Yesterday I bought new inner tubes for my bike, and after a day of family and eating and cooking out, I installed them. Unfortunately the old pump I had was no good either... for anything above about 25 PSI the pump leaked air from its supply hose. Still, inner tubes inside tires and tires on rims was a step in the right direction, so I got that done, along with a wipe down and a rear brake adjustment. The rear brakes on that bike have always been slightly funky — but I believe I finally found the problem and fixed it.
Today I got a new pump and filled the tires up to around 50 PSI. I capped them off, rolled the bike around the utility room, and realized it was ready to go, with nothing to prevent me from getting on the road this evening. So after dinner — and after ensuring everything and everyone was settling in the normal evening routine — I took my bike out for a ride.
Not much to it — just a quick run through the neighborhood. It was just before dusk so I didn't want to venture off too far without having some kind of light. All told it lasted under ten minutes and I traveled 0.7 miles. Not the most impressive start, perhaps, but a start nonetheless. I got my heart pumping and got moving, and besides, I never expected to go ten miles the first day. I have every intention of easing into this.
That phrase "just like riding a bike" is apt, by the way. My wheeled gait was initially shaky, but before I had even gone twenty feet, it all came back to me... the art of balance, coordination, steering, and shifting gears.
It felt good to be outside and it felt good when I was finished. Despite it being above 85° (and probably one of the last hot days of the season), I didn't really notice. I was moving fast enough to generate my own breeze and the humidity was low enough that the heat was in no way limiting. I exchanged pleasantries with a neighbor, disturbed a local dog... I could get used to this.
At some point I hope this part becomes old hat. At some point, I hope it turns into just a fact, something that is part of me... when I can say "I rode to Go-Mart and back" or even "I rode to Kanawha City" and think nothing of saying it or doing it. It's new now and I'm enjoying the newness. Winter and the shortening daylight will soon intervene in any plans I have, of course, but that's fine. Spring will come again, and I'll be ready.