You know, American women are acculturated to view our bodies in terms of negatives — what they can’t do and how they fall short (breasts) or overshoot (hips, thighs, stomach, butt) a very narrow conception of what is ideal. But today, I learned that my thighs, despite their non-airbrushed state, cellulite, and jiggly bits, rock.
They brought me home from the bicycle shop on my new ride, despite the fact that I haven’t been on a bike in over a year. Also despite the fact that flat old Iowa gets noticeably hilly when one is suddenly powering one’s only-marginally-in-shape self plus 35 lbs. of recumbent bicycle over the (tiny — I know — shut up, you Nevadans) hills.
So here she is in all her glory: Carmen,* the 8′ long, red, aluminum bicycle, 100psi tires, two mirrors, two drink holders, ready to take on this corner of the world. Officially, she is a Sun Bicycles EZ-Sport AX. And what a great ride. I feel so stable and safe — recumbents are great because the rider’s center of gravity (read, my big butt) is so low to the ground; I always feel teetery on regular bicycles. They do work a whole different set of muscles, though, the tops of the thighs and the hips, rather than the backs of the thighs and the butt.
And here’s another neat thing, if you’re a total dork like me: a nifty website has all the mileage and milestones listed for various journeys from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. So of course I’ll be tracking my mileage (yes, I got an odometer on the bike — when you have to pay extra to have the darn kickstand attached, what’s another $20?) and reporting my progress on the blog. Today, I rode 3 miles. In Fellowship of the Ring terms, that means I’ve left Bag End, jumped the hedge, gone through the gate in the lane, headed west, and crossed The Water on a plank bridge. Of course, Frodo walked 18 miles his first day, with ring wraiths on his trail. Me, I’m finishing up lunch and then taking a nap.
*Yes, I named the bicycle. She’ll be sharing the garage with Tango Charlie, my 2005 Scion hatchback.**
**Yes, it’s possible that instead of a bicycle, I should have gotten a life.