Sunday, July 11, 2010


I have a new bike – a Specialized Ruby Pro. I got it a month ago, but since it cost more than a reasonable, normal person, especially one who is not a great biker, would spend on a bike (even though I got a good deal), and I could have returned it within 30 days for a full refund, I didn’t immediately announce my purchase, thinking perhaps I would come to my senses and take it back. However, the sweet thing is still in my garage, so it’s time to “fess up.”

The new bike fits me better than my old one did, it has upgraded components, and it’s lighter – all factors that make riding more enjoyable, even if I am only slightly faster than on my old bike. Each time I get a “new and improved” bike, I prove the truth of these words – A bike is only as fast as the person pedaling. But because presentation matters, on a bike as sleek as my Ruby, I at least can feel like an accomplished cyclist.

A Simple Secret

Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference. For years I’ve tried to learn flip turns, but the result was always some sort of weird sideways motion instead of a true flip. Observers said I didn’t keep my head down, so I tried envisioning my chin glued to my chest. It didn’t work – my head came up mid-flip, I listed to my side, and my feet missed the wall. Then my daughter told me she could do proper flip turns only with her eyes closed. When I mentioned this technique to my Masters swim coach, she gave me the kind of incredulous smile I give my younger sister when she says something stupid, but I know she means well. Of course, I should keep my eyes closed. So, I approached the wall, tucked my chin, squeezed my eyes shut, pulled my body forward and down – and over, landing my feet squarely on the wall. I pushed off and surfaced to “high fives” all around. I’d finally done a successful flip turn.