GiGi – Giant Bike
When I was a kid, riding my bike was one of my favorite past-times. It meant getting away from my brothers and sisters. Getting away from chores. It gave me a sense of freedom hard to find in a household of ten.
It didn’t matter if my destination was Blanchette Park (to hit a tennis ball against the backboard), or Gason’s drugstore (to get mom a pack of cigarettes). I was free…with MY thoughts, dreams and ambitions.
I grew up in St. Charles, a river town, built on the bluffs of the Missouri River. There are a lot of hills. A lot. It was always fun riding down the hills, wind blowing my naturally-curly hair into a frizzy mess. Uphill was a little more of a challenge for an asthmatic.
Fast forward about 50 (yikes) years. I moved to Las Vegas about four years ago with only my Subaru full of clothes, and my bike, hitched on the back of the ‘Boo.’ My destination was dry climate.
After earlier surgeries to repair an Achilles tendon rupture, and two attempts at repairing torn meniscus in my knee, I was pretty much in pain all the time—until I spent a week in Vegas. Suddenly, there was hope of life without pain. The dry climate was calling me. And, I went.
Bike riding isn’t exactly the best exercise for a person with bad knees, tight hips, and atrophied muscles. But, when something like riding is in your blood, you find a way to do it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. (I had to give up kayaking too, but not any more!)
Giant offers an electric assist bike—Twist Freedom DX W. Affectionately known as GiGi to our little traveling troupe. It’s a “city bike with an ingenious energy source that helps propel you with a seamless electric power boost” (quoting their website).
It doesn’t move on its own. You have to pedal, but with far less stress on the knees. The battery packs are hidden in the saddle bags, with plenty of room left for water, chain/lock, camera, snacks, etc.
It has a flat carrier rack on top the saddle bags that I tie the kayak (Poly) to. GiGi , with a little power assist, allows me to tow the kayak to the river or lake at campgrounds.
Don’t tell GiGi she’s a ‘city’ bike. In Alaska, we traversed many gravel roads and dirt trails. We rode all over coastal fishing villages, sometimes in the rain. We rode to places the Cruise ship passengers could not walk to (hehe).
In New Orleans, we rode all over the French Quarter. Gosh, I love that place! There’s no way I could have covered the distance I did, in the amount of time I had, with the knees I have– without GiGi.
When I found out that the #1 item stolen in the French Quarter was bicycles—I got Gigi a little protection. A voodoo doll. Could be why we didn’t have ANY problems in the French Quarter–and, possibly the reason we had a ghostly visit later.
GiGi doesn’t mind riding behind Black Beauty, protected from the wind and elements. Although heavier than a normal bike, I can easily get her into the bike rack.
GiGi is my security blanket when we roadtrip. I can ride 75 miles with fully charged battery packs. Probably, a little less if I’m pulling Izzy and Spaz in the Burley Trail Wagon. Fortunately, we haven’t had to do that. Black Beauty takes good care of us!