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Left behind in the world of bicycles

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, whenwork becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, justmount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, withoutthought on anything but the ride you are taking. –Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

That’s a nice quote from Sir Doyle, but it’s baloney.

I recently “inherited” a bicycle. A friend sold her house andwas getting rid of some things, so I took a bicycle off herhands.

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

As a youngster, my bicycle was my pride and joy. I must havespent hours upon hours riding up and down the road in front of ourhouse or the streets of Duck Hill.

Today, I might just as well have the space shuttle parked undermy carport.

Bicycles have advanced. My ability to operate mechanical thingshas not.

This bicycle’s got all kinds of gears that I know nothing about.I never learned to drive a standard shift automobile, and now itseems I can say the same about this two-wheeled mode oftransportation.

There are a few things I have learned from this piece ofmachinery:

* Be careful with those front-wheel hand brakes. Grip that thingtoo tightly at the wrong time and you’ll go flying over thehandlebars. (Ahh, not that it’s actually happened to me … butI’ve heard about it.)

* Bicycle seats aren’t what they used to be. Once big andcushiony, I would now equate sitting on one with straddling andsitting on a two-by-four. The results? Well, let’s just say I wrotethis column while standing up.

* My rear end is much, much more than it used to be, but thatdoes not help with the aforementioned seat problem and, I suspect,just makes it worse.

* My knees aren’t what they used to be, either. Like the Tin Manfrom “The Wizard of Oz,” I need help — maybe somebody to followclosely with a can of oil, lots of Ben Gay and aspirin.

I am serious about biking, though, so I contacted another friend– a bicycle “expert.” This friend once worked at a bike shop,which led to him making an investment in an expensive bicycle,which led to a broken collarbone.

Anyway, the expert checked out the bike and pronounced it fit toride.

“Should I wear a helmet?” I asked.

Yes.

And knee pads.

Elbow pads wouldn’t hurt, and neither would gloves.

And don’t forget to take your cell phone in case you need tocall somebody.

Gee, maybe what I really need are training wheels.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to news@dailyleader.com.