What a gorgeous spring day! Temps in the early to mid 20s, sunshine, the incredible scents of everything floral bursting into the air. We loaded our bikes onto the car and drove to my childhood home, where my mother still lives. This is such a gorgeous, graceful part of town. Old stone houses, tons of trees both native and European. In particular, the azaleas and wisterias which dot just about every old, established garden were in full swing, heaven to look at and heaven to smell.
This was the first time I'd ridden around here in about ten years. Back then I was riding a 21 speed mountain bike and able to negotiate all the hills in this hilly bit of town really easily once I'd got fit, standing up and pedalling like fury. Taking Penelope there for a ride was a different matter. She's much heavier and her lowest gear doesn't match the range on an MTB or hybrid. On the flat bits she was just brilliant, so easy to get her up and speeding along, and down the hills she flew like a bird, giving my other half on his road bike a serious run for his money. But I'm ashamed to say that I got off and pushed on the biggest hill (just as I did the first ever time I tried that particular hill on my MTB). My legs were aching like mad and I was gasping. Even low gear wasn't enough, so I think I'll have to get the bottom gear lowered, aside from working on my personal fitness. More disturbing was the realisation that it's really, really awkward if not unsettling to try and stand up on the pedals to get up hills. The geometry of the bike doesn't really allow it.
That being said, she really is lovely to ride and it means adapting to her geometry and gearing as well as making such mods as I can afford. Sydney is a hilly ci
ty, more suited to bikes with more gears and in particular more low range gears if you're an unfit lass like me.
Next time I take her to Mum's I'll be fitter and more used to her. She's worth all the perseverance, all the aching legs and gasping breath, as she is a diamond on two wheels.