My summer on a Quest
June 14, 2015/ Maria Parker
It’s only 7 miles from one end of my hometown to the other. I’m embarrassed to admit that despite the fact that I run a bicycle company that makes some of the most comfortable bikes in the world, and ride my bike for exercise about 150 miles a week, I rarely use my bicycle to get around town and run errands.
My parents live about a mile from my house on quiet neighborhood roads, and I do usually ride my bike there. In fact, they kindly put a bike rack near the door so I could easily park it. I like to think it is to encourage my visits, but it might be to keep me from throwing my bike down on my Dad’s beautiful lawn and garden.
On my way to my Mom’s and Dad’s house.
Dad’s beautiful garden, and my Q’s parking space.
Outside of this riding, I take my car everywhere. For a long time I have felt the need to put my walk (my pedaling) where my talk is, at least while the weather is amenable.
Last Saturday I told everyone I was going without a car – that I was going to ride my Cruzbike Q559 everywhere for at least a month. I had to amend that almost immediately when I remembered my nephew’s wedding in a town 150 miles away, and a speaking engagement in a town 100 miles away, the very next week. So my my revised plan: Go everywhere on my Q559 that was under 30 miles away.
Though we live in a small town, besides the 15 or so cyclists who ride for fitness, I can think of only one person who rides his bike for utility. Our roads are not bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Even short rides to the grocery store take me on a busy road where motorists are not used to seeing cyclists. I really want to live through the summer, so I will take the safest route, even if it means going at odd times or taking the Q559 on dirt pathways. Fortunately, we have a 24 hour Walmart less than 2 miles from the house.
The next challenge is carrying things around.I don’t have a trailer, but I do have a large basket on the back of the Q, mounted on a heavy duty rack. The basket is big enough to carry a good amount – however I expect to have to take more frequent trips to acquire food and other things for my family of 5.
I have a large basket on the back of the Q, mounted on a Heavy Duty Rack.
The first day of my Quest was a Saturday and I rode my fast bike 70 miles for exercise. I didn’t go anywhere for the rest of the day, so far, so good. https://drive.google.com/a/cruzbike.com/file/d/0B_I7ZetAWghudnpiYU85WENuTDQ/view?usp=sharing
Sunday I planned to go to church, about 3 miles away. The church isn’t in a great neighborhood, and I didn’t want to arrive sweaty, so I took a change of clothing and a lock.
I arrived early, but there was really no place to lock the bike up, so I hid it behind a bush near the side door. I got some strange looks going into church in my spandex shorts, but after a quick change in the bathroom, I popped out looking groomed enough to fit in.
I parked my Q behind some bushes out of view since there was no place to lock it.
The trip home was an hour later and the roads were much busier so I took a longer, quieter route.
We celebrated my Dad’s birthday that evening. I had to make a trip to the grocery store for last minute items. I parked my bike in the lobby where the grocery carts are stored and got the two bottles of wine, salad makings, cream, and other sundry items I needed. Again, no problem fitting everything into the basket and the ride home, though a little nerve wracking, was uneventful.
Loaded up with two bottles of wine, salad makings, cream, and other sundry items I needed for my Dad’s birthday celebration.
Monday I planned to work in my garden and needed some things from the local garden center including some bales of pinestraw. As practical as the Q559 is, it would be impossible to carry 6 bales of pinestraw home on the bicycle. I was tempted to use the car, but decided to get the smaller things I needed and have the pine straw delivered.
I saw a goose family on my way.
I love shopping at the garden center, but I was careful not to use a cart so that I wouldn’t overload myself. I still bought more than I intended, as I usually do, but I fit it all in the basket. As she checked me out the sales assistant told me that she’d had a customer come through and buy a bag of potting soil and carry it home balanced on the handlebars. That made me feel like part of a special fraternity of cycling gardeners.
I fit all my gardening goodies into the basket on my Q for the ride home.
Tuesday I went to Raleigh after an early morning work-out on the bike. I drove the car to Raleigh and remembered why I like running a bicycle company. I was stuck in traffic for a good while. I was thinking today about many of our customers who go everywhere on our bikes. Some don’t even own cars. I’m inspired by that thought… maybe someday.
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