To Sell Or Not To Sell

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My Last Bike

My Last Bike

Wanting to up our exercise choices, Bill and I bought us a pair of bikes eight or so years age. We were both members of gyms and worked out on a regular basis. I also did some flat water kayaking on the peaceful river we lived on at the time. Never really a fan of gyms and exercising indoors, I was interested in being outside where there were no membership fees or waiting in line to use a particular machine.

We took our bikes with us when we went to the Outer Banks on vacation every fall, where there are bike lanes along a straight expanse of road. Traffic at that time of year is always light and I felt quite safe when riding there. Along with beach walks everyday, I was getting plenty of exercise, and I loved being out in the chilly air with the wind in my hair and the sound of waves crashing ashore in the distance.

The biggest problem with riding my bike here at home was that there were no great places to ride. Living out in the country, the roads were narrow and curvy, and we knew someone who’d been badly injured when she was struck by a car, as she was biking along one of them.

Sometimes I loaded my bike in my car and took it to a county park, where I rode. But after a while that seemed like a pain in the butt. We lived on a lovely cul de sac that was long enough to get some speed up and also had a few little hills. I happily rode back and forth, burning calories for a while until I got bored with that.

As many things do, the bikes started gathering dust when we weren’t at the beach. When we moved here into town, where we thought we’d ride them more, they took up too much space in our much smaller garage. Though there are some bike lanes here in the city, I’ve seen too many near misses to get up the courage to launch myself into the community on my bike. So, our nice shiny bikes gathered even more dust.Once ion a while we’d  haul them out, wipe off the cobwebs, and pump up the tires. They were ready for a spin around the block, which never seemed to happen.

Last year we decided that it would be best to sell them. We were too busy, or was it lazy, to make the effort to get them ready for rides we’d never take. This past week, Bill finally hauled them out, cleaned them up, and listed them on Craig’s List. I took one last wobbly ride down the driveway and back, just to be sure I wanted to part with my loyal stead. I decided my long morning walks were much safer.

But when the first call came in just after Bill had listed them, I felt very sad. It seemed like the end of an era and my youth. I felt older than my soon to be 72 years, and like I was giving up too easily on my need to stay young and fit.

My bike sold immediately. Bill’s is still in the garage, but I expect it to go soon. Feeling the same way I do, he and I mourned our losses together at Sunday brunch, over a scrumptious frittata, crab cakes, salad, and a Bloody Mary.

I have a friend, a few years younger than I am, who recently bought a new car. She was excited telling me about it. But the conversation ended when she added, “This is my last car.” I was taken aback. Her comment probably has something to do with the way I’m feeling about my bike, that isn’t mine anymore. I’m not that old, but the fact is I have to, “That was my last bike.” I do not intend to get another.

A few days later, I’m now thinking that it’s best that I did sell it. I wouldn’t want it to go unused and be something I’d trip over when trying to find something in the garage. I’m not giving up on my need to stay fit and young. I’m being realistic. I will not say that the car I have now, or that the next one I buy will be my last. But I am allowing myself to feel comfortable with the cross trainer in my studio that keeps me dry when it rains or snows, and the magical walks I go on when the weather is gorgeous.

DSCF0620Like right now. The sun is shining, the sky is cloudless, turning leaves are drifting down in a light breeze, and a flock of starlings are gathering in the trees for their long flight south. I’m putting on a sweater, and am heading out down the street. Selling my bike was not the end of an era. It was an end of a season and the beginning of another. There are many more still left to be lived … a little bit differently perhaps, but always as wonderful as ever.



  1. Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Joan.

    This makes me realize how fortunate we are, living at a crossroads in a small village and having lots of directions to take our bikes. David and I enjoy our rides. And we also have a van with the back seats taken out, so we can easily fit them into our van to go other places. David recently let me out at the top of a long hill in Vermont, and I got to “sail” down the hill. He then picked me up at the bottom of the hill. That is such a thrill for me!

    But my time will come too (in the not-to-distant future) when I will be parting with my last bike and buying my last car. It takes an aware person to be able to acknowledge such a thing. Thank you for being an example.

  2. Saloma,

    You are very fortunate, especially to have that van. If and when I want to try sailing down a long hill, (a thrill indeed), I’ll find a place to rent a bike.

    I remember the first time I “sailed” down a hill at the age of seven. At the bottom a patch of loose gravel slowed the bike too much and I went over the handle bars. Besides a few bruises I was fine.

  3. “…the end of a season, and the beginning of another.”

    Joan — I admire your healthy attitude. Just because you “finished one book,” doesn’t mean there’s not a whole slew more of them waiting to be read.

    Weather permitting, we ride our bicycles every day. BUT if we had to contend with vehicle traffic, we wouldn’t. Like you, we’ve actually witnessed and read about too many bicycle/vehicle accidents. Fortunately, we only live a quarter of a block from the Greenbelt which is specifically designed for foot and bike traffic only. No vehicles whatsoever.

    • Thanks, Laurie. I envy your closeness to a greenbelt. Our governing body here, has talked and talked and talked about something like that, but it doesn’t seem to happen. I do love bike riding and if I were in situation, I’d be out there every day, too!

  4. Joan, I love it that you and Bill drowned your sorrows in frittatas, crab cakes, and bloody Marys. And even more, I love your adventurous spirit as you put on your sweater and head out the door.

    The idea of the “last car “… or “last bike” is one I’ve been thinking about a lot. As I travel, I often think this is probably the last time I’ll visit Kansas. . . . The feeling is not as sad as it sounds.

    • Thanks, Shirley. No it isn’t as sad as it actually sounds, especially if you consider I’ve threatened to get one of those three wheel motorcycles. Sometimes when I tease like that it happens. I’ve got to be careful what I wish for!

      Seriously, those thoughts of doing something for the last time begin appearing as we age. It’s time to consider what the most important things are for us to be doing right now. For me living in the moment is first on the list. Riding my bike wasn’t on it.

  5. I can just see you and hubby riding a rented bicycle built for two along the beachfront while on vacation…wind blowing in your hair, smile on your face…no traffic in sight…a thrill to carry with you through a year in the Virginia mountains. Endings always make room for new adventures. I also believe that letting go requires a little (or a lot) of mourning along the way, recognizing what we value, what lies beneath the surface and gratitude. The trick is not to get stuck on either side of the fence! I think you’ve got that covered! Thanks for giving me something to think about today.

    • Dorothy, I’m happy I gave you something to contemplate today. Yes, there is mourning to be done as we age and realize things are changing. But new things do appear on the horizon as long as we stay open and curious. Giving up my bike isn’t anything I’ll get stuck on. Being grateful for what we’ve been able to do and accomplish throughout our lives is especially important to contemplate.

  6. Mom, I had no idea you were having this similar struggle…. I’m seriously toying with selling my bike these days…. but clarity it not something that is very abundant these days! Your post reminded me of the changing of the seasons (versus the giving up)…. thank you for that. I love you! xoxo

    • Lisa, You are actually the one who is teaching me the acceptance that has to come when we live our lives to the fullest. Even in lives where there is no chronic disease and youth abounds, things are continually changing, just like the seasons. Aging is very much like having a chronic ailment. It requires lots of self-care and being grateful for what we can do.
      I love you too! xoxo

  7. Martha Graham-Waldon says:

    I enjoyed this post as well as your others and I greatly admire your sharp looking website. As a newbie, with a book set to come out next year I’m trying to develop a platform and web presence to help market it. Who/what did you use to create this masterpiece?
    Martha Graham-Waldon

    • Thanks, Martha. I’ve never had my website called a masterpiece before. You’ve certainly made my day. As well as a writer, I’m a visual artist and basically designed the site myself. I chose the colors, the photos, and told Bob Dunn at how I wanted it to look. He put it together for me and I’ve enjoyed working with him.

      I wish you the best of luck with your book and website. Please keep me posted on your progress.

  8. Martha Graham-Waldon says:

    Forgot to request the follow-up email. Now I’ve checked the box 🙂

  9. This post was poignant, Joan. The fact that you’ve written this in fall, as the leaves turn colors and we begin to see the end of another year, makes it more touching. There are indeed many ‘ends of things’ as we put on more years; it’s important to remember there can be as many beginnings of things now, too.

  10. Carol,
    The beginnings and ends of things never cease. They are part of that great cycle we are all part of, the great continuum of life. Happy Autumn and thanks for your thoughts.