The Five Bicycles of 2016

Natalie charges up the big hill on Elm Valley Road on Grane back in the day.

Natalie charges up the big hill on Elm Valley Road on Grane back in the day.

(Harbert, Michigan) We began the 2016 bicycling season with two bicycles, a Giant road bike for Natalie, and a Giant road bike for me.  Natalie called hers, Grane, in honor of Brünnhilde’s horse from Wagner’s soaring opera, Die Walküre.  I named my Giant, Malcolm, in honor of my Scottish great-grandfather, Dr. Malcolm Macfarlan.  In spring, Natalie and I mounted our respective steeds and rode forth on the backroads of Berrien County looking for adventure and whatever came our way. What came our way were sore body parts on both of us: shoulder and back for Natalie and wrists and back for me.  Time to reconsider the whole bicycling paradigm, right? Right you are, so off we went to Bike Stop Cycling in Michigan City to retool.  Natalie was thinking we needed to move to upright comfort bikes of the so-called Cruiser variety, so I traded in Malcolm for a shiny red cruiser from Giant with old-fashioned coaster brakes and three, hand-shifted gears.

Malcolm takes five on Kruger Road near Three Oaks. He was a real road bike and has gone to a worthy new owner.

Malcolm takes five on Kruger Road near Three Oaks. He was a real road bike and has gone to a worthy new owner.

I promptly dubbed my red cruiser Red and took to riding Red everywhere and anywhere the spirit moved me. Meanwhile, Natalie sold Grane to our summer neighbor Mark Rosen, who promised to take good care of him, especially while riding around the streets of Detroit.  As we watched Mark ride off on Grane, we cried and Natalie despaired of ever riding again. She was deep into physical therapy at that time, the time being mid-summer, and her therapist was telling her that she would have to get a comfort bike when she was ready to hit the road again.

High-water mark for Red as he rests on East Road on a glorious summer afternoon in 2016.

High-water mark for Red as he rests on East Road on a glorious summer afternoon in 2016.

Well, I hit the hills of south county so much with Red that I was developing serious knee problems.  I simply didn’t have the gears to get me to New Troy and back in comfort. So, as Natalie began discussions with Todd and Trina at Bike Stop Cycling about the right bike for her, I allowed as to how I was also open to suggestions.  Trina promptly put me on a Trek Verve 2 with more gears than I can count, an upright profile, and a comfortable saddle.  I took one ride around the parking lot on that green-and-black Trek Verve 2 and promptly named him Vinnie the Verve.  And, yes, I traded Red for Vinnie just before the trade deadline. Natalie meanwhile made happy with a Trek Verve 2 all dressed in black, and named her Black Magic Woman.

Natalie takes Black Magic Woman on her first sea trial. She was all set for a great fall cycling season when she had her tennis mishap. Stay away from tennis, Natalie.

Natalie takes Black Magic Woman on her first sea trial. She was all set for a great fall cycling season when she had her tennis mishap. Stay away from tennis, Natalie.

But Natalie had no sooner begun riding Black Magic Woman in late summer when she fell while playing tennis with yours truly and a friend, breaking her right thumb and bruising a right hip bone.  She was on the DL for the remainder of 2016.  Not a pretty picture.  But she did have a bike that fit her just fine in storage at Bike Stop for 2017.  And, as you see, we began 2016 with two bicycles, and ended 2016 with two different bicycles, plus Red in the middle, for a grand total of the five bicycles of 2016. You do the math. Meanwhile, I have been riding solo on Vinnie the Verve in all kinds of weather, even into 2017. Why, I might even do a night ride to Bridgman tonight, if the snow holds off. We’ll see, but we certainly shall see a better bicycling picture in 2017 as Natalie completes her physical therapy and gets her mojo back. Ride on!

Vinnie the Verve says: "This is gonna be great year for cycling. Trust me on this." He is shown here on New Year's Day at Cherry Beach here in Harbert, Michigan.

Vinnie the Verve says: “This is gonna be great year for cycling. Trust me on this.” He is shown here on New Year’s Day at Cherry Beach here in Harbert, Michigan.

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About charleymckelvy

Charles McKelvy lives and writes in southwest Michigan with his wife and fellow writer, Natalie McKelvy. They established the Dunery Press in 1988 in order to publish their own fiction. They continue to do so to this day. Charles McKelvy is an Eagle Scout.
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