I enjoy biking and used to do it regularly – it was my only transport until my late 20’s and i did a lot of rail-trail riding when I lived in flat Michigan and in one of the rare more level areas of Pittsburgh. Did several multi day trips on the C & O Canal towpath when I had a group of fellow pedal pushers with whom to share such adventures.
But for almost 20 years now I have resided in a corrugated Pittsburgh burb called Forest Hills which lives up to its name in steep and narrow switchbacking roads full of blind turns plus it is also wedged between a crowded high speed interstate bypass (376) and the great Lincoln Highway/route 30, both of which are 4 to 6 crowded lanes of heavy truck and rush hour traffic in deep valleys with no berms or even sidewalks. I have to load a bike in the car and drive somewhere beyond home to ride. And all of my friends at this point who bike are speed and distance addicts – I am a casual pleasure and scenery rider and also limited in my bike trip stamina since I have broken and healed so many bones in both arms, wrists and shoulders. I can’t keep up with them. It has been almost 10 years since I last rode
So my two well-loved bikes, a rare and lively 1990s Michigan-built Slingshot road bike with a quirky tensioned aircraft cable frame, and a 20 year old front shock KHS trail bike, languish in the basement.
The boat hoard, on the other hand, has gotten so out of hand that I have to stop and think about it when somebody asks me how many i own. Short answer (for now) is a dozen: 1 solo canoe, 1 RM touring kayak, 2 Greenland SOFs (one is toast and purely decorative, the other needs a new skin), 2 sleek composite sea kayaks (cool barn rescues) and 6 “bag boats”, folding kayaks that are sleeping in their duffel bags until I set some up for the season They are 5 skin on frame SINKS from 12’ to 15’ 8" and a 16’ inflatable/frame hybrid SOT.
I only bought two of these toys new – the RM kayak and one of the folders (though even that was a marked down demo). I do sometimes feel like I should unload some, that I am being a dog in the manger not passing them along to others who might use them more often than I do.
But relocating to my new digs (same neighborhood) 4 months ago has already greatly improved my ease, and therefore, frequency of paddling and, potentially, pedaling. I finally not only have a garage space now but 3 of them, one for the car and a vast 22’ by 30’ detached contractor double garage (with full depth workbench on one side) that easily houses the entire fleet plus the kayak trailer. And my box truck camper is now parked in my driveway right beside the big garage to be loaded in minutes for outings. Having to previously wrestle 16 foot boats out of ceiling trapezes in the basement and out the narrow door of a walk-out basement, then around a tight corner blocked by porch pillars and up a hilly yard and flight of steps to load on the roof rack of my car parked across the street, then reverse the effort at the end of the day, was a major buzzkill for trip planning.
I did recently buy a Thule trailer hitch-mount bike rack for the Mazda but I will need to replace the dry rotted tires on the bikes, unravel the cobwebs on the frames and tune and oil them up before I can get them out on the roads or trails. And break in my butt (I remember that annual Spring toughening routine). I do feel wistful sometimes about that feeling of flying down a long smooth grade on two wheels so maybe i will get around to that soon.