Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Eerran... hoo?

It's been about a month since I've written anything here (I like to point out the obvious). I'm trying not to feel guilty, but it's challenging some days. I think I've just come to accept that there may be long pauses in between times that I write here. And that's okay. At least for me it's okay. I have come to realize that these are reflective periods and necessary for me, though I should probably use this space to sort through thoughts during these times.

There have been some happenings and hope for happenings around here, so I think it's had my brain sidetracked. There's been chatter about moving to the city. Maybe not right in the heart of everything (though that thought crossed our minds as well), but at least right on the edge of happenings. This turned into house hunting, which turned into a smack in the face with the realization that, holy moly, the last two years have brought huge increases in property values throughout the state and can we actually even afford to move? Should we even consider moving? We live in a lovely community, but it's questionable as to whether it's the right place for us. There is no resolution to that thought at the moment, but it's been a huge distraction. It's hard to stay focused on the every day when there are so many thoughts and potential outcomes.

In addition, I purchased a bicycle frame during the second week of January, and I'm still awaiting its arrival. It was an already-built-frame, but new-old-stock, and it was supposed to be a few weeks before I'd receive it (it required paint as it was still raw), but apparently my definition of a few weeks is different than the company's definition. After a quick inquiry, I was told that the "painter is really slow right now." So, I have no idea when it will arrive at this point. But, hopefully, I'll be able to share more about that sometime soon. I am super excited about it though, and I feel like a kid who's been told Disneyland is in the future, but that day never seems to actually arrive.

As you may recall from my last writing, my goal was to try to ride every day this year. All was going well until the last week of February, but things quickly came apart at the seams. I may have to revise the goal itself (which was the point of making it a goal rather than a resolution), but I've had some interesting encounters during my rides. Even though many of them have been quite short, it's fascinated me how many interactions I've had with others simply because I was on a bicycle. I thought I'd share one of the brief encounters for now, but hopefully I will have time to share more moving forward.

The gym seems to provide me with some very interesting and entertaining conversation. While I'm working out, I tend to go into my own little world, headphones on, drowning out the people and activities happening around me, but before and after, I have to say I've had some fascinating encounters with others over the years. If an odd conversation is  to be had, one can almost wager that I have had it at some point in or around the gym. It's as though these spaces are magnets for people to approach me for these non-typical moments.

Today's tale isn't necessarily all that unusual, but it made me smile, so I had to share it. I was leaving the gym at the same moment that an older gentleman was making his way inside.

"Lovely day for a ride," he began as he stood aside my bicycle.

"It is. It really is beautiful," I responded, looking up from unlocking my bike to his smiling face.

"I used to ride my bike all the time," he started again. "I had a stroke though and now they won't let me ride it anymore. That's why I'm here. Trying to get in a little movement. My wife and I had matching Schwinn's. They were really beautiful." His eyes moved up toward the sky as if remembering specific moments on his bike. "I really miss riding my bicycle though."

I smiled. "It's great that you're here and getting in some exercise," I wanted to share that a trike might be a good option, but before I could even formulate the thought fully, he was on to other matters.

"Eee.. eeeuuu...errran..." he stammered a bit but kept trying, "Eerran... hoo?"

Confused for a moment, I wondered if there was a health incident taking place until I realized he was staring at the rear of my bicycle at my saddle bag. "Errandonnee? Did you see my patch?" I asked.
He looked at me confused. "What is that?"

I couldn't help but smile. How strange a word it must seem to others, though once it is explained it becomes clearer to most. Even I had to pause for a moment to think of the most efficient way to explain the errandonnee.

"There are a group of people who participate in a challenge to ride a certain number and type of errands by bicycle during a specified time. If the person completes the challenge, they are awarded the patch," I said. "I chose to put mine on my bag since this is the bike I use to run many errands normally."

"Oh," he responded, and then paused for a moment before continuing on, "That sounds like fun!" With that, he went to the front door of the gym and proceeded in.

I couldn't help but smile during the ride home. Sometimes the simplest interactions make for the best days. I only wish every interaction at the gym was as pleasant. Most of them have me leaving in anger or disgust (or both).


  1. I feel so badly for the guy who can't ride any more. It would be very hard to give up.

    About moving to the city: My spouse and I have always lived in the city limits, but just about five months ago we moved right into the heart of downtown. It's not for everyone, but we love it! We can walk to everything. The central transit station is close, which makes multi-modal transportation so much more convenient. And, of course, it's very rideable. It's even working out well for the dog, who adapted to not having a yard incredibly well. It helps that we are surrounded by parks and have access to a fenced, off-leash area on the grounds of our condo building.

    Whatever you decide to do, it's fun to think about the possibilities and imagine different ways of living.

    1. I feel bad for him too... especially because he seemed to really enjoy it. :(

      I'm so glad that you are both enjoying your "new" life in the city. :) It always thrills me to hear about people who have found their place, and from the sound of things, you are adapting (though, I understand it wasn't a huge move) well to your new surroundings. It's nice to know your dog has adapted too... especially as that is a concern for us as well. It is definitely fun to think about possibilities, regardless of what actually transpires.

  2. I read this when you first posted it but no similar moment sprung to my mind. But as described in my most recent post (Hump Day Hills) I had a similar smile moment when two adolescents pulled up beside me on my most recent ride and the passenger stuck his closed fist out the window and said: Fist bump! When I did they howled with laughter and drove on. I honestly don't know if they were poking fun or in admiration for my efforts on the hills but regardless it was a positive encounter and I'll take it. Still making me smile the next day.

    1. Positive encounters are always much nicer to have than the alternative! :)


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