Biker chick, here (self-propelling variety), checking in from the fiery Northwest. We've only had a couple of small fires in our part of the region, but a visiting friend just made it through Utah and Nevada before the interstates were closed behind her. I suspect my journey home will not be as scenic as the drive I made in June, at least not until I hit the rain forests of Texas.
Now that I've actually ridden my bike, I'm pleased to report that she is as lovely in motion as she is sitting still. I've been on a few early morning jaunts, while it's still cool, and while I'm not traffic-worthy yet I am getting my legs under me. This morning I rode for an hour along a mostly shady, creekside path. Great birds. Friendly pathmates. Good decision.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm glad I listened to my instincts (and to the folks at Siskiyou Cyclery) rather than the buff young racer at the other store who assured me that "three speeds are really all someone needs for the kind of riding you're going to do." This could well be true if you look like the speaker. I've employed many of my 24 gears so far, particularly on the initial ride when I turned around and discovered why the first half of the ride had been so easy.
I'm meeting my old book group tonight to discuss Slaughterhouse Five. Hopefully this will lead to some substantive posts soon!