The Orangecycle Diaries: Because Margaret asked edition

Yesterday, my friend Margaret posted a comment requesting more updates on the bike riding and, yes, that's enough to propel me into action. People undergoing chemo can be so demanding! The first piece of news is that Daisy is no more. No, don't panic! Not the bike. Just the name. I don't know how it happened. Maybe it'll still say Daisy on her birth certificate, but Chris kept referring to her as "Orangey" and another friend or two asked about "Orangey" and I realized that somehow it just seemed more...fitting. Maybe because she's all orange and whatnot. I'm very scientific like that.

The second piece of news is that I have become an almost daily bike rider, although I am writing this after three whole days of non-riding. (Two I blame on a family visit and one on today's lousy rain.) The third piece of information I wish to impart -- and I refer to this not as "news" because it most certainly won't surprise anyone -- I'm still not particularly good at it.

The fibromyalgia continues to be a humbling factor in it all. I find my leg strength wildly inconsistent, so one day I feel like I could go for miles (until my ass cries otherwise) and other days a perfunctory ride around the neighborhood is the very best I can do and I have to ease up even small inclines at the lowest of gears.

That said, progress is still being made. While I can't always feel it during a bike ride, I can feel it at other times -- my knee no longer hurts nearly as much when I'm hoisting myself out of the bath tub or rising off the couch after a dormant spell. I can feel it at yoga, when my legs can hold the lunges just a little bit longer.

How I feel it most, though, isn't physical. At the risk of sounding pretty darn cheesy, it's in how it feels just to be that sort of free, unencumbered, moving through space and still feeling so much a part of your surroundings. Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but I predict this whole "bicycle" concept could really catch on. Before you know it, kids'll be asking for them for Christmas. You mark my words. Buy your stock now!

I've had a couple of emails from other owners of Electra Townies who came across my blog entries after Googling their brand, so to them I share just a few additional thoughts. I'm still looking for some info about a bike rack that'll fit the Townie. I haven't done much because I'm lazy and highly unfocused but from what I understand, the longer length of the Townie's body and the forward-placement of the wheel means the frame doesn't fit easily into many models. If anyone out there has specific makes or models that'll work, please let me know!

Also, while the jury's still out on whether it's strictly a matter of user error, I'm beginning to see why some people online have complained that the forward pedal placement means the Townie's not great on hills. You can't stand and pedal, which is probably just as well for me right now as I'd likely just fall over. So I'm hoping if I continue to gain strength hills will at least get a little easier. Especially since you can't really go anywhere from my house without hitting one.

Lastly, my butt hurts. Apparently, the Townie's upright seating technology is great for posture, easing the neck, back and shoulder strain that can come from traditional hunched-over cycling form. However, the flip side is that the bulk of your weight is distributed squarely on the seat, not mitigated by balancing some front-body weight on the handlebars. I'm not saying this is a deal-breaker by any means, but I'd be interested at some point down the line to know if a seat with shocks helps at all or if it would just be more fancy window-dressing. Which I am also not opposed to by any means.

So while it rained all day long today, I'm hoping tomorrow's forecast for only intermittent showers means I can at least find a small window just to get back on and, as some of us in the business say, claim my seat. The weather's turning chillier here, fall rolling in, and I couldn't be happier about it. I love the crisp breeze on me as I whiz down the streets, tires crunching through the first fallen leaves. I may only have a couple of months left on Orangey before the cold really takes hold, but I am on it, baby. I'm on it!