In November1965, many years ago, I re-acquainted with an attractive guy who had been in my High School homeroom (he didn't notice me back in High School) and we started dating. We had been working at the same Ace Budget Center. He was drop dead gorgeous and I felt close to swooning every time we were together. He was also charming, intelligent and caring. He seemed so perfect in every way that we decided to get married and did so in 1966.
Well, life was perfect in all ways except one small problem. My dream man hated bicycles.
Let me explain. Bikes have been my preferred transportation since I was 6.5 years old and taught myself to ride. I was the kid whose Mom told her that she couldn't take driving lessons at the age of 16 and my reaction was "who needs to drive?"!
I tried everything to get Gerry to ride with me. Coaxing, demanding, threatening ... nothing worked. Finally, he got a motorcycle and I either drove motorcycles with him (I must confess that motorcycles can fun) or rode bicycles by myself.
Fast forward to December 1998. We had matching Trek hybrid bikes. Hubby had been diagnosed diabetic in 1994 so had to work out daily to control his sugar levels. I could get him to ride bikes with me occasionally. But it was a real trip. "OUCH", he groaned, "My butt hurts." Or we had to stop for a while so 'his arms could get feeling back into them'. Even when we were going, his top speed was 8 miles an hour. (snooze) At any faster speeds, he would wheez and moan like he was close to passing out, gasping "I'm suckin' wind".
I asked him to ride with me on that day in December 1998. He objected, then finally threw a tantrum and started throwing things. Needless to say, neither of us rode that night!
I had been studying recumbents ever since I encountered my first one about 6 months previously. They seemed to address all of Gerry's issues about bicycles. Could a change to a recumbent change his attitude?
The next day, I decided to take the plunge. We went to the local bike shop and purchased a Linear recumbent with under the seat steering. I figured if recumbents didn't do it, I would give up and ride alone.
Gerry got on his recumbent that night and it was love at first bike! Suddenly, he did not object to riding with me.
He even got on his 'bent when he was sick (that happened after he tried to take a cholesterol lowering drug - he got off the drug and has not been sick again since). Was this the same bike hater I married?
You are probably wondering why *I* got a bent since I enjoyed standard bicycles. Well, after watching Gerry in comfort on his recumbent (which we nicknamed 'the barca lounger'), I got tired of having a sore seat after a ride. Then, another recumbent rider let me ride his BikeE. I knew I had to have one and the rest is history.
Gerry put 900 miles on the Linear in one year (more than he had ridden in his entire life!) :)
In December of 1999, he decided to take the plunge and get the Cadillac of recumbents, a longbike. In a couple of years, he ended up putting 4500 miles on that Longbike! And yours truly inherited the Linear so I switched off on the BikeE AT and the Linear for a while but then found my dream bike, a BikeE RX so found the Linear a good home!
Gerry in watching me enjoy a double suspended bike (the BikeE RX) decided to take the plunge and go with Above the Seat steering so he got the new Cannondale recumbent! It's a majorly sweet bike and I wanted one too, of course so I got one
The photo is of Gerry on his Cannondale (after biking a few years, he is now lean and mean)!
The moral of this story is, if you don't like biking, you would probably like biking on a recumbent. And if you love biking and think it can't get any better, it does get even better on a recumbent!
And interestingly enough, Gerry has even gotten interested in another HPV, called a TRIKKE which is a sort of a combination of a scooter, inline skating and ? - just a lot of fun!
Here is a photo of the dynamic duo at the opening of a highway (bikes and other HPV's were allowed to try it out!)
If you want to see a Trikke for yourself, go to TrikkeTech USA site or Sue's trikke and scooter site.
Caution! They are VERY ADDICTIVE! :)
Update 2006: Gerry decided to just ride his recumbent (after a bad fall on the trikke and hitting his head) but Sue is still trikke-ing and biking! :)
Update: 2011 - In 2008, Gerry had a sub-arachnoid brain bleed and was in I.C.U. for 13 days (this is a risk from taking a baby aspirin daily - 70 mg - to protect from strokes and heart attacks - so much for epidemiological studies which "proved" this. ** sigh **). After laying in bed that long (came home with a ventricular shunt), he developed "intermitent claudification" in his lower legs so when he took his recumbent out, his legs would cramp up and we were down to riding 5 mph. It wasn't much fun for him because riding was uncomfortable and it wasn't much fun for me with him in pain and also poking along at 5 mph so we didn't do much riding in 2009. Then, in 2010, after he'd had a career ending ischemic stroke (time for him to retire anyway - we are both 66 years old), I got an idea. Why not a power assisted bicycle.
Unfortunately, these turned out harder to find than I had envisioned. I spent a day on the internet and all I came up with were gas powered ones which would be not fun for me to ride with - too noisy and also breathing the exhaust.
Finally (ok, sitting on "the throne" the following day), I prayed for help - had to be an electric bike available in our town, the thought came to me to "Google electric bicycle" so I did when I got to my computer and sure enough, one hit... a message on an internet bulletin board about a group which sold -- produce and electric bicycles. I called the lady and we went down to look at one. It was great and very reasonably priced too!
Gerry has come to the epitome of bicycle riding - a combination of the motorcycle he had to give up when he got his shunt and the bicycle! He's in heaven and now, we ride a lot and faster than 5 mph, too (I'm still riding my recumbent Canondale)!
Besides, he always preferred vehicles with motors on them anyway! :) Oh and I lost 112 lbs via Weight Watchers (have kept it off since March 2010)!
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