Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Last week when I took the bike on the train I discovered something horrible. I’m too wimpy. Or my bike is too heavy. Or a combination of both.

Wake up call! Get some muscles.

Getting your bike onto the train is no problem, since the train floor lines up with the level of the station platform. You can happily stand there with your bike for the whole ride and then roll off effortlessly when the train stops. But if you have a long way to go and you want to ride sitting down you’ll need to hang your bike on one of the bike hooks.

When I tried this, I discovered to my horror that I could hardly do it. It took me several attempts. The wiggliness of the floor my feet relied on didn’t help. I finally succeeded but my back scolded me later.

You know what just isn’t right? The gigantic young male hot-shot who could lift an entire car and hang it up on the hook will inevitably own a 12 pound bike that he can lift with his pinky. At the same time you’ll see all these mature, testosterone-free, not super-athletic women trudging along on iron horses that way about 40 pounds. That doesn’t make sense. We should all trade bikes.

It’s not that I can’t lift 40 pounds. I can do that with ten fingers if it’s in the form of two little iron balls with a handle in the middle. But you try to lift a bicycle and it starts flipping and flopping and pinching and grabbing like a captured crawfish -- only much, much bigger.

I can throw my bike into the back of a car, no problem. I’ve got that down. But can I lift it up onto a car-top bike rack? Are you kidding? Lift this flailing, swiveling metal contraption with a hundred moving parts that are all trying to pinch or impale me? Lift the weight of this squirming beast up over my head and then hold it aloft while leaning over slightly to maneuver a tire into a skinny little slot? I think not.

What’s the use of having a human-powered vehicle if I have to go fetch another human to help me lift it? How independent is that? If I can’t lift my own vehicle I might as well get a vehicle I equally can’t lift that has a motor. Like a scooter. That’s an alternative I have by no means ruled out. But for now I’m going to take the cheaper route and get some muscles. Where I’m going to get them will be tomorrow’s blog topic.


At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Mick said...

With my bike, I only have to lift it about 6 inches to get it on the hook on the Max. Here's how I do it:

1) While holding the handlebars, pop a wheelie with the bike so that it's straight up and down on the back wheel. Use the rear brake to help control it.

2) Position the bike so the front tire is directly under the hook. Hands still on the handlebars and using the brake for control.

3) Stick one knee into the seat. Simultaneously lift the handlebars and knee. Make sure your valve stem and anything on the spokes is not in the way before lifting.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thank you Mick! Just what I needed -- an instruction manual. Sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing the trick to something -- although I’m wondering if I can pop a wheelie with a back fender on there. I’m going to try this out in my garage first, without an audience or a wiggly train floor.

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Mick said...

Good call on the practice. I've broken 3 fenders on the Max, but they were all plastic. If you have metal, you'll probably be OK>


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