I am happy to report that I can ride Lulu with her seat up at the appropriate height. Yesterday I took her down to Sunset Marina for a nice, safe ride on the riverfront bike path, where falling wouldn't have to mean landing under the wheels of cars, trucks, etc. But it turned out I needn't have worried...there was no falling involved.
The tricky part, for me, was getting on. I have always swung my leg over the back of the seat to get on Lulu. At this point in my fitness journey, I deem that feat anatomically impossible with her seat up where she belongs. So instead, I stepped through in front of the seat, got up on the pedals, and sat once we were rolling. I think it's good that I rode "too low" all this time; I'm pretty sure that when I started with my *much larger* body, getting on her that way might have been frustrating enough to run me off of riding altogether. I either wouldn't have fit, or I'd have poked and bruised myself endlessly because of the tightness of that spot. Now I fit! So, you see...it seems there has even been a purpose in me doing it wrong all along (re: seat height), cuz now I'm permanently hooked on bicycling and wouldn't dream of letting a few owies deter me.
Stopping, too, is a bit of a challenge; I've always just put one foot down as I rolled to a stop. Now I have to coordinate dismounting with braking, as I haven't yet figured out how to reach the ground from the seat (I think it requires a bit more leaning than I feel coordinated enough to manage quite yet). Thus far it is manageable; I'm going to need to smooth both the starting and the stopping as I negotiate stoplights out on those mean streets. But I feel like that's possible.
Here's the most important thing about this change in seat height: the guy who fixed Lulu up was right! He said I would notice an immediate and dramatic improvement in my performance and stamina, simply due to that one change. I wanted to believe, but suspected he was overstating the case. But...people...WOW. Hills are sooooo much easier! I feel so much more coordinated and natural at that height. I rode the whole 12 miles with a big happy stupid grin on my face (except for the parts where I plowed through dense clouds of bugs...I clamped my lips pretty hard in those spots!)
Gosh. If he was right about that, then I guess I'm going to have to start taking more seriously his entreaties and my son's re: getting a lighter bike for longer distances. They say I'm wearing myself out unnecessarily, riding such a heavy bike, if I want to condition for longer rides. I've been *pishing* them on that one, but...well...let's just say my attitude is making a slow shift.
In other news, I noticed I'm buckling my belt at a substantially smaller setting. I hadn't seen a change like that in uhhh I don't know...4 to 6 weeks. So I did a little happy dance when I noticed!