Late In the Season

This time of year, it gets tricky trying to plan fun stuff outdoors on the weekends.  It gets tougher after you went out and bought those end-of-season closeout items that you really want a chance to use before fall gives way to winter.

Michelle had her eye on a bike at Target (a pink one, of course) all summer.  She had a plan for saving and using a series of discounts to purchase it.  She has fantastic fiscal discipline– if I had seen this bike that I knew I wanted, I would’ve picked it up the first time I had enough cash in the bank to do it.  But she stayed the course, and wound up getting exactly what she wanted for about 50-60% of its retail price.  Not bad at all.

We had a chance to bike together here in town for the first time early last week.  We made a pleasant discovery: the Oak Leaf Trail (I’m pretty sure that’s the name of it) connects our respective residences quite conveniently (Michelle lives about a block and a half from a point where she can enter the trail, and I live across the street from one).  And it’s a straight, paved, easy-to-pedal route.  I didn’t realize there was a place in Milwaukee where you could go to see this many trees.  It’s a nice change of scenery.

Our first day on the path, and literally about 30 seconds after we realized we were across the street from my apartment, my bike kind of fell apart.  I’m not really hip to bike-parts lingo, but the rear… cogs (??) I guess you would call them, just about fell off the bike and made it impossible for the chain to stay on very long, or for the bike to stay in one gear during that brief time.  It was lucky that we were so close to my house when this happened.  We went back to Michelle’s on the trail, her riding, and me walking.  It was the first time I walked anywhere with her and wasn’t once reminded that I was walking too fast…

So anyway, since I hadn’t bought a NEW bike since 7th grade (the last couple that I had were free or purchased at minimal cost at a police auction), and since I didn’t care to go to the trouble of fixing the old one, I decided I would go out and get one.  Y’know, immediately.  Because that’s how I roll.

Last Wednesday night, then, Michelle endured the bike shopping trip with me.  I wanted to spend no more than $150, and after visiting Target and Wal-Mart, I ended up with this Schwinn mountain bike.  It took a combined 2 hours of standing in the aisles of each store staring at bicycles before I reached this conclusion, and I ended up about $10 over budget, but I think it’s going to work out.

We really wanted to get out and ride more of that trail this weekend.  The hurricane and it’s related precipitation pattern has not cooperated, though.  We were both literally on our bikes pedaling toward a meeting in the middle last night around 6:45 when we thought better of it– for the benefit of our appearance at dinner, and the prospect of rain later in the evening…

I’m sure there will still be a few days of nice weather to get out there, though.  After that, we’re also all set to start again in the spring!

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