I got myself a new toy.
I had been riding the same bike for the past twenty-seven years. It’s a child-sized (24 inch) mountain bike that I got for Christmas when I was ten (maybe eleven?). It’s been a great bike but is a bit small for me. Also, it’s a “boys bike” which means it has the bar across instead of being a step-through. This has been problematic with Dinah’s toddler seat behind my seat on the bike, because I can’t swing my leg over the back of the seat to get on. So I have to try and hike my knee up to my chin to lift my foot over the bar. The biggest problem, though, has been having to lean forward to hold the mountain-bike style handlebars. I have an injury in my right shoulder and can hold my arm forward like that for about one or two minutes before my entire hand goes numb and loses both blood flow and sensation. Which, obviously, is problematic.
I’d started looking at cruiser-style bikes more than a year ago, specifically for the way the handlebars reach out to the rider in such a way that I wouldn’t have to pull that right shoulder forward. Also, they’re pretty. I knew I wanted a step-through style that I’ll still be able to get on and off of when I’m in my sixties (because apparently 25+ years is an expected timeframe for me to keep a bike). And I knew I wanted gears to make it easier to go up and down hills and pull a bike trailer with a toddler in it. Turns out, there are actually very few bikes on the market that meet all three of those criteria. And ever since the pandemic hit a year ago, there are even fewer bikes in stock anywhere. I’d had my eye on a Panama Jack Huffy since last March that I’m beginning to suspect will not ever be coming back in stock anywhere.
So I called up a local bike shop and, lo and behold, they had this French blue beauty in stock and just waiting for me! I had them add a basket and a pretty bell I picked out and it is the most perfect bike ever. It rides like an absolute dream. The kids and I went on a two-and-a-half mile bike ride the day I got it and it was so incredibly easy and comfortable to ride, even pulling the trailer with Dinah in it behind me. It cost me basically half my first paycheck from my new job, but it’s totally worth it.