Reunited! (And it feels so good)

I got my bike back!

Hallelujah. I feel complete again AND I finally get to listen to more of The Dresden Files.

Alright … slight confession … I did cheat a little and I re-listened to older books in the series while I was walking and running because I’m trying to get my friends to read them so we can talk about them together.

Anyways … at the beginning of June, the clamp which holds my bike seat to the seat post broke off while I was riding. I came way with minor scrapes but my bike was out of commission until I could get a replacement post. I was already in the market for a new bike seat anyways so I thought I’d be sans bike for a week if that. (Ha! It was three weeks…)

My father bought the bike for my mother about 20 years ago. He bought it from a bike and ski shop called New Moon in Hayward, Wisconsin. Mom says she rode it maybe for or five times before it sat in her garage for a couple decades. So when I explained this origin story to my local bike shop (LBS) in Shafer, MN the owners were doubtful but determined to find a seat post that would fit my bike’s dimensions. We hit three signifigant road blocks:

  1. Due to COVID, bike sales and bike maintenance needs are through the roof. Furthermore, bike part distributors are not making product as fast because of a limited work staff/being shut down because of quarantine. (Some of the largest distributors are in California). Therefore, the part that we needed was sold out.
  2. Because my bike is 20(ish) years old, the standards have changed in terms of bike assembly. Apparently my bike post circumference of 26.6cm is rare now.
  3. Even if they found a post that would work, the metal clasp that holds the seat to the post snapped off completely and the bolt which holds it together is equally specialized and rare. This is what I get for owning a ‘Specialized Globe’ bike. I could just go to a hardware store and jerry-rig it, but my parents paid a lot of money for my braces back in middle school and I like all of my teeth.

Well the universe/cosmic power/God was looking out for me at least. The woman who owns the LBS called me up on Wednesday and told me that she found a replacement part at a store that sells Specialized-brand bikes.

“That’s great!” I responded. “Where is it? I’m not against a little road trip.”

“Its at a place called New Moon in Hayward, Wi.” she said.

I simultaneously wanted to hit my head against the wall and jump for joy. I was ecstatic that she finally found a replacement part, but I was super annoyed that the replacement part was hiding in plain sight in Hayward-Freaking-Wisconsin which is my hometown and where I go in the summers to help my Dad at our family-owned fishing resort.

It also just so happened that this was the first weekend that I was going up to Hayward, so the timing was right and I needed to strike while the iron was hot. I called up New Moon myself, ordered my part, and was told that they could get it in by this weekend but it wasn’t guaranteed. Well, they got it in today. I drove to Hayward after cleaning cabins, picked up my post, attached my brand new seat that I purchased from my LBS, and grabbed a new pair of bike chamois because “treat yo self.”

And I went for a ride.

Glorious doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling. I felt like I was finally me again. I ran cross country in high school but running was never my favorite sport. I just kinda endure it.

Biking inspires freedom. Biking liberates you. Biking is fun.

I had other things to do in Hayward (and I was trying to avoid the rain) so I kept my ride short. While I was adjusting my seat position in the Hayward High School parking lot, a woman passed by on a road bike and we gave each other a friendly nod. Seven miles later, I pass by a woman who is weeding in her garden and I hear “Hey! I just saw you at the high school! WOW you are cruising!”

Yep. I was. I felt strong. I felt badass. I felt like I got my mojo back.

Last year, I’d be bushed after a ride like this. Now I eat 10 milers for breakfast. 10 miles is an easy day.

435 miles down. I’m behind schedule but I’m confident I can make up for lost time. Now that I have a new bike seat that is comfortable and sturdy, along with two pairs of new bike chamois with padding for my rear, I’m going to be cranking out some big numbers.

I’m planning for 30 miles on Monday/Tuesday (weather depending) and maybe this week I’ll tackle one of my long-term bike goals to go from St. Croix Falls to Siren, Wi (a distance of 36 miles one way).

There were other reunions of course. I got to see my parents after being isolated from them since Birkie 2020. I got to see a bunch of familiar faces at the resort. I went musky fishing and had one up. We’re taking Dad musky fishing on Sunday for Father’s Day. Everything feels almost normal.

So if you’ve been reading my blog posts and you’ve wondered what had happened to me, I want to assure you that I didn’t just give up on training. (I didn’t have my heart in it most of the time but I still did it. Half-assed is better than nothing). In my down time, I’ve been working on my multiple creative writing projects. I’ll devote a whole post to to the subject of creative writing later on this week. Believe it or not, quality novel-length writing is not an activity that many people can just sit down and do. It’s a slow, agonizing death by a million paper cuts. It’s like running five marathons back to back in the rugged Kentucky mountains in April. Sometimes, as John Green stated in a podcast, it’s like playing Marco Polo in a pool and nobody else is there but you don’t know that.

So why do I do it?

I write for the same reason I bike: it gives me a sense of freedom…painfully blissful freedom.

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