Bicycling in the Time of Coronavirus

“Janet, I just read your latest entry and it made me think. In our conversations we skirted around the afterlife, and spirits, and much more. It makes me think, now more than ever that spirits do exist. Not in the ghostly, rowdy, animated Hollywood way, but truly they do exist. How well you knew him shapes your thought processes. How much you loved him gives you strength and empathy for others. He is always with you. As we spoke, I began to know your Jim. We never met but I began to know him, to hear from him. I began to see you in ways that maybe very few people have seen you, though I am certain Jim did. In some way he guided our conversation. Not as a “medium” casting voices into my head, but with his spirit I felt him come to you through our conversation. You love him deeply and he loves you. There will be many more times he will come to you through others. His generosity may be shown through the acts of others you may not even know yet. His kindness will aid you in your endeavors through the kindness of others. His thoughtfulness will allow others to point the way through conundrums large and small. As we talked I felt something of his love for you and his insistence to be helpful to you. He will continue to do so as long as you are open to him through others. Bless you, Janet, we all love you.” J.P.

The one activity, bicycling, that Jim and I did together, is one I continue to fully embrace and enjoy as a solo. As many of you know about three weeks ago I had my Jamis Road Bike stolen. It was heartbreaking to see that bike disappear from my life. It had been my ride for many years, Jim bought it for me and I had to let it go. It has not been easy.

Carbondale M300 Mountain Bike

Shortly after this event, within two days, I became the owner of a cute blue Carbondale M300 Mountain Bike. A fellow local tour guide, Jay gave me the bike. It has since been cleaned up, had it’s maiden ride and is ready to go. I am cautious about mountain bikes, my history with them has not always been a positive one.

The first time I was on a mountain bike, I was biking to Point Reyes National Seashore, hike, and bike camp with a friend. I met up with a boulder, flipped over the front end of the bike, the bike came over on top of me and as I was laying on the ground trying to figure out where I was wounded, my friend came up to me and said, “Wow, Janet that was really cool”. I couldn’t be angry with him as I bet it was really cool to watch. He made up for it by taking me to Calistoga Hot Springs to recover. I ended up with whiplash to my neck. I have tread carefully around mountain bikes since that experience. Now, several years later I hope that the ride will be smoother and safer.

Even with a new mountain bike, I knew I wanted another road bike. I began the search. I looked at new bikes, fancy, clean, and smart and expensive. I contacted a friend of mine whose husband “does bikes”. He asked me questions:

  • How tall are you? This helps to size a bike.
  • What did I want it for? I wanted it to ride.
  • Did it have to be new? No.
  • Was weight important? Yes, at least a little. I need to lift it on and off my bike rack.
  • How much was I willing to spend? As much as it took to make me happy with my ride.

Don began to look for road bikes. The day after our conversation, he sent me a link to a road bike on Craigslist. It had everything I wanted. It was the right size, it has great components, and is lightweight, weighing in at about 14 lbs. The price was within an acceptable range. My friend Ward and I went to look at the bike. It was in very good condition, the ride was smooth. I needed time to think. Edwin, who was selling it, recommended I take a few days to think it over. That was a very kind thing to do.

I went home and began to consider whether this was the bike for me. I contacted another friend, John, who knows a lot about road bikes and he agreed the bike was a good option. Then I asked Jim, my deceased husband. He loved bikes. I know it sounds odd to ask a person who is no longer here yet I did.

I  met up with my friends, Jim and Rhonda, in the desert this past winter. At the beginning of this post I placed a quote that was the continuation of a conversation Jim, Rhonda, and I had when we met in January. I was struggling to make a decision regarding my treatment for thyroid cancer. The conversation we had helped guide me to make the best right decision to follow through with treatment. The question “What would Jim say to you?” helped me find the answer I needed. I too believe that my Jim continues to help, love, and support me in odd and interesting ways. Remind me sometime to tell you the story of lost items being found when I have asked Jim for help. He does continue to shape who I am. There are many times I am thankful for that invisible support.

K2 Mod 5 Campagnolo Road Bike

I did ask Jim about this bike. I strongly felt, even though it was the first bike I looked at, it was meant for me. I believe that Jim (my husband) was pushing me towards this bike. It was a clear and insistent message.  A week later I contacted Edwin, we bargained on the price and now I am the proud owner of a carbon and aluminum frame  K2 Mod 5 Campagnolo racing/road bike. I have been riding it and it rides like the wind. It is a beautiful bike, well taken care of, and my new ride. I am definitely happy with my choice.

And….I get to buy new accessories as several of mine disappeared with my Jamis bike. Sigh. Shopping for sporting goods ranks at the top of the list of types of shopping I enjoy doing.

Jim, my husband

It is a good time to bike. Roads that are often filled with cars are free and wide open. The city of San Diego has been repaving so the rides are smooth. I wear my mask and have begun to learn where I really need to wear it. There are certain areas where people tend to congregate. Wearing a mask has been a learning experience when exercising.

I really enjoy the sense of freedom my bikes offer me. I am ready to ride.

Jim will always be with me. I choose to let him continue to be a part of my life. I like that I can reach out to him when I need clarification. I do believe that he reaches me through others. He certainly did that day this winter, speaking through my friend Jim. (Whoa there are just too many Jims) I can keep moving forward and still have him with me. And trust me he is a great finder of lost items.