I rode Lori hard that day. Well, at least as hard as I dared. She is obviously well-past her prime. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a bit past my prime as well, so I needed to rest often. But after every break Lori let me climb back on top of her and ride her some more.
Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about Lori. She’s not one of those “fast” girls, but she did put out for me and I loved her for it.
I named the bike Lori. After all, she is a girl’s bike. Lori in honor of the stranger named Lauren who gave her to me. Lauren had driven past me hitchhiking, but didn’t stop because he was getting close to his turn-off. It was a long stretch of highway and nobody was stopping to offer a ride. I thought I heard a voice shout, “Do you want a bicycle?” I had to wait for a few loud cars to go by to confirm what I heard. I asked if he had a bicycle he wanted to sell. No, he had a bicycle he wanted to give to me. He had already gone to the garage to get the bike and bring it out to the end of his driveway to be ready when I walked by.
She wasn’t a pretty bike and she certainly wasn’t very young. Single speed. Pedal brake. I had no way to raise the seat so I couldn’t fully extend my legs as I pedaled. I can imagine what people were thinking as they drove past me. Some old guy wearing a backpack pedaling a girl’s bicycle that is too small for him. Fortunately, I don’t think anyone slowed down to take photos.
There are no big hills on that stretch of highway; but there are lots of little ones. Pedaling into a headwind took a lot of work going uphill. I found myself walking with the bike when the wind was too strong or the hill too steep. Riding when it was flat or downhill or the wind died down a bit. Walking, I average 2-3 miles per hour. With this combination of walking and riding I averaged 5-6 miles per hour. A definite improvement, but a pace that would not get me to my next destination before dark. Hitchhiking with a girl would normally increase one’s odds of catching a ride, but not with this girl. I had to give her up. I hope her new owner enjoys riding her like I did.