Toby took his bicycle to the bike shop to get it tuned. It seemed to be making an odd noise. Last night he rode one of the old bikes to church – one that he has been working on for Jesse. He confessed that the old bike made his shoulders hurt. That is what my bike does, too. He said his hands were tingling from the pressure on his wrists. Yeah, mine does that too. He said it was just torture to ride that old bike. Now, I am slapping my leg, agreeing with him about the bike riding/torture thing. I think he may be getting the picture of how I feel about this bicycle stuff.
It reminded me of wearing ski boots. Back in the really old days, ski boots were like heavy duty hiking boots that laced up. My lace up boots left bruises and calluses on my lower shins. By the end of the winter, my fingers would have cracks from being dry and chapped and lacing ski boots. But those boots were plum comfy for me compared to the buckle boots that came out next. The designers for ski boots must have been male because they only fit men or ladies with long legs. Women have tinier ankles and larger calves than men do – making ski boots difficult to fit on ladies. Now, I have large ankles and large calves – making it almost impossible for ski boots to fit right. Getting those buckles to clamp down and stay down on my boots was torture. Sometimes, I would leave the top buckle undone for comfort. I caught a lot of flack about how dangerous that was and how I could break my leg and such. Little did anyone know how much pain those boots caused – a broken leg couldn’t be much worse.
Then the rear-entry boots came out. I was working at a ski shop when one of my male coworkers said, "Hey Lou, come try these new boots. They are like wearing house shoes." Then he began to try and clamp my short fat calves into a boot. He got a larger cable. He squeezed. He pumped. He pulled at the bladder. Finally, he fitted me to the boots. I could hardly walk much less ski. Once again, those boots were designed for men with longer calves. If that was "like wearing house shoes," I’d rather go bare foot. I remember thinking, "You mean ski boots are suppose to fit better and be comfortable?" I loved to ski, but for me, ski boots had always been painful. I thought the pain was normal.
My friend, who owned the ski shop, had some brand new lace up boots that his father had bought back in the 60’s right before buckle boots came out. He had just shelved the old lace up boots. I asked him if I could buy a pair. He told me "no, because I would wear them." Dang right I would! He fixed me up with a pair of rear entry boots. I left the cable undone when riding the lift and only buckled it down when skiing – it was the best we could do.
Now, Toby is telling me that bikes can be comfortable. I am doubtful, but willing to give it a try. Some things are just meant to be painful – like ski boots and bras.