I was told today that I have been remiss in keeping up properly with my blog. I have yet to give the gruesome details of our first real bike errand. I’m not an exercising kind of gal. In fact, I go waaaay beyond hatred. It just doesn’t even show up on my radar. So perhaps, writing a story revolving around what is, in essence, exercise disguised as survival (getting food) is merely an extension of that. But we all have our crosses to bear. Besides, my doctors tell me exercise is important. Sigh.
The Panama City Marina, while close to some things are at a little distance to much more. We took bikes on several errands that were each several miles. Our first ride was all Rick’s fault. Doing some work on the Aft Deck, he stabbed himself with a rusty nail. We’ve been married for going on 25 years and I don’t ever remember him getting a tetanus shot. The nearest doc-in-a-box was about three miles. The few times we had gone out for test run bike rides, Rick had been adjusting my seat afterwards. It just wasn’t comfortable. On the advice of a friend, we had gone to a bike shop and I’d been “fitted” for the correct seat. This is the seat I used for this trek. Incidentally, I always insist we wear helmets. Rick thinks I’m worried about an accident. Really, it’s just because I hate to exercise. I’m hoping he will decide against bikes because he hates the helmet so much. Hasn’t worked yet. Bummer.
Besides, I knew we had to do this. He really did need that shot. I knew there was no such thing as Uber here, the cabs were inconsistent, and the bus route was published nowhere. So off we went. We alternated between sidewalk, bike lane, and hoping not to get hit on the side of the road. The worst was having to cross into a left turn lane. I know people don’t pay attention to motorcycles, I could only imagine what happens to bikes.
I need to stop here for a minute and explain the “Neilson calves.” Rick’s family has the most massive calves on the face of the planet. He is now an old man that rarely exercises, but his legs. His legs look like he works out twice a day. It’s not just smoke and mirrors either. He can pedal that bike, I tell ‘ya.
So, Rick is in the lead because he knows where he’s going. I’m putzing behind, because I don’t exercise and I’m a slow loser. He’s casually pedaling like he’s sauntering through the park. Meanwhile, the music that plays when Mrs. Gulch from the Wizard of Oz rides her bike past Dorothy’s house after she takes Toto away is running through my head and my little legs are pedaling as fast as they can. Rick’s not winded. He gets to rest at each stoplight while he waits for me. Meanwhile, I arrive at the light and it immediately changes, so no rest for me. We do make it and he does get his shot. But my butt. My butt was ON FIRE. I’m in so much pain. I can’t believe I spent that money on the special seat. Or maybe it was the fact that I have no ass. It certainly didn’t help that I felt like I was sliding forward the whole time. At any rate, the thought of getting back on and traveling another three miles was about as inviting as getting liposuction. We stopped a couple times at my insistence so I could rest my butt cheeks. But we did make it back. And yes, that incessant song played in my head the entire way back.
Our next bike excursion was to the Farmer’s Market. Rick installed the saddlebags on the bikes and adjusted my seat to try to make it more comfortable. While the ride was less harrowing with less crowded streets and more sidewalks, I felt like my backside was one giant bruise. I was no longer sliding forward but that didn’t help the butt pain.
Being the handsome, gallant, gentleman that he is, Rick offered to swap seats to see if his seat would work better for me. The time came when we had to grocery shop. While I made the list, Rick swapped seats. I was inside when I heard “LINDA!! LINDA!!”
I made my way to the door. “What?”
“Argh. Forget it. I set the bolt down and it rolled away. It fell in the water.”
My heart leapt. Perhaps we’d have to walk into town for dinner and shop another day. He quickly found another bolt (damn it) and got the seat installed. We did a test run and it seemed better. We started our journey, again dealing with traffic. We hadn’t gotten very far when the seat began to loosen. We stopped to retighten the bolt but found it was bent. Although I have a nonexistent looking ass, it was big enough to bend a big ass bolt. He had luckily brought a second one just in case. The seat did feel better and the adjustment kept the seat tilted so that I wasn’t sliding forward. We ended up stopping to tighten the seat a couple times and Rick told me not to move around much. Well. How do you do that? He also conceded that my old seat (now on his bike) was awful.
We successfully reached the Publix and locked up the bikes. We had a long list. I mean a LONG list. I was doubtful we’d fit it into our saddlebags. But my husband isn’t known as “Master Packer” for nothing. Everything made it into the bags and we even had a backpack to spare. My seat was adjusted again. I had noticed that, although my butt didn’t hurt, the pain had shifted forward. The seat was now angled back too far. (Can I just say that THIS alone is a good reason for my distaste for exercise.)
It was a little squirrely when we started riding back with all that weight in the bags. Once we both got used to it and adjusted ourselves, it was fine. When we reached the road leading to the marina, a feeling of exhilaration hit me. We were back. I had made it. I was still alive. ALIVE! And this trip seemed easier than the last one. Rick said it was because I’m getting in shape. I’m not so sure about that. At any rate, I was more proud of the accomplishment than I had a right to be. And maybe exercise isn’t so crappy after all.
*FOOTNOTE: We got a proper bolt for my seat (formerly Rick’s seat) and it is now adjusted properly. My old seat was donated to charity and Rick got himself a new seat. Our asses are thankful.