Thursday, June 11, 2009

A fall and a change in thinking

I must be psyched to start this blog. This is the second post already in its first day. Don't expect this kind of frequent updating though.

Kao was in Portland for a month and she left this Monday. On Sunday morning, the day before she left, we went to the local supermarket to get some stuff for her to take back to Japan. When we left the store, we rode on the sidewalk next to the store to get to the street. I mostly ride on the street and not on the sidewalk, but this little stretch is short enough and even with some pedestrians it never seemed dangerous or anything if I rode slowly enough. I went around a pedestrian to pass him and then I must have misjudged or not noticed the little ledge for the opening on the sidewalk for a tree and slipped. I fell on my left side and my arm hurt quite a bit, but I didn't think there was any serious damage. I was more pissed at myself for such a rookie mistake. I rode home, but I couldn't use the left arm. I felt more pain after I got home and thought maybe it was more serious than I thought. We had a lunch date with friends to keep and I survived through that, but afterwards, all I could do was lie in bed and try to let whatever injury it was heal itself. Fortunately, it didn't seem to be anything too serious and it got better and better everyday. After 3 whole days of not riding my bike at all, today I was able to go for a ride to the store. (The store where I fell) It felt a bit awkward as I still couldn't put too much weight on the left arm, but if I rode slowly, it wasn't too difficult.

My bike at Mt. Tabor park

Here you see my bike which is a Specialized Allez Sport. I don't have a deep love for the Specialized brand or anything, if I could afford it, I would love to get a custom steel bike, but it was a good find on Ebay and it's a great value for what I could afford. The thing is, this is a performance oriented bike, but I'm using it for everything as it is the only bike I have. I might go for one or two long semi fast rides a week, but other than that I just ride it to run errands, go shopping, see friends, etc. I think it might be better if I had another bike for those kind of riding. You don't see them in the above picture, but at the time when I had the fall, I had clipless pedals on the bike and my feet were clipped into them. If I just had normal platform pedals with regular shoes, I may have been able to put my foot down in time to keep from falling. I'm not saying that it would have been OK if I had a different set up. I shouldn't have been riding on the sidewalk even if it seemed safe. It just seems like there's always 2 different "me's" riding that bike. One wants to go fast and one likes going slow and taking it easy. I've said that I have a long on and off history with the bicycle, and that includes 3 years in college when I was regularly racing. Even though it's been years since then and I don't have the desire to train or race like back then, I do like to try and ride fast on occasion. On the other hand, for one month while Kao was in town, we rode everywhere together at a fairly leisurely pace and I enjoyed that quite a lot too. So, I think instead of riding this semi performance oriented bike everywhere, maybe it's better if I had 2 bikes each with its intended purpose. or I just need an excuse to get a second bike.

"My" new bike

That brings us to this bike which is Kao's bike which is an old Trek 460 steel road bike. Kao is fairly new to riding bikes other than the mamachari bikes in Japan and so she isn't quite flying down the road with this bike yet. I'm not sure why she chose this kind of bike instead of a more upright bike, but maybe it's because this is the kind of the bike that's most popular here in Portland. Her fitness level seemed to visibly improve every time we rode, but still I wonder if this kind of bike is really perfect for her. So, I asked her if she would mind if I tinkered with her bike a bit. I could replace the drop bars with something more upright to make it more into a city bike. Then I can use this bike to run errands while she's out of town. I have found myself more and more attracted to all the nice city bikes out there and while I can't really justify buying a new one financially, getting a few parts to convert this bike might be just the thing to do. Kao gave me the go ahead to do this and if she finds that she likes the new version better, then she can keep riding it like that. The thing about this bike though is that it has no eyelets for adding racks or fenders. It would be good to add some racks or baskets to increase its carrying capacity as it will be a utility bike. If anyone reading has any suggestions, please let me know.

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