I’m a biker!

Specialized Expedition Sport with wicker saddlebags / funkyjunkinteriors
When I got my hair done at Jolene’s, we were chatting about workouts. I had started Zumba before our vacation, but was having some issues with it, health wise.

And that’s when Jolene piped up with, “Do you have a bike?”

Ha. Yeah. I sure did. It was a garage sale special from years ago, and currently, the seat consists of one rusty spring sticking up. No wonder I never wanted to use it. 🙂

But she got me thinking. I’ve wanted a new one to ‘fit me’ for some time. So after my hair appt, I set out for a dedicated bike shop.

(Jack’s in Chilliwack served me right! / not a sponsored post)

Just to look.

(insert laughter here… remember how I just ‘looked’ at cats?)

Specialized Expedition Sport with wicker saddlebags / funkyjunkinteriors
My eyes fell on a pretty aqua cruiser. Ohhhh, they were nice! But after I tried it, I questioned if just pretty would cut it. So I tried out others. Many of them.

I quickly found a good fitting bike is like choosing the right shoes. Everything has to fit, or you won’t use it. So I had the sales guy tweak the handle bars, the seat, the whatevers, with each bike I tried out. Yep, I was ‘that’ customer.

But I also knew in my heart that if I found ‘the one’, I’d be bringing it home. Because I didn’t want to do all this twice!

I didn’t do endless price comparing with other places. To me, it was like buying a Mac. If you know what you want, you go to the right place, you pay the price, and get the good stuff. I’ve been to many places that sold bikes before, and there’s a reason I never came home with one.

I paid full price, which hit to just over $1k. (with all the accessories) That’s pretty big coin for me. But…

Specialized Expedition Sport with wicker saddlebags / funkyjunkinteriors

Oh my, guys…. a good fit is WORTH IT! This beauty fits me like a glove. I don’t feel like I’m hunched over some metal contraption you have to balance just so. I feel like I’m sitting up, coasting around in an arm chair made for me. It’s effortless!

It. Is. Perfect.

I ended up with a Specialized Expedition Sport. It’s a hybrid, which is a cross between a cruiser and mountain bike. Tall frame, 21 gears, suspension in the seat and front to help reduce impact.

Specialized Expedition Sport bike with LED light / funkyjunkinteriors
I also got fitted with a high powered LED light, front and back, fenders, good fitting helmut, and a rat trap (um.. pannier?!) with two basket styled saddlebags.

I wanted the front basket, but with this model, it would have sat too high, hindering view. Plus I was told you have more control if the weight is on the back.

I ended up falling hard for those dual wicker baskets, so I’m glad!
.

Quick tips on landing the perfect bike… for YOU!

1. Walk into a quality bike store, and ask for help.

2. Get each bike you try out custom fit to you. They can adjust handlebars, seats, so much.

3. Take each one for a short spin outdoors. You will be shocked at how differently they all feel and ride.

4. Try and take your mind off the price tag, and go for the fit. That’s the one standing thing that will keep you on that thing.

5. Get the accessories you need right away. Fenders, lock, baskets for carrying stuff, and good lights would be my very minimum. Even today’s helmets are effortless to use, many with magnetic closures. I wear mine all the time.

6. Park your bike in a super easy location that will entice you to get on it often! Mine is in my front entry. No lie.

7. Venture beyond places you’ve never been before. I discovered an entire network of new trails once I took that leap!

8. Prepare your family that you’ll be out more… because you WILL!
.

And little did I know just how much I’d be needing the bike very shortly…

Specialized Expedition Sport bike with fenders and front suspension / funkyjunkinteriors
My son, a friend and I head to the drive in one evening. Fab time as always! We went all out, with the canopy off the truck, with tons of soft stuff to sit on. 

But as we were heading home, the truck dashboard went black. Hmm… the light burnt out? No idea. No worries, I’d get it looked at the next day.

Well, once we got on the highway, we got flashed down by cars, so something was up. After figuring out I had no tail lights, we head down a side road with the hazards going. 

Sprinkler in a cornfield in the country / funkyjunkinteriors
Not a block from home, in our tiny itty bitty little town, I get pulled over by the police.

Fabulous.

I thankfully got just a ticket warning, but with a 5 day deadline. Yikes.

So I took the truck in the next day, with a quick fuse exchange. That’s it?! Done! Great!

Bike riding in the country with wicker saddlebags / funkyjunkinteriors

But not for long. The next night, we were in town in the dark, and BAM. No lights again.

The next day I made a call to get the truck in again. But this time it would have to stay. Meaning… I needed to leave it with them, not wait around for it like last time.

Ugh. x 2000000

Rusty milkcan mailbox / funkyjunkinteriors
If you are a one vehicle home as well, you know what a royal pain this is. I made some phone calls to see if someone could escort me all over the land to make this work.

When the neighbourhood didn’t answer, I knew what I had to do. But I gulped hard.

I could drop off the truck and ride my bike home… but it was a LONG way. LOOOONG. I am not an athlete. So this was a big deal.

I mean, I got the bike because all other exercise appears to be too difficult for my old injuries. And now I’d have to PUSH IT. While out of shape. 

Railroad tracks in the country / funkyjunkinteriors
I decided I needed to just go for it, reasoning I could stop on the way home and take pictures. 🙂

After dropping the truck off, I went next door to the store for some soup first… you know… before my long journey and all. 🙂 And that’s when I started chatting with a couple guys next to me. I asked them about some train bridge I heard of, that could cut my travel time in more than half.

And that’s when I learned the bridge was just down the road. 

And I also learned, that bridge came out on the other side at the end of MY road!

Oh my goodness…

This is kinda big news for me. This means, I am bike riding distance to the other side of the river where it’s all country. The area I grew up all my life. Think bike and camera… ohhhhh adventures, here we come!

Blue heron reserve trail and bridge / funkyjunkinteriors
But I was downright nervous. I had no idea when the train was due to come through. But the guys told me I’d be ‘just fine!’

Oh. And did I have a whistle on me to scare off wildlife I could meet?

Heh. No.

Nervous as all get out, I went looking for the bridge anyway. So glad I did. The trail took me through a heron reserve and so many gorgeous sitting points near the water’s edge, I nearly died!

But today was about getting home before it started pouring.

Or I got eaten by… raccoons? I’m pretty (not) certain that’s all that’s here…

And before the train came.

I think I aged 20 years today.

Train bridge over the river / funkyjunkinteriors
And then I found it! The bridge did have a tiny pedestrian area on it, but not big enough in my eyes!

So I hustled across.

As it started to rain. And rain some more. 

Train bridge over the river / funkyjunkinteriors
But the rain didn’t matter. I felt empowered!

Every time some hardship seems to swerve my way, something else always takes care of it and just betters the situation.

The bike has given me even more independence. And it’s like an all new world undiscovered, right on my front doorstep. For free.

I can’t wait to get back on that thing and check it all out!

Donna Williams the biker! Autocase helmut / funkyjunkinteriors.net
For… I’M A BIKER!

Donna Williams the biker! Autocase helmut / funkyjunkinteriors.net
That hopes it stops raining soon… 🙂

p.s. thanks Corinne, for driving me back to my truck during that downpour!

– – – – –

Do you bike?

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  1. I love biking! My husband and I enjoy riding the many rail to trails in Pa. If we travel out of state I always look to see if there is a bike trail close to where we are going. Enjoy your new bike!

  2. I enjoyed your adventure but would love to see pictures of the heron reserve and the pond. I love your new bike and especially the side saddle baskets. Very cute!

  3. I used to. I had an awesome mountain bike and I went out regularly with my employer at the time. We cut trails in a tract of land northeast of Toronto. Now it looks like a maze of highways so many people use it now. We averaged 30-40 klicks (that’s Canadian for Kilometers). She also had a tandem that was loads of fun too.
    I hadn’t been on a bike for several years until last weekend. We have folding 3-gears bikes for toodling around the cottage. It was fun to be back on two wheels. I missed the granny gear though. and now that I am a Granny I deserve a new bike!
    Yours is awesome. love, love the baskets. Enjoy.
    The only thing I don’t want to do again is change a flat out in the bush being eaten by mosquitos.
    thanks for letting me ride down memory lane.

      • Hi Donna,
        The granny gear is when your chain is on the smallest chain ring (the closest one to the bike of the 3 gears by the pedals) and the largest sprocket at the back (also closest to the bike). Its used for the last stretch going up hill. You crank like a hamster on a wheel and don’t go very fast but there is very little stress on your knees. Not sure where the name came from but I imagine it was something like “only a granny would need it”. There you have it bike anatomy 202!!

    • My husband does serious mountain biking and road rides. Of course you have to have a different bike for each. I have a hybrid as well. It’s not decked out as nice as your bike, but I do enjoy riding when I get a chance. We have two teen boys and they also ride – biker family. The end of June my husband and I took a trip while the boys were away at camp. We rented bikes to ride a local trail. I rode about 20 miles that day. It didn’t seem like it since we could stop along the way and enjoy the scenery. I look forward to another trip like that. Enjoy your bike. Best low impact exercise to lose weight.

  4. Love your new bike! I bike nearly everyday I can. It is great for burning calories and stress! Have fun and enjoy your new calorie burning hobby!

  5. Haven’t stopped by for a while, but so glad I did today! Such a timely post. Love your new bike-so glad you got all the bells and whistles. You won’t be sorry for that. And what a great adventure you had. I, too, live in the NW and have just purchased rain gear in which to ride my sexy, 6 gear, pretty bike to my job. One thing I lack: those panniers. Must have them! Googling right now. Blessings on your day!

  6. Oh yes! I have a mountain bike. I love biking…need to do more of it as it’s perfect exercise and easy on my knee.

  7. I started riding 3 years ago and absolutely love it! It’s now my favorite form of exercise. Something I actually look forward to doing. I’m still riding my garage sale special though. 🙁 Love it when roadblocks open up whole new adventures! ~Ann

    • Hi Ann!

      The main difference I’ve found from a garage sale special and one custom fit for you is, this one feels like no effort is made to ride. It’s hard to explain. But I don’t feel tired riding it. It’s like sitting in a good computer chair vs. a kitchen stool to get by.

      I’ve found it hugely worth the splurge!

  8. I rented a bicycle yesterday and rode part of the Centennial Trail in Coeur d’Alene, ID.
    Reminded me how much I love biking, which I havent done in too long.

    I was impressed with you going over that train bridge! Heart in mouth, scary.

    My cuz, who rides extensively and manages a bicycle shop in Chattenooga, TN, tells me that the correct term for those who ride bicycles is ‘bicyclists’…motorcycle riders are bikers. Good to know!

  9. You look good in that helmet. You made a wonderful decision when you “looked” at cats so this has to be a good decision too. I may even get my bike out and do a few spins.

    • Haha… yeah, call me ‘weak at the knees’ for most any enticement!

      That helmut is crazy cool…. it has a magnetic clasp thing. I’ve never put on a new helmut before… sure beats getting pinched in the chin with something not fitting right!

      • I love riding my bike. I try to go several times a week. Just a little info about your new helmet, though. The straps around your ears and chin need to be tight so that any impact (heaven forbid!) will not knock it off when you need it most. I read somewhere that you should only be able to fit 2 fingers between your strap and your neck/chin. If more than that fit, tighten it up! It’s easy enough to just get it how it’s supposed to be once, then just snap it on. Enjoy your new bike! It really is quite cool!

  10. At 62, with bad knees (one a replacement), back problems and arthritis, I am not about to attempt biking. I am glad you enjoy it so far and have found a lovely area to go through! It is good exercise. I rode a bike when I was a kid and then one time did a ride with my hubby for several miles and was so sore, I made him go back to get the car as was not going to bike ride back to the beginning of our trip!

    • Haha Rose! I can relate to that. Every other bike has made me feel ‘tired’. This one appears to be different. I really think it’s all how you sit. This has a very upright profile.

      I totally understand the pain part of exercise. It’s so hard to find the right activity when you don’t feel up to par. But I was determined to find a way around it…

  11. Donna, love your sense of humor during all this turmoil but you preservered and did just fine. I have always wanted a bike and now that we actually live in a “real” neighborhood again I’m going to be hinting to the Mr. that it would make the perfect Christmas gift although i could really use it right now (September ) . A lot of time left before the rains hit (well maybe not ), i keep forgetting I’m not in California any more, lol. Here in Oregon it rains sooner and ALOT more often. Well enjoy your new found love, just think of all the new friends you’ll meet and the great pics you’ll take and all that great exercise you’ll get. Lucky you………maybe by Christmas I’ll be lucky too ( : Happy Biking !

    • Diena, I’m on the same coast as you, so I totally relate! The rain has already started in BC. A little too soon for my liking!

      I vote to get your present early so you get some use out of it.

      p.s. I often buy what I need when I need it then say it’s for Christmas… haha

  12. awesome bike! I hope you bought a good lock for it too…after my son had his new bike taken right out of our garage one spring day(it was a c’mas gift) I don’t trust ANYBODY!

  13. Love the bike! I cracked up when you said it was like buying a Mac because I TOTALLY agree with that. Only Mac newbies “shop” for a Mac. I have heard that buying a Harley Davidson is much the same thing. I’ll pass on that.

    Be careful and enjoy!!

  14. Choice ride, Donna! If I had a bike that awesome, I’d be making excuses to bike everywhere! I’m glad you did this for yourself…it sounds like it’s going to open a whole new world for you…and I hope we will benefit by getting to see lots of amazing pix like the ones featured here! These lovely pix remind me of my childhood when we lived way out in the boonies with woods all around us…that was a perfect area to go biking in…we’d sometimes spend the entire day just doing that. I like your helmet, too, and you look fab in it…it’s good to see you smile! Enjoy! 🙂

  15. What a find!
    I would have been scared of the train coming, too. lol
    But then I remembered that you can hear it coming WAY before it gets there. (We have a train nearby.)

    When I was a teen I biked EVERYWHERE on my ten speed! I had a paper route. The mall was 3.5 miles from my house (we went just about every Saturday) and my friend lived in the next town 3.6 miles away. Man I was in shape! LOL

    My daughter and I got bikes a couple of years ago…not the “good” kind you have…all fitted to our bodies and whatnot. We got beach cruisers from Walmart and we do fine cruising around the neighborhood. Hers is mint and white and mine is yellow and pink (they had no purple). I can tell mine isn’t the best “fit”. Ya know what I mean? But it will do, for now.

    You would think that living in what I call the “country burbs” (suburbs that still have a lot of small farms around) that we would have plenty of places to explore. Not the case. Our short street connects 2 parallel roads. One road has nowhere to bike. If we tried we would get run over by an 18 wheeler. hahaha So we stick to the other that has sidewalk on 1 side. We have to ride on sidewalk like the kids….drivers drive WAY too fast around here in NJ! The woods around us have no trails…just deer and other varmints. LOL! And they are pretty much OTHER people’s property.

    This summer we kept saying we are going to bike to the library, the post office, and the little corner store, but IT IS TOO HOT during the day! (I can’t do heat.) So we bike in the evening…but those places are closed then. 🙁

    But now that I see the new Family Dollar store is being built close by, we might just have to try biking over there after dinner!

    “Happy Trails” to you and your bike! 🙂

  16. I love this story! Thank you for sharing 🙂 My husband and 2 boys love going for bike rides, but I have a lot of back issues and am worried about buying a bike only to find it’s painful for me. Can I ask if you have back problems (herniated discs, etc.)? I would love to find something that is comfortable and fun to ride with my family!

    • Hi Heather! I do have some lower back issues, but it isn’t hernia related, just misalignment from previous accidents. I found the bike didn’t affect it at all, but then again I’m in good condition right now. 🙂

      It may be an idea to borrow another’s bike for abit to ensure you can do it before spending the $. But I will say this. I hopped on my son’s bike to adjust a few things on it and it was dreadful in comparison to mine. It makes SUCH a difference on a bike that is right for you.

      I personally don’t see this putting stress on a back. You’ll feel it in your knees though, but my back was fine.

      I hope this is the answer for you too!

  17. I love it when the universe comes together to provide just what you need at the right moment. Your bike is fabulous and those baskets are awesome! Congratulations and enjoy your new adventures!

  18. I was reading and as I read I realized it was a bicycle and not a motorcycle Ha! (I ride motorcycles). But I just love your bicycle too! Those saddlebags are soooo darn cute, I want to put them on my scooter! Cute post and I enjoy reading here.

  19. OK…. a raccoon won’t eat you, just my ducks and chickens, and they are afraid of bike helmets anyway. What I really need to know is how does that seat feel on the rear end? I need a new bike seat, because like you said if it doesn’t fit good you won’t use it. Mine is as hard as a rock, the seat unfortunately not my rear end. So tell me true, how is it and if you love it find out the brand and pass it along to me. My fat hiney thanks you.

    • Haha! Well, it’s ok. It’s the one that came with the bike. But I’ll admit I’ve been considering an upgrade myself. You can get gel seat covers that you just slip over an existing seat. They weren’t too bad! I’ll have to dig mine out and try it… I’ll let you know. Thanks for the idea!

  20. First I bought one for my wife, then I realise I was the one riding it and I bought a 2nd one. You must try and feel it! Enjoy