Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2010

Although I make efforts to keep busy and do things, my mind is preoccupied when this time of year comes by. The weather is so beautiful, but the thoughts and memories associated with what happened to us on a bright and sunny Memorial Day in 2010... that part is so very hard.

We were on a group cycling ride, Dave and I were riding our tandem, enjoying the company of friends. The day seemed absolutely pristine - with warm sunshine and cool springtime breezes. One of our cyclist friends was even singing as we pedaled along: Karen Carpenter's Top of the World song. It was a picture-perfect day -- until we reached approximately the 70 mile point of our ride.

We had set out that morning  to do 100 miles. It was in preparation for us personally, to get ready for The Flattest Century ride put on by the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen every September. That would have been my first century ride.

My cell phone rang at the 70 mile point. I answered it because Dave does the steering in the front of the bicycle, so I can usually talk briefly-enough to let the caller know that we are out riding. But this call was different. It was my 19-year-old daughter, and she was telling me of a motorcycle accident -- news that reached her through a series of coincidences -- coincidences unusual enough to have made me a believer in a superior plan that is set forth for each of us. Most people just call it "fate".

The news I received had us immediately divert off route, departing from our group ride -- as we were at that moment in time, actually nearer to the hospital than we were to our van. That in itself was too much of an unusual coincidence.

As we pedaled frantically to reach the hospital, we did not realize the seriousness of the accident my son was involved in. I imagined, but did not know for sure what the next few moments, or hours, or days, and months ahead of us would be like... And how nothing would ever, ever be the same.

On this Memorial Day I recall that day in 2010. I will forever cherish the years I was given to be Geoff's Mom. I was so proud of the man he became.

I will continue to ride for my love of being on two wheels, because my son wouldn't have wanted me to live on the rest of my days not really making the most of my days -- just as Geoff always loved the feeling of being on two wheels ~ although he preferred the motorized kind.

Remembering my first-born son, Geoff. A son, a husband, a brother, and a friend to so many. He was a skilled carpenter and a talented mechanic. His work reflected his passion for perfection, always doing things "the right way." He was a member of The CT National Guard. He was also a father. But he was never able to meet his baby son, who is named after him, and who looks so much like his Daddy. His wife was expecting when his accident happened. His child is a bright star amidst the darkness. This little life has brought us a glimmer of hope.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tandem Test Ride

We took a ride to New Hampshire over the weekend to follow a dream. It's a dream of a new tandem... in spite of the fact that we don't yet have enough money to buy one.

We met up with a really nice couple about our age who own two Co-Motion bicycles. They had taken two touring vacations with their sons in recent years, with the Mom serving as Captain on one bicycle, and the Dad on the other. (One very cool thing to note is that now that they are again riding with each other, rather than each of them pairing with a son, the mom has become the Captain of their couple team! We have yet to meet another couple where the female takes the lead ~ Yay to her!!) They had quite an adventure flying their two tandems to Montana and cycling with their sons.

Now that their boys are growing older, they no longer have a desire to ride bicycles with Mom and Dad, so the couple has one of their tandems up for sale.

The decor in their home reflects their great affection for all kinds of cycling -- in fact, this couple had met through a bike club (20 years ago!) and incorporated a tandem bicycle ride into their wedding day, just like we did for our wedding!! There were many mementoes on display around the house and photos of their family adventure trips on display in the hallways. They also have a bathroom complete with bicycle wallpaper and towels, Bicycle Ride Framed Wall Art and a whole cycling theme going on with the decor, including a Park Tool toilet paper holder!

We enjoyed a 25 mile tandem test ride with the Dad, and Dave and I really enjoyed the feel of the Co-Motion. It's lighter and more responsive compared to our Burley. Who knows... with keeping a careful rein on our finances, we could possibly turn out to be smiling proud owners of one pretty blue tandem!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dreaming of a New Bicycle Built for Two!

I have a new job! That's why I haven't been posting updates so frequently in recent weeks. I've been happily busy.

With the new job has come an adjustment period. New responsibilities. A new schedule. Juggling parental obligations. More demands on my time... but my work is interesting and challenging, and I love it!

Thankfully, with the change of seasons and daylight savings time, David and I have been able to walk together early in the mornings and sometimes squeeze in a quick tandem ride after the workday. The exercise absolutely makes a positive difference in my focus and energy level. And although I am getting less sleep, I am sleeping well.

The financial security of having a job means a regular income we can depend upon, and it has given us hope that we might soon be able to afford a new -- well, more likely, a used... tandem bicycle! We've been dreaming of trading-up for well over a year, and previously, we just couldn't justify the expense.

These bicycles built for two are not inexpensive. A pre-owned tandem bicycle in decent shape will start out at least $1500.

Our Burley Duet

Our current tandem is a 10 year old red Burley Duet. Burley doesn't make tandems anymore. The company is most popular now for their child bicycle trailers. Our bike has been good to us. But at 48 pounds loaded with four filled water bottles, we would like something newer and lighter ~ Although, I have told David that I think it would be a lot cheaper for us to loose 10 pounds vs. buying a lighter bicycle!

We've been browsing through the online classifieds and telling our cyclist friends of our desire for something newer, just in case anyone has a deal for us on a well cared for, not-too-old, previously loved tandem in fantastic condition. As we search out avenues of possibilities in pursuit of a tandem dream, I'll be sure to post about our progress.

Our current tandem would offer good stability and solid structure for a couple just starting out cycling together. We'll be wanting to sell it soon, as the possibility of us buying an upgrade comes closer to reality.