This one definitely goes into the “expect it when you least expect it” category.
As you may remember, I’ve been looking for another bike for quite a while. My faithful Jamis Durango which predates my kids has finally gotten to the end of its life. It was a total workhorse, but it has really taken a beating from my riding, which includes hauling a Trail-A-Bike and going out in all kinds of weather.
Our move this year from Bozeman to Kalispell hit us hard financially, and while we’re OK, we’re still finding our footing. It just doesn’t feel right to be dropping several hundred (or thousand) dollars on a dream bike. But I really need a tough, attractive commuter bike. What to do?
I did my usual. I ignored the problem until I actually had to do something about it. I am the queen of second-guessing and procrastination, so I hemmed and hawed and window shopped online, fantasizing over what I wanted: a sexy mixte with backbone.
I walked into a local used sporting goods store a few weeks ago and about fell over. Hanging on the wall was an old Gary Fisher hardtail mountain bike, but in a step-through version. It has 21 gears to help me handle local hills. The frame is beefy, but not as cumbersome as the Jamis. I’m not thrilled with the grip shift system, but that’s a fairly easy fix. And it fits far better than the Jamis.
Of course, I didn’t just buy it on the spot. I had to obsess over whether or not I really needed a bike besides my Felt road bike. I can’t ride on skinny tires through slush and snow, so of course, I needed something more rugged. But should I? Was it cheap enough? Was it junk or a good deal?
Yes. I got it.
I have another purple bike.
I got to take it out for a road ride a few weeks ago with my husband leading on his cyclocross bike. I expected to be dropped quickly, but this bike was surprisingly nimble and fun to ride. It was a thrill to ride more aggressively, rolling over potholes and low curbs, which would have made me very nervous on my road bike.
A few days later, I took the bike out on some trails at Herron Park, an incredible jewel in Kalispell. After a tentative first loop on mainly uphill paths freshly covered with snow, I found a horse trail.
It was so much fun.
As I bumped along, taking the blind turns, dodging rocks, and making quick decisions about balance and braking, I discovered that I was in heaven. I’m not an adrenalin junkie, so this is still a bit of a shock to me. My daily life with the kids requires a lot of adapting on the fly as I get interrupted a million times an hour, so I tend to go for exercise that flows. No split-second timing, nothing jerky.
Rolling downhill on that trail, I distinctly remember thinking, “I shouldn’t be loving this. Why does this feel so perfect?”
I quit analyzing the ride and just took it, loving the fact that I have another way to help me get in the bike love all year long.
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