Twenty years ago... maybe twenty-two or three... I bought this Diamondback.
I remember test riding this mountain bike as if it were just this morning, the wind in my hair and a smile on my face. I rode it a few more times before I was able to come back in and actually buy it. At the time, I was waiting tables at a Bennigans in Laguna Hills, picking up shifts, setting aside all of my "extra" tips to pay for the bike. I squirreled away ones and fives in a separate cash stash box, counting it every week, making a mental note of how much I still needed before I could buy the Diamondback. Then the day came that I had all my pennies saved up. The guys at the shop thought I came back in for another spin around the parking lot. They were so happy for me when they saw that I actually came to take it home.
Riders get it.
I rode that bike everywhere. I rode up and down the coast on weekends, from my little apartment in Costa Mesa to Dana Point, sometimes stopping on the way back in Laguna to lay in the sun for a few. I wasn't training for anything. I just wanted to ride. It was pure joy feeling the ocean breeze on my face, propelling my body up yet another climb and then flying down that same hill on the way back. I mostly rode on my own, unless I went up to Big Bear with a group. This was back when ski resorts were first letting people up with their mountain bikes to ride back down. It was kind of a trip going down your favorite runs on a mountain bike. A little scarier at first, but then just as thrilling.
When my car broke down, I began taking public transportation to work. It was a nightmare. The hotel that I worked at had full showers and lockers for employees, so I thought, what the hell... I ride this way for fun... might as well start riding to work. So my Diamondback became my full time transportation. I discovered a trail that took me away from street traffic and around Back Bay in Newport. Riding home in the afternoons was always magical, with the sun glimmering on the water. It was a great way to decompress after a day of people pleasing.
Bonus: Our hotel was part of a ride share program that incentivized employees to carpool, walk, ride, or take the bus to work. Every 30 days of riding, I earned a one-hour massage!
Ironically, my years in Marin, surrounded by the most amazing riding trails, resulted in much less riding. I was busier working than I'd ever been, and when I did try to ride, I was too out-of-shape for the steep climbs. I did ride a little, but not like I had when I was living in SoCal. Eventually, I moved back, but I got out of the habit of riding. I had a car, so I didn't NEED to ride. Then I got remarried... had some more kids... blah blah blah...
We started riding cruisers on the beach. Still fun, but not like my long rides that I used to do. Last fall, I dragged the bike out and started riding it again. Mr. Jones and I were up to 15 mile rides in the morning. But I was having a really hard time. I felt like I was dragging a steel ball behind me. I tuned my bike up, cleaned the chain, pumped the tires before every ride... I was still lagging.
Turns out I was anemic.
After reading my tests to me, my doctor said, "You have almost ZERO iron in your blood. How have you been feeling?" I only had one word: "Tired." Her response was, "No kidding!" She prescribed some kick ass iron pills for me and I began taking a few other vitamins I was low on. After a few weeks of working on getting my body back to the point of not fainting, I thought it might be time to get back on the bike. So last week, I went back out.
And I rode like the wind!
It felt GREAT to be back on my Diamondback! I rode and rode and rode and did not feel tired. (Amazing what having a healthy red blood cell count will do.) Yesterday, I finally got back up to twenty miles. I did that on a mountain bike with knobby tires. Let me explain... that's like some serious drag. So those twenty were a good solid work out.
But now it's time for a new bike.
For the last year, I've been wanting to get into road riding with a group. Two reasons: Great exercise, and social. I need to find more people that I have outdoors stuff in common with. I feel like I don't know anybody that likes to ride. That's not true, of course, but I'm not actively riding with anyone other than Mr. Jones, and he has to fly 18 days a month. I found a women's cycling club, so now all I need is a road bike. I found a few that I liked, but I've been on a Diamondback for so many years, I just felt like my first road bike should be a Diamondback.
What can I say... I'm loyal.
I found a great entry level model that's great for long distance rides. And just like twenty years ago, I've been doing some extra work, saving my pennies, waiting to buy that bike. I feel like a kid saving up her allowance waiting to buy her first treasure.