Penny Halfbike – My One Year Review

It’s our 1 year Anniversary! 12 months ago my Halfbike, since named Penny, was dropped on my doorstep and 45 minutes later I was out for my first attempt to ride. Catch up with my first several months riding here. There have been mistakes made and solutions realized.

One year later and I still love riding my Halfbike, the front tire is just beginning to show signs of wear. That’s a good thing. It’s a visible manifestation of my usage, the distances adding up, and time I’m taking to care for my physical and mental health.

Penny Halfbike sits comfortably in my genkan, helmet hanging from her handle bar, always ready for our next ride. I have few excuses to not go.

We ride for at least 3 – 6 days each week for 15 – 30 minutes depending upon the weather and my schedule.

Why Did I Purchase a Halfbike?

I don’t like to workout, I’ve never liked it. But I do want to do something fun and easy right from my front door.

It could be labeled a pandemic impulse purchase but I’m not impulsive with big purchases. I’d been searching for a way for me to workout in an easy comfortable way that would be fun enough for me to do it at least 3 days or more each week. Being a minimalist, I didn’t feel comfortable getting big equipment like a treadmill, or a rowing machine. Then I saw the Halfbike ad and remembered how much I really missed bicycling. Bike seats were uncomfortable and I just couldn’t do them any more.

I had never heard of a standup bicycle and after doing my research, I realized the Halfbike was perfect for my minimalist, bicycle loving sensibilities.

The learning curve is tough and I don’t recommend it for accident prone people. I’m a super cautious rider yet I’ve crashed several times and have returned home bloodied with scrapes and colorful bruises.

A beautiful break in my day

Still I ride. I enjoy it so very much when I’m out. I don’t ride for very long, I always have to remember I don’t need to go fast to get a nice workout done.

I like to go fast but I’m in the city, on narrow Japanese roads so I need to stay alert. Too many Oji-sans lackadaisically meandering all over the narrow roads has led to a few near misses.

The nearby park is a favorite place with its flowering trees, beautiful green space, iconic vending machines offering cold and hot drinks as the seasons pass.

My biggest adjustment to riding Penny Halfbike:

Where do I place my feet on the pedals? I’ve taken bicycle tours hundreds of miles at a time starting from the time I was 12. I know where on the pedals it feels best for my feet to pedal all day and how high I want the seat to be to maintain the ability to do so without injury for those hundreds of miles.

Penny Halfbike is different. I did try to go longer distances and slowly ramp up my times but I think it was so ingrained in me that my feet need to be in a specific position that I didn’t take into consideration I am not on a conventional bike. I did notice that my knees started to bother me. I’m a healthy weight and have never had knee problems before in my life. But I did find a solution.

My Biggest Mistake with My Halfbike

Penny and I have been running errands to the grocer’s and other shops picking up items. While * I * am of a healthy weight, the added weight of groceries in my backpack was likely the biggest contributing factor to the knee issues.

I’ve stopped carrying extra weight on my body and choose to hang a bag on my handle bars instead.

Problem Solved

I chose to take a bit of time off, the two coldest months earlier this year. Gave them a full chance to heal and reset my idea of HOW I should be riding. Going back to basic body mechanics I took the time to readjust my pedaling and don’t carry extra weight in my backpack.

Keeping things simple I’ve been smashing the pedals with a flat foot mostly centered and, knock wood, I am happy to continue riding with no residual pain in my knees.

Connecting w My Neighbors

Most rides are simply around the neighborhoods, around the parks, and small errands nearby. I feel comfortable riding with Penny but I’m still not an expert. I ride defensively as one would drive defensively. Japan is a country of seniors who drive as seniors do, walk in the middle of the narrow streets as there are no sidewalks, and bicycle as if they are invincible.

Passed an elderly man on an adult sized tricycle the other day and we connected with our affinity for cycling on three wheels.

The woman who stood at the end of my block and just stared and laughed as I was first learning grudgingly nods a greeting as I pass.

The tatami shop owner always waves hello.

I wave at the children who are fascinated and say, “Nani ga . . .?” as their parents shush them.

My Favorite Surprise

Halfbikes do well in the rain! Had a last minute errand I needed to do in the middle of the June rainy season. A 15 minute walk there and 15 minutes back in the pouring rain or 5 minutes each way w Penny. She did great! She trekked through the puddles and bounced over the slippery railroad tracks like it was a bright sunny day. Brakes worked well throughout.

There are tough days where Penny and I go for a good de-stress ride by playing in the puddles.

Today is another beautiful summer day, I’m off for another ride with Penny Halfbike ❤️

Published by Studio Deanna

Metals + Fibers + Writing