Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vacation Travel Made Frustrating

I like most things about beach resorts. The weather is the initial draw, of course, especially when it's cold where I am when the time for vacay comes along.The sounds of birds, the mesmerizing motion of the water and the touch of ight breezes always puts me in a Jimmy Buffett-like state of mind. In addition, when I visit beach places, there's little to no car driving involved so sitting back sipping a cool one is always a possibility. "Vacation money" is generally readily available, and the food is invariably plentiful and tasty. There is, however, one drawback...not a deal-killer, mind you, but a fly in the otherwise soothing ointment of a sandy vacation somewhere with gorgeous sunsets and the temptation to toss the watch. That drawback? Beach bikes.
I tend to bike more than the average person. I bike to work most of the year; I use an exercise bike at the gym a couple of times a week as a cross-training mechanism, and I have a road bike that I use throughout the warm months when I have a couple of hours or more free on the schedule. But I hate beach bikes; sadly, they are generally the only kind of bike available for rent at resorts.
The one-size-fits-everyone mentality of those who foist these contraptions on tourists shows a decided lack of biking acumen. Raising the seat to accommodate those of us with out of the ordinary length works only to put more of a fulcrum pressure on my knees: knees that don't need any more pressure! The frame geometry just isn't planned for folks like me. Te high, wide-spread handlebars puts the rider in a completely upright position, and if there is any wind at all, this position creates a great windblock for the rider behind at the expense of the one in front. Into the wind, going uphill? Such a predicament puts the rider at an even greater disadvantage: there are no gears to switch to in order to make the pedaling easier; the rider is stuck in an exhausting position of having to fight both gravity and the wind with legs (for the most part) that have not trained for such exertion.
Having only a single speed is bad, but having no hand brakes is the worst. I cannot recall how many times I thought I'd relax on the pedals and just coast for a bit...forgetting that as soon as I exerted the least amount of counterclockwise pressure on the pedals, the brake was engaged. It's a hard habit to break (so to speak).
Sadly, though, this is the only option. While the wider tires work great on sand, and the seat is generally more comfortable than average, there is only one advantage a beach bike has that makes me continue to rent one:
it beats walking.


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