Jeff is a gadget guy. Not gadgets for gadgets sake. He’s a problem solver at heart. And a researcher. When he finally locates the right solution for something he pulls the trigger.
It’s been several years since Jeff bought a recumbent trike. He’d wanted one for awhile, and while I spent the summer of 2017 in Spain, Jeff found the one he wanted 8 hours away in New Mexico. A road trip ensued and he figured out a way to stuff it into our Audi TT and drive it home. He sent me a photo of his smiling face out on a ride. Happy.
I had never ridden a recumbent trike, and didn’t feel the need to own one. I have a few bikes for various purposes. That was enough for me. But then we stopped by that trike shop in Portland while back in the US visiting my parents in September of 2018. And the owner took us out on a test ride. It was a blast!! But how to get it home? It doesn’t fit in a standard bike box and airlines don’t know what to make if it. Besides, I had other priorities at the time.
But now it’s 2021. The past three years have felt like dog-years. So much has happened in such a short period of time. After all that, we are finally settled. Recovering from Covid has been a long, slow process. It is happening. But it’s time to start looking forward and at getting back in shape. Not just using home gym equipment and a yoga mat. Now that we are 50% vaccinated, it’s time to stop being afraid and get back outside.
Jeff is all-in on supporting me in this quest to regain endurance and cardiovascular health. To that end, he’s been doing what he does best – research. It turns out recumbent trikes are a great way to get, and stay in shape. And they are a lot of fun, too. So sticking with a program as I go along will be much easier. We can do it together and Jeff can keep an eye on me.
But finding a recumbent trike in Spain, or even Europe, is not as easy as in the US. Especially, not as easy as in Portland, where there are multiple places who sell trikes on the Eastside, and bike-shops like Starbucks. People in Valencia used to gawk as Jeff rode by on his in the Turia. So you know these machines are very rare here. And even if we did find a shop that sells them in Spain, finding one that has all of Jeff’s requirements is a needle in a haystack. But Jeff started sifting through the straw, and he didn’t give up.
Sometimes, Jeff is not as communicative on his purchases as one might expect.
‘I need to meet a guy to buy something.’ Has been a common regrain for the past 20 years. ‘You can come along, if you want.’
Much of the time I have no idea what he is picking up. He doesn’t volunteer this information, and often I don’t bother to ask. Rarely am I interested, until the final results of whatever he’s cooking up.
This was his modus operandi for our trip to Cordoba. Jeff had found a guy who had a trike he bought from a company in the US. It was in pristine condition, had every bell and whistle on Jeff’s long list of required bells and whistles, and was hanging, unused, in the dude’s garage in Andalusia. Jeff had been communicating with him since February. But provincial border closures, curfews, and sundry other regional and national Covid restrictions kept them from meeting up when we lived much closer in Valencia. The guy lives in a small village south of Cordoba, through narrow streets that challenged our car’s ability to squeeze between buildings. As Jeff drove, I did a lot of my only look through one eye, hold your breath, lift your right leg, lean away from the door and surely we won’t scrape the sides of the car thingy. It’s a scientific strategy. It works every time.
We met the guy and he was super cool. He even threw in all the spare parts, extra tires, etc. I promised to send him of photo of me riding it on one adventure another. And Jeff was prepared with tools to take it apart just enough to fit in the Audi.
Jeff had already ordered some parts to modify her, and they were delivered today. He got to work immediately and the trike was ready for my first shakedown cruise to the local village and back this afternoon. He treated me to an Aquarious water at the cafe for my efforts.
And now, I’m the proud owner of a trainer so I can ride on the patio to build up my endurance. Riding a trike involves different muscles than a traditional bike. Muscles my body has forgotten it possesses since March of 2020. So I have some work to do. But it goes fast down our little lane and is a lot of fun! Even the neighbors approve. The old lady on the corner, sitting on her stoop dressed in black, is a one-woman neighborhood-watch program. We turned her head going by. On the way home I got a smile and a wave. I’m pretty sure we made her week and could almost hear the voice in her head – ‘What are those crazy Americans up to now?’
So the 36 hour trip to Cordoba was worth the surprise. Our reputation in the neighborhood as perpetually strange is fully intact. And, thanks to el Jefe, I have one more tool in my recovery tool box.