Back in the Saddle

Well, well, well. Hello again. I’ve been absent because I was on a most wonderful vacation. First, Luke and I went to visit my family in Maine. It included seeing their new house and new companion animals (Johb the dog and Maybe the cat), seeing every member of my mom’s side of the family, and seeing my brother and meeting his new boyfriend. It also included multiple trips to Farmington (my undergrad town/school) and Nezinscot Farm, and lots of lake swimming for Luke, while I stayed happily warm and dry. Luke also got to go visit his mom in New Hampshire, which included lots of 4-wheeling. (I’ve already assured him that, yes, when we move back to Maine and have some land, we can get a 4-wheeler.) After Maine, we went to stay for a night at Farm Sanctuary, in upstate New York. It was an amazing experience, and we’re both hoping to go back for longer next year. it’s located in Watkins Glen, NY, and it looks like there’s a pretty stellar state park there. That part of the trip included a lovely little cabin, pigs, cows, goats, rabbits, roosters, hens, sheep, cats, turkeys, vegan soft-serve ice cream, and a freaking delicious vegan continental breakfast.

One thing my vacation did not include? Cycling. Sadness. This was for a number of reasons:

A) Luke and I have yet to have the money to splurge on a bike rack that is sturdy enough to take our bikes from Ohio to Maine. However, this will happen before next year. We’re determined.

B) The bike that was most readily available for me was my Dad’s 10-year old Roadmaster mountain bike. Even though I’ve become a bit of a bike snob (I admit it), I debated giving it a shot. But then Dad mentioned that “You can’t go very far before the chain pops off;” I decided to steer clear, since cycling is something I do to increase enjoyment in my life, not frustration.

C) The ladder on my aunt and uncle’s raft shanked me on the first day of my visit, slicing my foot open in a way that made it too painful to put pressure on it. This would have made peddling a challenge. (It actually still hurts a bit to pedal now, though it’s more of an annoyance than pain.)

Hence, circumstance dictated that I go without cycling for about 10 days.  I.freaking.missed.it. I was very much looking forward to my bike ride yesterday, our first full day home. However, I was also having a really hard time being back in Columbus. Columbus is a pretty neutral place. It’s not the best place I’ve lived (that would be Maine), but it’s certainly not the worst. It’s just that – I’m not a city girl. And after 10 days of small towns in Maine and upstate NY, I found being back in a city jarring and alienating, to say the least. I’m also not particularly suited to the Midwest, or sub(urban) sprawl with all of its concrete and cars. I hoped my bike ride would help, and would make me feel a bit more connected to nature (via the bike path). But, as much as I love cycling, it’s not a panacea. Hoping that my bike ride would somehow magically transform central Ohio into central Maine was perhaps a bit too much to ask of my favorite hobby. Also, the bike path was crammed with decked-out Buckeye fans who were biking to the football game yesterday. They weren’t quite of this caliber:

But some were close. That wasn’t super helpful in terms of needing some healing/magic via cycling. (However, in retrospect, the scene of these fans on bikes is pretty freaking amusing, and I may take my camera to the bike path before the next home game. Maybe. If I need some adventure. But probably not.)

Today’s ride was much better. I felt back in my cycling groove, and the ride was very enjoyable. I even decided to ride on the streets on my way home. (I also had the experience of getting run into the shoulder by a motorcycle. I shall now be purchasing my “3 Feet Please” backpack, since school’s starting up so I’ll be commuting more.)

I also arrived home to find that the bike that I want has finally dropped in price since they’re phasing out the 2010 models. I need this bike because asap  because I’m slightly concerned about my right knee. I seem to have pulled a muscle, and I suspect that it’s because my current road bike doesn’t fit me as well as it could. However, I’m not sure that it’s completely that because it started hurting about a week before I went on vacation, and taking time off from cycling didn’t fix it. I’m getting my doctor to check it out on Wednesday.

Right now, for my new bike, I’m planning on getting a 2010 Fuji Newest 1.0, which is a nice entry-level road bike. (Family, don’t freak out. I’ll be paying about half of the listed price. My extra fellowship should pretty much cover the cost – yay!) It’s a lot of bike for the price, and it’s gotten good reviews. Also, supposedly the Tiagra shifters are a “must,” and they perform well for a long time. I haven’t gotten to test ride one yet. I’m hoping to go to Performance Bicycle within the next week or two to try one out. Fingers crossed! I’m also toying with the idea of a Specialized Dolce Elite, but it’s a bit pricier (and I’d only remotely consider it if I could get it on an insane end-of-year sale) and I don’t like the styling as much, so hopefully the Fuji will work. I certainly love my Fuji Crosstown hybrid; I think of that bike as my pleasure craft, while my road bike means business. And my new road bike will mean even more business!

If any of you have any thoughts and/or reviews on road bikes, cycling, or life in general, I’d love to hear!

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7 responses to “Back in the Saddle

  1. Take some time to get away from Columbus. Either to the south and the Hocking Hills area or to the north and to the Amish country. Both will assure you that Ohio is not all city. In fact Ohio is mostly country.

    • We’ve been down to the Hocking Hills a number of times, and it’s been lovely! We also want to check out the bike paths in the Yellow Springs area. Haven’t been to Amish country yet, but I’m quite familiar with it from living in Pennsylvania!

  2. Hi dear, it’s flutterings.
    I just wanted to let you know that I’m still thinking about you and reading about your life! You’re on my mind a lot and if you ever want to e-mail me do feel free to do so – I’d just be happy to hear from you 🙂

    Wishing you all the best on your continued adventures!

  3. Awww, hello! So good to hear from you. 🙂 Alas, I don’t have your email address. Do you have mine?

  4. I don’t actually. Would you mind writing it here? I’m not comfortable writing mine out in a public setting like this 🙂

    Since I self-suspended my flutterings account, I can’t comment or send/receive – just read. I am reading though – every day!

    Let me know hon!

  5. No problem! I don’t want to leave it up here forever, so let me know when you see this comment so I can delete it. My email is sarah.carnahan@gmail.com

  6. I sent you an e-mail 🙂

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