Behold. A thing of beauty and promise. Dah da dum…my “new to me” mountain bike.

It has a bell! Seriously…ding, ding…here I come. A mountain bike with a bell. Cute.

Before I adopted my Island Girl title, I was a fairly avid bike rider. It started when I got my first banana seat, single speed beauty when I was 6 or so…complete with sparkly handle bar tassles. Hey, it was the 70s.

I upgraded to a red, Schwinn three-speed (with a white handlebar basket embellished with plastic flowers) sometime after that. I rode that thing at breakneck speed down the steep hill by my house, only crashing into the row of mailboxes at the bottom a few times, thanks to the loose gravel perpetually on the road. Battlescars of a tomboy.

I acquired my first “real” bike when I was 12. A truly beautiful, turquoise 10-speed (the make I forget, but I remember it was the “it” bike of the early 80s). I saved up a long time for that “grown up” bike. Hey, $129 is a HUGE deal when you’re 12. That bike was my ticket to freedom, being the country bumpkin that I was. I must have put thousands of miles on that thing, traveling the busy state highway – sans helmet of course and occasionally after dark! – that took me from my rural abode into the big city of my youth. I still cannot believe my parents allowed me to do that. But I survived.

Of course, there was a huge bike gap after I got my driving license, and I didn’t return to biking for fun until my late 20s. I’d like to claim it was because I had an abiding love of riding, but the truth is I was dating a guy who was super outdoorsy. He convinced me I needed a bike if I wanted to hang with him and, voila, I acquired my first (and only…until today) mountain bike. A carbon fiber Giant Iguana. It was purple and light green.

Whoop, whoop. A blast from the past. My PNW mountain biking days @ Rattlesnake Lake.

I rode it a lot in Seattle. There are loads of bike trails there that wind through the foothills of the Cascades. Really stunning scenery. Sadly, my trusty Giant got left behind when I adopted my Island Girl status. It was just too expensive to ship it here. So I’ve been bike-less ever since. Until today.

As the result of a wine-enhanced lunch last week with a friend who works in real estate, I had the chance to buy a bike leftover after the sale of a home. Hell, yeah! I jumped at the chance. Without thinking things through, which is, admittedly, how I usually make decisions. But I digress…

I finally have a bike again, accompanied by dreams of riding the single track trails that surprisingly do exist here. Yes, I know this bike is not the caliber of a Specialized or other high-end mountain bike, so all you “serious” mountain bikers can just *shush*. But then again, I’m not planning to compete in the Duo Extreme race, so I think this will be fine for my skill and inclination level (and budget).

So ride I will. Of course, cactus, rocks and prickly bushes are new challenges for my rather pampered history of mountain biking. So we’ll see how it goes. But at least I had the foresight to buy a hydration backpack before I left the UK. I will at least not be thirsty. Scratched up and bruised, perhaps, but not thirsty.

Of course, I must get a helmet. After all, my 40-something approach to bike riding is decidedly different than risk-taking 12-year-old me. I’ll keep you posted on the adventures.


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