Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Bike tails, no. 1.

Bike tails, no. 1.

With both of the kids growing quickly, it was high time to get them bigger bikes. I broke a low-weight goal this past week, and although I’m still considerably overweight (that’s putting it nicely) I now weigh less than I did four years ago. Perhaps in a euphoric fit, I decided to get myself a bike too.

I haven’t had a bike since high school, when I used to use it to get to friends’ houses, or the community pool, in the very large subdivision where I lived. It was a large community of a couple thousand lots over maybe a few dozen square miles, so biking to a friend’s house might mean a 15-30 minute ride depending on where they lived, and how the roads and hills were laid out between point A and point B. As we got older and got our drivers licenses, bikes became passe and we would pick each other up to do things over a wider geographic area.

So 25 years later, here I was at the store considering getting back into the pedaling business. I didn’t want to go drop $500 on a lark, though. First I wanted to find out whether I could still enjoy biking at all. I figured that in a year or two, if I really do enjoy biking, I should be able to look into a better bike at that point. I looked at road bikes and mountain bikes, and decided that given some of our uneven roads in this area, a mountain bike with a suspension would probably work better for me. Even though they’re a bit heavier, I also felt — although this may be just psychological — that a mountain bike’s sturdier frame and wheels would hold up better under my weight.

Ultimately I picked out a Schwinn S25. It’s nowhere near the level of bikes some of my cyclist friends probably have, but thus far it seems pretty sturdy and fun to me. I took it out around the neighborhood yesterday with Evie, after checking that the shifters and brakes seemed fairly well adjusted. And it was a lot of fun returning to riding after 25 years away. For the first couple of minutes I was just the tiniest bit shaky on balance, but it all came back very quickly.

I bought a couple accessories to go with it, like a gel padded wrapper for the seat (which by itself looked hard enough to be a torture device for someone my size), a small accessory bag that anchors to the steering and top tubes, and some padded gloves. I also stupidly bought a bottle cage so I could carry some water with me, and it totally doesn’t fit the big frame of this bike. OK, I got a little carried away there, so shoot me. I definitely need to figure that out, because having hydration with me will be necessary if I’m going to ride any appreciable distance, or take my bike out to some of hte battlefield trails in the area.

The only problem I found was that although the gel seat wrapper does fine at preventing pressure and numbness on those (ahem) sensitive areas, it didn’t do a darn thing for my “sitting bones.” And that sucks, because I really want to go riding again today, but I’m still sore from yesterday, and I feel like if I go riding again today, I won’t be able to sit down to work tomorrow.

I’m hoping some of my biking friends can recommend more comfortable seating, but unfortunately a lot of them are skinny guys so they may not be that helpful. There’s a bike shop in town, although I’m sure it’s geared more toward serious cyclists. Is it worth the potential embarrassment for me to visit them and ask about making my posterior a little more comfortable?