for the motorcycle) somewhere. Thus far we’ve gone to Tempe Town Lake, and Papago Park. This time I’m thinking Kiwanis for something close-by, or maybe we’ll turn it into a […]

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