Why I Pedal WordPress Bloggers: My Life in Bikes


My first bike was red—a tricycle whose pedals I couldn’t reach.

Same bike a few years later. Younger sister Susan (left) and Kathy (right).

As a slightly older child, I graduated from training wheels to a purple-perfect two-wheeler.  It sported a plastic banana seat that sparkled in the sunshine.  I loved it so much, I sometimes still rode it even as a teenager.

My bike looked a lot like this one. (Image via loveshakbaby.com)

Then came the bikeless years of college, graduate school, my work as a young professional.

But as an adult, I down-graded to stationary versions of the bicycle.  These weren’t purple.  Their seats didn’t sparkle and blink in the noonday rays of indoor, air-conditioned rooms.  I was going nowhere.

Fast.

There’s no guessing how many of those bikes I owned, how many ultimately broke—how many wore out against the endless pedaling toward some distant nowhere.  No place on a map is hard to get to.  They’re no coordinates for standing still.

Maybe I was goalless.  Maybe I lacked ambition.  Maybe the endless pedaling against bipolar disorder kept me immobile.

But when I met Sara I had an actual bike again, one I’d ridden with my nephew in a Fourth of July Parade.

I pedaled and pulled. Sammy sat.

I’d cycled the streets of the downtown neighborhood where I lived.

But I wanted Sara to ride with me.  In fact, I’d been trying for 6 years to get Sara on a bike.

I’d begged and whined, pleaded and implored.  But asking and then insisting fell on deaf-to-the-joys-of-biking ears.

The weirdest part of this, however, is that Sara used to cycle seriously—sometimes averaging 100 miles-a-day on cross-country bike tours.

Sara (far left) as a young college student–

So, it seemed reasonable that Sara and I would bike together.

It could have been our motorbike accident in Thailand that turned her off—or maybe my failed efforts to ride a bike in Vietnam.

Making my bike purchase in Hanoi (Fall 2009)–

But this past week’s visit with yet another WordPress blogger seems to have turned things around—in a literal sense.

When I “met” cyclist-writer Chattermaster, it was again “love at first blog,” as my buddy Miranda has said of our blogosphere-turned-real-world friendship.  Chattermaster spoke in an email about the joys of cycling.  She blogged about it, too.

She suggested in comments that Sara and I do some cycling with her.  I explained why that wasn’t possible—that Sara didn’t bike anymore—that Sara said cycling 60 pounds ago and biking now were two very different things—that the latter wasn’t possible.

Then my Lexington visit with WordPress bloggers Tori and Lisa a couple of weeks ago inspired Chattermaster and “Husband” to visit, as well, whether Sara was willing to cycle or not.

Kathy, Tori, Thomas, and Lisa–in our home on 4th Street–

Kathy (left), Chattermaster (center), and Sara (right) in our back yard. (Thanks to the Chatter Blog for this image.)

Sara and I had a blast chatting with that Master of Chatter and her “Husband.”  We ate lunch at Third Street Stuff in downtown Lexington and dinner at Cheapside Restaurant—a visit at our house in between.  We talked blogging.  Our new cycling friends  even came bearing gifts.

Kathy (right) with Chattermaster (center) and “Husband” (left), at 3rd Street Stuff–

Chatting at our house on 4th Street–

But even more importantly, these friends came carrying bikes.  Sure it took a tricycle to get Sara on the move again.  But, remember, I had started on a red trike, as well—way back then when I was little, with legs too short to reach the pedals.

Sara on Chattermaster’s recumbent trike–

Kathy trying out trike–

But like legs, people grow.  They stretch.  They reach.  They ride again.

So Saturday, Sara and I got bikes once more—one borrowed, one bought used.  (Thanks to Nancy and Mindy.)

Kathy’s bike (left) and Sara’s (right)–

We took a spin around the block that evening, and Sara spent Sunday cleaning, shining, polishing our bicycle beauties.

So it seems somehow synchronistic, somehow perfect, that my push to meet WordPress blogging buddies in real life would involve our ultimate return to biking, as well. It’s all part of the same cycle—the spiral of special blogging has brought to me.

Plus, as many of you already know, Sara has been the ride of a lifetime.

What kind of bike did you own as a kid?  Do you still cycle, even as an adult?  What metaphor would best characterize your life?

104 thoughts on “Why I Pedal WordPress Bloggers: My Life in Bikes

  1. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great joy! What I wish everyone could see is how you, and Sara, looked when you rode that bike of Husbands. Your faces were total happiness. And happiness IS riding a bike. I’m very excited for both of you. And I hope this leads to that bike ride(s) we’ve been talking about.

    I absolutely adore the biking pictures. And I love your connection between your first red trike, and this last red trike that came in to your life.

    I can’t wait to hear about your bike riding adventures now!!!!

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    • The funny thing is that I didn’t even make the connection between the trikes while you were here and we were riding. Somehow writing this brought the whole thing together. I love the way writing does that.

      It was amazing having you visit, and we can’t thank you enough for bringing bikes back into our lives. I truly didn’t think it was possible. Hugs to you and Husband, my friend!

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  2. Loved the old photos of you and your siblings!

    I had a big wheel as a child. Then graduated to my fave banana seat bike. I lived on that bike for years. When I first met my husband, one of our major purchases were two mountain bikes. I hope you and Sara enjoy your future bike travels!

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    • Oh, thanks, Darla. My sisters and brother had big wheels, as well. I thought about mentioning them. And how great that you all bought mountain bikes to ride together. Do you still ride?

      Sara and I can’t wait to get pedaling!

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  3. Great post. I loved all the photos, especially the first one where you can’t reach the pedals, and the one of Sarah when she was young.

    Mark and I have bikes, but we haven’t ridden them recently. When our kids were young I used to take the two youngest on an 8-mile trail at a park. I pulled them in a little yellow cart made for that purpose. (so I know how that is).

    I hope to ride again soon, but I have to resolve a problem biking causes with my tailbone which was injured during two of the four births of our children.

    I saw someone on one of those trikes and thought I might like to give that a try. Did you ride it? What did you think?

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    • Oh, yes, Christine, I did ride. It was wonderful–really, really fun–all of the best that biking has to offer with non of the fear of falling. I suspect the seat on a trike might work better for you. You should try one–seriously! Then you and Mark can come down to Lexington and ride with us! Wouldn’t that be fun?

      Or, we can all meet somewhere near Cincinnati and ride. Chatter Master and Husband live just south of Columbus, so Cincinnati would be central–if the 6 of us were to ride together. Okay, I know I’m getting aheead of myself here. But it WOULD be FUN!

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  4. I came from a large family and my first bike was a the old school scooter. I used to run long distance, but my knees won’t allow that anymore. Now I bike to get the same connection with nature that you don’t get traveling in an enclosed vehicle. Also you can stop anywhere something strikes your fancy. Plus the wind in you face as you silently glide along makes you feel like a kid again. Bike on my friend.

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    • How great to hear from you, Husband! We totally loved your trike, and we can’t thank you enough for bringing bikes back into our lives. Thanks so, so, so much! Plus, just getting to meet you and hang out–CHATTING, of course–was great fun! Hope we do it again sometime soon and hope you’ll stop by my blog again soon! Can’t wait to check out your blip!

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  5. I wish ya`ll had gotten two of those huge trikes that I see certain grown ups riding. That would have been hilarious to see the two of you cruising through town, helmeted, on your trikes….

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  6. hey I am not going to touch that ending question with a pole! LOL!

    Sweet sweet blog! As the saying seems to go, if you wish your partner or loved ones to do something get someone else to inspire them!

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  7. Love the new bikes. Way to go for getting Sara peddling again.

    As a kid, I had a blue bike with a banana seat, much like yours. Now, I have a black Kronan, a Swedish bike first produced for the Swedish army during WWII. MTM is a collector of bikes and bike parts, and he has a BSA from the 1940’s and one of 300 one-of-a-kind Dave Moulton racing bikes.

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  8. When Sweet Cheeks and I got married – we bought used bikes…that was 33 years ago and we still own them. I am going to get back on mine if the doc says I can tomorrow. I miss riding bikes with my kids, too, although they were faster and certainly more daring that me on my granny bike…Hope you and Sara enjoy many rides together.

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    • Oh, I love it that you still own those bikes! Hope the doctor okays your riding again. It’s so fun to hear peoples bike stories, how couples purchase bikes when they get together. I think it was Darla who did the same thing. Too perfect.

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  9. My bike was pink and purple, and had “Awesome!” emblazoned on the sides.

    Love those recumbent bikes! I’d like one someday. We cycle when we can, too. Xander graduated to a two wheeler this summer, so we’ve been tearing up the neighborhood. Love this post!

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    • So happy to hear you enjoyed his one, Chrissy! You are, indeed, “AWESOME!” Aren’t those recumbent things a hoot? It’s hard to see them and not want one–maybe it brings back memories of our earliest bikes–our first and most primal bike experience–our first experience of wheeled mobility. Maybe that’s the appeal.

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  10. I recently (last year) got back on a bike, only to learn that my husband never really knew how to ride as a kid. He could do it ,but not well. And not willingly. Of course, I found this out AFTER I put him on a tandem with our daughter and he crashed into a bridge. Oh yeah. He still doesn’t admit it. (But he crashes at least once per ride. She learned how to ride herself very quickly after that. first incident. It was a trail-a-bike. She was fine and un-dumped because the front of the bike fell onto Scott who supported it long enough for me to jump off my bike, tell Sam not to move and swoop in to rescue Caroline.) Anyway, he’s getting better. And I bought myself a brand new bike last year. It’s purple. I love it.

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    • Oh, Lordy! Sara had not been willing to get on a bike either. And she rode seriously–considered herself a cyclist. Maybe that means she had standards for riding I could only imagine. Gosh, just thought of that. Maybe I’m an ignorant biker, forgetting where to find the kick stand.

      Glad to hear your husband’s skill has improved. I swear–purple is the perfect bike color, isn’t it? Well, I at least, love it. Great to hear from you, Jessie. Happy pedaling, my friend!

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  11. My first real bike was a yellow Schwin with a white basket that had plastic flowers on it. Graduated to a 10 speed on my 10th birthday. Didn’t ride for a LONG time. Got a new one when I moved to Cleveland 13 years ago. Don’t know if you know about the metro parks or the Tow Path that are around this area, but they are a wonderful resource for scenic bike trails. (http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Map.aspx) Got a trail-a-bike to pull my daughter when she was 4 (and I was newly divorced) We rode many miles together. I was pedaling and she was talking. Such great memories. This past weekend rode 22 miles on the Tow Path with my new husband’s boy scout troop. The weather was perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Something I haven’t done in a while! Need to keep it up. I guess cycle is a good metaphor for me as well. The happy memories I have tied to it when I am in a good place and the times it sits unused when I’m not — goes right along with the cycle of the bipolar.

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    • Oh, gosh, isn’t that true! I hadn’t even thought about the bipolar cycle as a connection to biking. Great insight!

      Do you still live in Cleveland? I have met so many bloggers from that area through blogging. And, no, I didn’t know about your bike trials. That’s really cool! I’m so happy to hear you have good cycling memories!

      By the way, do you have a blog? I never see one connected to your name. If you do, I’d love to read. Happy biking, my friend!

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      • Yes, still live in Cleveland. Don’t have a blog. I think I created a WordPress account so I could comment on blogs. I really have no idea how they work from the writing side : )

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      • I’m so happy you created an account to comment. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I love hearing from everyone, especially non-blogger, as you all offer an outside perspective some of us might lack. Ultimately, it’s important for bloggers to appeal to non-blogging audiences, as you represent most potential audiences. There’s more of you than there are of us!

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  12. What a great story!! I think you are really GREAT to have talked Sara back on to the bike — and the recumbent ones look so relaxing! My husband is a fanatic biker, which is why I don’t really ride anymore (have no interest in doing 60 miles at a stretch) … but I always loved biking in college and you’ve inspired me to get back on again! Yay!!!

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    • Well, it’s cool to have inspired you, as I know nothing about it. There’s nothing the enthusiasm born out of ignorance, is there? I’m so ignorant I don’t even know the kinds of things I don’t know. LOL

      Great to hear from you today, Betty! Hugs to you, my dear!

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    • Okay, D, we LOVE the idea, if you all want to do it. I don’t know if I can persuade Christine to participate. She’s my blogging friend–one that I’ve not yet met in person–who lives in Cincinatti. Sara said to tell you we can’t do more than maybe 20 miles or whatever distance a novice might be able to handle. We are going to the park today to break in our bikes. Maybe we coul all ourselves “PedalPress.”

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  13. I loved riding a ten speed 30-odd years ago when I was a student at (prepare to faint) Stanford, but when I moved back to SF before moving onto New York to finish my degree at NYU(seless), I quit riding. SF was just too hilly and NYC is too scary traffic-wise. I tried riding over here once but almost got flattened by a city bus. That really brought out the weenie in me.

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    • I knew you were very, very smart, dear V–so I’m not surprised you did Ivy League. The issue of traffic was the same thing that caused me so many problems in Hanoi. It was insane. It was more than insane. Interesting to know your cycling history–not to mention your educational one. May I ask what was useless about NYU? Do you mean useless in comparison to a place like Stanford?

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  14. I loved bike riding as a kid. My first bike was used. My grandfather brought it to me and my sister to share when I was twelve. I learned to ride it in one day. As a youth, I loved riding my bike, the freedom it gave me was thrilling to me. As an adult, well, you read how that went!

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    • Oh, Sista, I hope you will try it again. I hate to hear that you fell. Are you okay? You mentioned your ankle, so that concerns me. Sara and I are going to go out riding this afternoon. Hopefully there will be no crashes.

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      • I’m fine. Just a little worse for wear. My ankle, surprisingly, is stiff but painless today. My hips, however, are killing me. I’ll try again after I’ve lost some more weight and my ankle is totally healed. The doc said that could be 9 mos. to a year!

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      • I’m glad you’re okay. I was afraid there for a minute Sara and I were going to have to drive to Cleveland to tend to you! LOL Wonder what the hip pain is about–if it’s in both hips. Don’t remember if you hit them or not. Maybe just the pedaling motion? Whatever the situation. Hang in there!

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  15. I LOVED riding my bike as a kid (I started with the red tricycle, too), and for years when I was older (before I got my driver’s license), it was how I got around town. I actually haven’t been on a bike in about 16 years….. sometimes I think I would love it. Someday I’ll own a bike again!

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    • I’m a little nervous about trying this, but wanting to do it out-weighs my fear. I’ll let you know how my return to the bike goes. Someday sounds like good timing–whenever you think you are ready. Great to hear from you Holly!

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  16. I love this! You have shared a great story and it just so happens the timing for me is perfect! I haven’t “disclosed” our current location yet as I’m trying to work from my sketchy notes of the past couple months into what I hope will be entertaining posts of our travels, but we are now living in Huntington Beach, CA. I absolutely love it! The weather is fantastic and the beach is absolutely gorgeous!
    I’ve been doing a lot of walking (which I haven’t been doing for too many weeks now!) and I’m starting to feel better each day. But you would be amazed at the number of people biking everywhere! The beach bike cruisers are everywhere and I was thinking I’d love to have one. But on the other hand I was also thinking I’m probably too old and over-weight to get on one. So as you can see, this story was just the catalyst I needed to start looking for just the right one!
    Thank you for sharing such a great post and for the inspiration.

    P.S. I love your photos! Your home looks beautiful!

    Happy Monday 🙂

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    • We must have been commenting on one another’s blog at the at exactly the same time. Thanks for sharing where you are. It sounds gorgeous there. I totally LOVE the beach–really, really love it. I say, try the bike. I bet you’ll be fine. Sara and I are going out riding this afternoon. We’ll see how that goes! Glad to know you’re enjoying yourself–and like our house. Thank you so much!

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  17. When I was in Amsterdam the entire city seemed to be riding bikes. They ride not just for pleasure but to get from point A to B. The bike parking areas were completely jammed – I don’t know how you’d find your bike among that mess. 🙂
    Ever since my trip, I’ve been mulling over the idea of riding again. So nice to see you and Sara back on the bikes. Get a little bell or some rad iridescent streamers for your handlebars.

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    • Love the streamer idea. Didn’t even know one could buy those to add to a bike. I think it would be fun to ride in a city with so many other cyclists–ie. Amsterdam. I think I’d be afraid to ride in New York–too much traffic. Have you ever ridden a bike there?

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  18. What fun to read this biking tale. I am kinda resonating with Sara on this one. The last time I was on a bike–on Fort Myers Beach with my cycling parents–my rear end hurt for two days. I do admire folks who bike–and enjoyed reading this blog, but will usually choose two feet over two wheels. 🙂

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    • Sara and I went our riding this afternoon. Sara got winded pretty quickly, but I noticed the literal pain in the butt. I’ll have to ask her if the seat was hard on hers. How cool that your parents still bike. Maybe there are some seats designed to minimize that butt discomfort. Surely they exist–as long as they don’t reduce the pain from extremely agonizing to merely marinally agonizing. LOL

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  19. I had a red Schwinn Flying Star, which, looking back, was odd. My parents didn’t tend to have money for name brands, but somehow, my first bike was a really good one. I made modifications to it over the year, switching out the handle bars for the tall kind and switching out the seat with a banana seat. That bike took me everywhere and I’m sure I put miles and miles on those tires.

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    • Sounds like a great bike, Terri. Mine had the tall handle bars, as well. That was all the rage when we were kids, wasn’t it? Funny how not only style in fashion changes but what’s vogue inthings like bikes do to. Great to hear from you this evening, Terri!

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  20. Kathy, what a great post. I’m so glad you got Sara bike riding again. I love the photo of her on that low bike. Funny.
    Well, part of what I loved about Europe was not having to have a car. We walked everywhere. But a lot of people there just ride bikes. In fact, in Barcelona and in Vienna, we noticed that they have a system of bikes parked throughout the city. You subscribe to this service and are then entitled to pick up a bike anywhere, ride it to your next destination and place it one of the stations set up through the city. All the bikes are red and look pretty spiffy. But it’s only for residents (not tourists). In high school, I didn’t drive, but I’d ride my bike everywhere. It was great. Then I moved to Seattle and now San Diego. Both of these place have a ton of hills. I continued to ride in Seattle, but eventually gave up as the hills were getting to me. I miss it, though.

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    • So glad you enjoyed this post, Monica. I thought that recumbent bike was just plain cool–whomever was sitting on it. Hard to not look hip on that thing.

      I suspect it would be tought to bike on terrain that’s super hilly. I can’t imagine how folks ever manage to ride bikes in Haiti–so, so hilly! Hope you have a lovely evening, my friend.

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  21. I love all of the photos in this post. Each one tells a story. Happy Cycling to you and Sara! 🙂

    I never had a banana seat bike, but did want one. One of my first bikes was a unicycle. I wanted to be in the circus. I had stilts that my father made for me, too. No trapeze, though. I guess my parents figured all the swinging around I did on the uneven bars and the balance beam in gymnastics was more than enough dare devil stuff. Or all that they could handle, at any rate. I do, as you know, cycle now, but haven’t been out in a while. I should remedy that. As for metaphors for my life, I often think of hiking and mountain climbing.

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    • I never had a unicycle, myself, but one of our neighbors did when I was a kid. That thing was fun to ride–one I got the balance part figured out. I had totally forgotten about that. Thanks for the reminder, Robin!

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  22. Congrats on getting Sara on a bike again! 🙂 It’s been years since I’ve owned a bicycle – my thing is walking.

    Each time I read your posts with photos of your childhood, I’m amazed at how well documented your life has been. It’s inspired me to ask my mother for all the old negatives she has, so that I can scan them and see what photos were taken over the years.

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  23. Pingback: Why I Pedal WordPress Bloggers: My Life in Bikes « Best WordPress Theme

  24. You reminded me that I had stopped biking for years too. Then my husband drug me out. It was great! Biking made me feel like a kid again. I smile every time I go. It’s not to be under appreciated either. A back injury last fall made it hard for me to bike or run or any of the other physical things I love. I’m sitting in bed with a back flare up now thinking that it would be great to be pedaling. Oh well, I’ll get better in time and will get back out again!

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  25. I enjoyed this post a lot, Kathryn. I love the way you switch back and forth between biking and living life….really nice stuff. I’m finally catching up on reading your postings (only yours, others I’ve given up on catching up…and have deleted), while in the midst of a real bipolar low….lower than I knew low could go. Still paddling these waters…..but not nearing the shore. Maybe there’s some growth needed for me to become a better swimmer. Or biker. Take care of your precious self, my friend. xo Julia

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    • Oh, Julia, so sorry to hear you’ve not been feeling well. I HATE the lows! Keep at it, my friend. Hang in there and let me know if you need some floatation device to help. I can toss you a few cat food cans! LOL

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  26. I don’t think I could be married to a cyclist and not cycle at least *a little bit*, too! I ride one of Marty’s old mountain bikes around town every single day, and Marty rides one of his SEVEN pro-grade bikes nearly every day as well. He’s got a different bike for every type of riding (road, track, time trial, cyclocross, mountain, winter, and commuting), but I’m just fine with my all-purpose, hand-me-down ride. 🙂 Glad to see and read that you and Sara are back on the bikes!

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    • Who knew that one could have a use for so many bikes. I had no idea until I met “Chatter Master” and her husband that folks would have more than one–maybe two. I’m happy to have Sara back on a bike, again. Ride on, my friend!

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  27. Oh Kathy, another gem! This was a walk down memory lane with a new media twist on life and the good things blogging brings. So happy that you convinced Sara to get back on the horse, or cycle in this case! And let’s face it: the banana seat disappeared from cycling shops far too soon.

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