Farewell Blue Beast, Hello Bianchi Volpe
By Connie Brown-Caldwell
I was serious. It was time. In January of this year, I allocated 1K of my federal tax refund toward the purchase of a bike of my choosing. Studying. Test riding on the trainer in the store. Getting body scanned to get the right adjustments. Taking into consideration my true needs as a varied-terrain cyclist. I needed a cross bike.
A month later I went into the store, got a body scan, talked for over an hour with the owner and now friend. I gazed dreamily at the golden Volpe. Unable to sleep that night, I decided that the Bianchi was the bike for me. The next day I left work early, suited up in my winter gear, went to the store, purchased the bike and rode 26 miles until I ran out of water and the dark night sky chilled my thirsty bones.
But that first ride...
I shall remember it forever, or until the grips of senility and old age wither it away. But for now I can remember the first hill a.k.a "CAKE" Cake = Conquering A Killer Embankment. I love CAKE. I rode Hwy 1, a back road out of Rochester that I wagered would be lightly traveled compared to the obnoxious Hwy 52 that my car and I trek twice a day M-F. Hwy 1 has nice rolling hills and plenty of gorgeous sights to feed the mind.
At mile 13, my lone water bottle was dry. Snow chunks were heavenly, but left me spitting gravel out for the remainder of the journey. That and it was cooling my core temperature down to the point of constant shiver. To keep my mind off of the cold, I began to sing. The lonesome highway met County Rd 30 and East I went. Singing Janes Addiction - "Jane Says". I sang the whole song several times, as it could quite possibly be the one song recorded that makes me wildly melancholic and giggly happy in a simultaneous dance.
At one point, I looked up at the full, beautiful and huge moon and thought that it was pretty close to falling right on my head it was so close. Like it was swooping down to touch me and give me something I hadn't felt for miles. Warmth. I sang to the moon this line "Jane says, I'm done with Sergio. He treats me like rag doll." 3 things happened right then and there. One: I knew that in my personal life, I had to shed unhealthy relationships. Two: I knew my decision to purchase the Volpe was the right one. And three: my bike now had a name. Sergio.
I laughed and talked to Sergio a little as we rode along in the peace that darkness can bring. After 2 hours+ on the road and several stops for ice chips and 1 s.o.s call to my son to fetch me in the next town, I saw the glow of my ending point for the night.
Upon entering the Chatfield city limits, I sounded my bell for a crowd of two - me and Serg. My heart sang. But my mouth was dry. I made a beeline for the liquor store, owned by a very cool fella named Patrick, because I knew he had a cooler with bottled water for sale. I downed the water as I hopped around to get the blood back in my cold body. I stretched and hopped and told Patrick and his crew my latest adventure and how I got to the store. It's always fun to see peoples' eyes get big in disbelief when you tell them you just rode in from another town or you plan to bike from town to town on any given day. I think we could all live that way. I WANT to live that way.
An hour later, my 2 sons arrive to pick up their cold and giddy mama. They listened to me retell the tale that I would later repeat countless times at work the next Monday. We drove home where a hot shower made me warm again.
Ironically, I still couldn't sleep. I kept pedaling the hills in my half-asleep dreams. It would be another night before my body finally succumbed to slumber.
Later, I tried to explain to my dad, a long time tree-trimmer by trade, to ponder the difference between a cheaply made chainsaw and a model that you spend far more money for because you knew that it will handle the demands you make on it and it will weather all sorts conundrums. He looked right through me.
They always looks right through you...