Sunday, September 20, 2009

Riding for Happiness

My bike has finally returned from the bike doctor, Bike Link on 280. She is in good shape and ready to roll. I love my green Trek—she brings back great memories and some sad. In 1995, the year that Jerry Garcia died, I was living at home when my two brothers didn’t come home for Easter. Mom bought me a Trek to reward me. Wow! And I have taken good care of this bike over the past fourteen years. My favorite years with the Trek were my early years of grad school when I could ride to my classes at UAB from the Highland Park area where I lived. My bike has taken good care of me. In the past few years, she fell into disarray with her tires falling to flat and one of the gearshifts being smashed. Poor girl. After 3-4 weeks at Bike Link, she is good as new! And Mr. Husband and I have a new way of life: bike life.

We are in a state of mind where we’re trying to exercise more. We’re trying desperately to be more active. We will never be as active as my parents, who Mr. Husband often says never stop moving during daylight hours, but we’d like to be more active than we have been. We like to read and play video games—that means that within a few years we’ll have the physique of very fat sloth. We must fight that every day. Jeff got a bike for Birthannukah—this is all part of the master plan.

When we built and bought our house last year, we also had a master plan. I like master plans. Mr. Husband says I plan too much. He’s right. I plan to the point of super neuroticism, but it does not consume me (most days). We could have bought a larger house with a beautiful lawn for our many kids that we’d easily spit out to run about on and play croquet. We could have, but I wanted something similar to what I had in grad school when I lived downtown and could bike or walk to the grocery store. We found our perfect neighborhood with Bruno’s and Fresh Market within walking distance. Until the Bruno’s closed, our life was golden and the master plan was falling into place perfectly. Stupid economy. Bruno’s closed, and so now we rely on Fresh Market. Not bad, but not ideal for all our groceries.

Today, Mr. Husband decided he was going to make ice cream. His dear mother bought him an ice cream maker three years ago for his birthday. We never used it while we were in the cramped little apartment, so it makes its first appearance in a starring role now after almost a year in the new house. Better late than never. Totally. We needed ingredients like heavy cream and whole milk (we drink skim). Add to that the fact that we were very nearly out of toilet paper to the point of having to wipe with our hands (as my dad is so fond of putting it when he thinks he’s being funny), so it was time for a trip to the grocery store.

Let’s bike it!

We set out eagerly, he in helmet and me without a helmet yet. I forgot to tell Mr. Husband to purchase a helmet for me when he picked up my bike yesterday afternoon. Oops. I’d better be careful! Well, it’s not really my brain that’s the moneymaker in the family, so at least Mr. Husband’s big brain was protected. That’s what counts. Mr. Husband also put his bike computer on his bike this morning—I bought him a silly little "computer" because it’s a computer when I bought his bike. Our friend Brian grimaced and then grinned when he heard that I’d bought such a silly thing. But it’s a computer. Mr. Husband loves computers. And it came to great use today. We figured out that biking twice around our extended block is one mile. Nice. I can do the math—four times around is two miles. We will so be fit soon. Totally.

I put an empty backpack on my back, an old hemp backpack that is littered with ink stains and who-knows-what stains (but washed and clean), and we set out for the Walgreen’s – Fresh Market shopping center. We broke a sweat easily and didn't get hit by any cars. Bonus! Mr. Husband watched the bikes as I went into Fresh Market for his ice cream supplies. I watched the bikes as he went into Walgreen’s for toilet paper. We are such a team. I carried the groceries on my back and in a bag from my handlebars—I have much more experience at riding a bike than my dear Mr. Husband. Safety first.

It was fun—the two of us riding together and shouting back and forth to each other. And we totally saved the planet by not using our cars for that short trip. We’re green super heroes. We know. We started today what will be a tradition. We’ll use our bikes when we can—being healthy and exercising and getting just a little bit more out of life.

Next step: biking on a trail at Oak Mountain. Of course, I need to get a bike helmet before we take that adventure. But it’s coming. It’s going to happen. We’re going to feel the wind in our face and see green everywhere while we enjoy the best of what life has to offer for very cheap. You just can’t beat that.


Alicia said...

Can you guys ride bikes to Fresh Market from your house?
I am jealous!

countrypeapie said...

Yay -- bikes!!! And I know that you are so thoughtful that you will get yourself a helmet asap so that I don't have to worry about you. Right? Right.

Nancy said...

Yes, you WILL get a helmet soon, won't you????? But good for both of you! It's a wonderful activity to do together. Be careful.