The Old Coot steps up; but lower

I’ve done it! Made it through another life passage. There are more of these transitions than I ever imagined. When I made it through the passage to age 21, I thought that was the end of it. We start as a baby, evolve to toddler, school kid, teenager, high school graduate, etc. arriving at full legal age. That was it, so I thought. Then, I faced turning 30, a tough one, especially since I was a part of the protest generation that claimed people over thirty were out of touch. Our credo was, “Never trust anyone over thirty!” All of a sudden, I was one of them. 

Along came 40, old age I thought, but whitewashed by the slogan, “Life begins at 40,” helping people to ease through the passage. Then came 50. A new slogan emerged, “Fifty is the new forty.” Then, a few more passages, each of which I assumed was the last (turning 60, retiring, signing up for Social Security).

All done? No! Those life alterations just keep coming. My latest one was a surprise. I had to switch to a “girls” bike. The dealer called it a “step-through bicycle,” but I know the truth. It’s a girl’s bike. I also know that most girls (women) don’t ride girl’s bikes anymore. They ride the same bikes men ride, with a straight bar across the top of the frame. The name of the bikes we call girl’s bikes, should be called old coot bikes. 

I used to sit in the front window at Carol’s Coffee & Art Bar and watch Ray Thompson, well into his 90’s, pull up to the barber shop on a girl’s, vintage, three speed, English bike. I thought he rode it because it was something he picked up at a yard sale and didn’t care if it was a girl’s bike or not. But, now that I am a proud owner of a similar vehicle, I think he probably chose it on purpose. 

I chose mine when I started to have trouble swinging my leg high enough to get it over the seat when I got on or off. It was beyond my flexibility limit. The seat is 39-3/4 inches from ground level; my reach is several inches lower and falling. I eventually caught my heel on the seat getting off a few weeks ago; it sent me into a tumble, ending in an embarrassing sprawl on the sidewalk with a sore hip and a bloodied knee. Then, a few days later, I did it again. I’m not sure if it was fear of public humiliation or fear of mortal danger that sent me to the bike store to buy a “step-through” bike. “A rose by any other name is still a rose.” Thus, a step-thru bike is still a girl’s bike. As a friend of mine used to say after any mishap or disappointment, “It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye!” He was right. A sharp stick made it into my eye in 2003. Riding around on a “girl’s” bike is better.  

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