I didn’t think buying a bike would be so difficult! first of all – nearly all the bike shops in Kamloops were closed. I love the outdoors, it didn’t occur to me that many people would think it odd to consider cycling in December in northern BC. They’re missing out. I suppose that’s not unusual for this time of year – but the thing is – this year? There was no snow!
I was looking at comfort bikes. They’re not meant for any fancy riding, they’re sturdy and reliable and you sit more upright on them. When I searched online it seemed like “Canadian Tire” was the place to go for them.
Joel and I battled the crowds on Boxing day to head up there. There were only about five bikes on display – and those were hanging from the ceiling. heh. There was a poster there that indicated that they did, in fact, sell the comfort bikes. (There was even a pink one). Joel went and asked a sales associate for assistance and she said they had bikes in stock but they were upstairs and no one had time to put them together.
Fair enough, it was boxing day. So – I got the manager to come and speak to me and asked him how it would work – should I do a bit of research and then phone ahead and they’ll put a bike together. No. His answer was, “we don’t have a bike assembler so we can’t put any together.” I said “Oh, so you’re basically not selling bikes then?” and his answer really got me. “Oh no, I’ll sell it to you but it will be in a box and you’ll have to assemble it.” WHAT? I was so bewildered I didn’t even get bitchy about it, but seriously? I mean, a. how can I test it? ride around on the box upstairs? and b. if it’s so easy to assemble why is it that they need a special bike assembler.
So, that being a bust, we moved on. The issue was that there were no other stores open.
A few days later we found a huge store on the north shore. On the day we picked it wasn’t open. In fact, it wasn’t open for days. Who does that? (Okay so it’s winter but still)
I wanted to give up – but Joel suggested we try the Sports bike store. I was kind of scared to go there because generally I’ve had bad reactions from staff people at “sports” oriented places. It’s funny, you’d think that people would be more helpful when they see someone really overweight who wants to get active – ANYWAY. Joel made me go.
So we went to Spoke ‘N Motion. They did, in fact, have comfort bikes and a fellow named Ryan came to help us. I blurted out (probably because I was terrified) that I wanted to basically use the bike to ride around in circles and lose weight. Great choice of words. But he just went with it and said “That’s so cool! Let’s get you movin'” What a GREAT response!!!
He was very patient and we finally got looking at a Trek Navigator.
It’s very comfortable! The seat is wide, the handle bars are adjustable up and down and back and forth so it can be in exactly the right place.It’s only a 16.5 inch frame so I can step over it to get on and when I stop it’s easy for me to put both feet down.
Then came the moment I’d been dreading. Ryan – oh you sweet innocent man you – suggested we take the bike outside and that I try it. He carried the bike outside and then suddenly had to disappear back inside for a sweater.
Poor Joel was trying to talk to me and I suddenly just thought – oh SCREW it and got on the bike and took off. You see, there was a hill (slight incline according to Joel) in the parking lot and I thought – I am SO not going to fall off the damn bike the first time I ride it – so I sped up really fast and zoomed over the hill. Then I hit the wrong brake and the bike seat hit me in the back. Learning curve.
But it was good. I had not forgotten how to ride. I could get on and off it without falling even if it’s a bit wobbly standing on one knee. So far so good.
Back inside – Joel tried to get me to buy a snowboarding helmet. Kind of like this one.
Ryan saved me and told Joel that I probably didn’t need something like that (while shaking his head discreetly) AHA. for a while? Joel just kept finding more helmets for me to try. I’m not sure why it was amusing to him but the brighter the color of the helmet – the more he laughed. LOL – it was quite amusing. So – no birds or bright colors and crazy motorcycle looking helmets for me. I got a very simple one in the end.
It’s quite comfortable compared to the last one I had. And there will be no laughing over the fact that it’s an “Iron Man” helmet. It’s to give me confidence. We all need inspiration.
I amuse myself.
Anyway. It took all three of us to fit the bike in the back of the Subaru (thank GOD we got that car). And off we went. Joel drove over to the North Shore park so I could ride on a flat surface!! I was a bit nervous but we got it all put back together and I putzed around on it. Then while Joel was talking to me I took off again. The funniest thing happened, Joel was running along beside me trying to take a video – and then he finally stopped when I zoomed off and these two lovely older ladies cheered at me and one of them said “and AWAY she goes”. Looking back it must have been an odd sight.
The only problem was that the adjustable seat kept sliding back down – that made it a little uncomfortable to ride. Ryan had said though, that we could take the bike back in and they would put on a more permanent one. So we got back in the car. (There was a lot of driving involved in this biking)
They swapped out the seat post right away. I took a moment to go in and tell the manager how great it was to be so welcomed and then it was time for me to go to work!
That first bike ride I was barely able to make it around McArthur Island park. These days we often ride close to 14 km and I’ve lost over 50 lbs.
The world looks different from my bike. I’m unable to walk far at all these days but I can ride like the wind. If you’re got knee problems, even severe ones like me – try a bike.