Roger here --
Inflatable kayak - check! Portable gas grill - check! Portable hammock - check! GPS - check! Handheld GPS for geocaching - check! Snorkle equipment - check! Camera to take blog pics - check! Hiking belts - check! Decent hiking shoes - check! Big Bobber floating cooler - check! Disposal of Big Bobber sinking cooler - check! Comfortable outdoor lounge chairs - check! Unbreakable acrylic wine glasses - check! Looks like we have all the toys that we need. Oh wait, we don't have bicycles.
Over the last 19 months of full-timing, Dianne and I have frequently repeated snippets of the following conversation:
Roger says: "It would be great to have bicycles to ride around the campgrounds and to tool down the frequent bike paths that we have seen."
Dianne says: "I am frightened of riding bicycles because I am too far off the ground."
Roger says: "We really can't stand the extra weight on the back of the motor home, but we could figure out how to mount them on the car."
Dianne says: "Remember when I ran the guy down on the rental bike in the Everglades because I tried to use my feet to stop instead of the brake, and was too far off the ground."
Roger says: "We could use a bike to transport items from the camp stores to the campsite, like wood and ice."
Dianne says: "Remember the time with Chuck & Cindy in Florida when I fell off a bike because I was going too slow and lost my balance and was too far off the ground?"
Roger: "There are miles and miles of bike paths adjacent to our new RV lot in South Texas; what good exercise!"
Dianne: "Remember the bikes we rented on our honeymoon on Martha's Vineyard and how hard they were to pedal into the wind, and how tired I was, and how we stopped early, and how scared I was because I was too far off the ground."
Roger: "We could also ride them at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park which is right next to our RV lot. We had fun doing this last winter on the bikes that we borrowed and there was not any car traffic."
Dianne: "I still have a bump on my knee from the Everglades fiasco, all because I was too far off the ground."
Roger: "Bikes are kind of expensive, but since we are selling a few more items from the little house, we could use part of the money to buy a couple of bikes."
Dianne: "I don't like using hand brakes when I am so far off the ground."
Roger: "Remember Linda's Townie bike at the RV Dreams rally in South Carolina? It was low to the ground, and had that flat-foot technology, placing the pedals forward from the seat? Remember how much Linda liked it?"
Dianne, "Yeah, I did like that bike. I want a yellow one, 24 inch (closer to the ground), with a yellow flower."
I jumped at the chink in Dianne's armor. We found a bicycle shop (Motion Cycling & Fitness) in Fishers, IN that specializes in Townie bikes, and hopped in the car to check them out. I really didn't think that they would carry 24 inch bikes, let alone yellow ones. However, as soon as we entered the shop, Dianne walked straight to the exact bike that she described. It was the only 24-inch bike in stock, AND it was pale yellow. (Dianne here: The actual color is "vanilla.")
She took a test drive in the back parking lot and felt safe. She could touch the ground from her seat. (We still need to work on getting her comfortable with the hand brakes.) It was meant to be.
I also found a silver men's bike (matches my changing hair color), also a Townie, that I really liked.
I talked with the owner about mounting systems for our Toyota Matrix. He had them in stock, and helped me mount it to the car. (I thought I would have to install a hitch, but this was really simple and is easily removable.)
As we were puchasing the bikes, we discovered that the owner of the shop was a former student in the junior high school where I was the principal. It is always fun for me to see former students that I remembered as being 13 years old who have grown up to be successful adults. He remembered me and I remembered him, as well as his sister and his mom and his dad. We had a good time talking about the school, the teachers, and old times. It was a good -- albeit expensive -- day.
Dianne topped off the purchase by finding a yellow flower to put on her handle bar.
When we got back to the motor home, we both took short test drives around the neighborhood on the last of the retirement toys.