Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ben!!!

posted by Danni

So, if the credit card receipt can be believed, a year ago today Scott finished building my bike and I took Bender (Ben) home for the first time. I find it hard to remember what life was like before I had my recumbent. I have had so many wonderful experiences and I've met so many wonderful people because of my bike, some in passing and some who I believe will be friends for life, that I don't even want to think of how things would be if I hadn't bought Ben. Scott definitely knew what he was doing when, much to Brad's horror, he said to me, "I'm putting in the order for your bike I need a $50 deposit." My response, "If I don't like the bike, do I get my money back?" "Of course," said Mr. Chamberlain. And that was that! I know Scott knew that I would like my bike when he ordered it, but I wonder if he had any idea just HOW MUCH I would end up LOVING my bike!!!!

On the first attempt to get my bike it wasn't ready. I ended up going to Brad's place where he trusted me to take apart his bike as I learned how to change a tire. (I'm sure that trust had everything to do with the beer he was drinking. I wouldn't have trusted me. I was pretty inept! ;-) The next day my daughter and I returned to see Scott who was just finishing putting my bike together. He took me for my test ride. I rode Ben for the first time while Scott joked and kidded with Alexa. I was hooked. I definitely had the 'recumbent silly smile' going on that day!!

Here are some highlights from the year with Ben:

- Wow!! This is so much fun and nothing hurts. How do you find the will power to stop riding?

- Hey, there are 15 minutes left of sunlight. I can make it to the grist mill and back.

- Yikes! It really is nasty doing the hills on a recumbent. Splat - onto the pavement!!! There goes the first mirror!!

- I'm SO READY for clipless pedals. Splat Again! Ooops! There goes the second mirror!

- My first morning group ride - breakfast in Waltham. The restaurant is closed!! Bummer!! But the muffins from the shop up the street are yummy!! (Note to self - bring an extra Cliff bar when riding with Brad just in case it is necessary ;-)

- CRASH!!! Hit by a car on my brand new bike. "Don't worry about me, I'm fine! IS MY BIKE O.K?!!!" Ben gets a ride home in the back of an ambulance. I have some VERY impressive, colorful bruises.

- First time at Scott's place. Scott makes fresh homemade bread and yummy chicken!! Brad sweats gallons in the extreme heat as he works hard at making Ben better than new after the accident. Ben is a tank!! Brad and Scott are my heroes!!!!

- My first ride near the coast - North Shore. Lunch at Woodman's - fried clams and beer. A very good day!

- A ride to the abbey where the nuns make and sell chocolate. A really cranky nun serves us. Scott gets a nail puncture, through not only his tire but his rim too, immediately after making a joke about the nun. Coincidence? I think not!!

- Graffiti at the trellis. EXTREMELY COOL!!!!! We barely make it back to the Wayside Inn because of the heat. A beer never tasted so good.

- The Fourth of July!! A wonderful ride! I meet Susie for the first time. She thinks I'm a bitch since I don't chat with her because I'm listening to music (exaggerating a wee bit ;-) She doesn't realize that without music I don't make it up the hills (not exaggerating at all!!) We stop to watch model airplanes. I see my first wild toucan!!! An extremely yummy BBQ! A killer game of croquet ensues where I completely kick Brad's ass - o.k. I'll admit it, I cheated ;-) An amazing night watching fireworks at the tower with Scott! My light dies on the way down the mountain. Where the heck am I? Better yet, where the hell is Scott and why did he leave me!!!!!!

- Bacchetta weekend!! Susie buys a recumbent. I guess she likes me after all. A really hot, long ride on Sunday! As usual, I wipe out on my bike. I need more touch up paint and yet another mirror. (Scott makes me buy backup mirrors for when I break the next one ;-)

- Bonfires, beer, and foosball at Scott's house. I'm REALLY not good at foosball, but I like it just the same. I'm a sucker for humiliation.

- An amazingly gorgeous ride in Ipswich. Sunny onshore - a HUGE thunderhead just offshore! Awe inspiring!!! (That is as long as it stays off shore and I don't get wet. It does!!!) A lovely picnic by the water!

- Teaching Susie how to ride her recumbent on the Nashua River rail trail. An interesting day ;-)

- NO!!!!! NOT the Rte 2 rotary!!! Scott's trying to kill us!!!! Luckily our friendship survived that one. After successfully getting through that ordeal, we'll be friends forever ;-)

- WAIT!!!! Do I REALLY fit into size 4 jeans?!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Ben?)

- Too wet to ride. Let's can tomatoes!!

- What? You want me to write the blog while you're in Spain? You've got to be kidding. Oh well, I guess so. If I have to!!!

- Susie and I go to the BikesNotBombs event and pedal a cider press. We decide we are hungry and go to a BYOB restaurant. We bring a very interesting bottle of wine!!! (Giggles ;-)

- Riding with the Sudbury uprights. WOW!!!!! Recumbents are FAST!!!!! Oh wait, not on the up-hills!!!

- Scott's beer around the world Christmas party. Great food!! Great people!!

- Lots of snow. Missing riding!

- More snow. Missing riding even more!!

- O.k. enough with the snow!!!!! I'm going through withdrawal. I need to ride NOW!!!!!!!

- I accidentally sign up for riding 100 miles in 30 days and it's still freezing out!!! Yikes. Oh well. I guess somebody is trying to tell me to get my sorry ass back on my bike and go riding!!!

- What is a stuffie, anyway? Oh . . . yummy!!!

- Did that hawk just get that dove? I hope not. I would cry!!!

- Hmmmm! I've never ridden in the rain before! I can't see a thing. (Note to self - next time bring something with which to wipe my glasses.) And my outerwear bike gear works perfectly! The outside of the gear is wet, but I am completely dry. I love good gear!!!!!

- I nudge Ben just as I am putting a coat in the closet near where he is kept. NOOOOOO, don't fall onto the tile floor. Damn!!!! Yet another mirror!!! (Text to Scott – I am out of spare mirrors . . . AGAIN!!)

- Ahhhh!!! The lilacs are in bloom. I can think of only one thing that smells better! Can there be a better time of the year to ride?

It has been an amazing year with Ben! Thank you, Brad, for agreeing to help me buy a bike and for introducing me to recumbents and Scott. Thank you, Scott, for being such a wonderful person and creating such an amazing social culture for recumbent riders. For all of you with whom I have already ridden, I've enjoyed it! For those of you who I have yet to ride with, I look forward to the pleasure of meeting you.

Happy Heads-up Riding!! Enjoy the season!!

And do slow down to smell the flowers (especially the lilacs) as you ride by - I don't care if atom bomb says it is dangerous ;-)

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