I’m not the most refined writer in the world but you can’t say I bury the lead!
On Wednesday afternoon, I headed out for my first double digit ride! Wahoo!
As I continue to gain confidence on my lovely bike, I’m sticking with the multi-use path around Bay Farm Island. I look forward to exploring new routes soon but for now, my beautiful (flat!) shoreline path is perfect. The day was absolutely gorgeous. The moment I began to ride, I knew I wanted to take on my first “real” ride and do two loops.
I thought I timed my outing to encounter minimal pedestrians.
I rounded the bend to the bicycle bridge at the *EXACT MOMENT* that 50 middle schoolers zoomed towards it. It was like critical mass but CHILDREN. Talk about terrifying for a new cyclist! Oh also, the drawbridge was up. Basically nailed it on the timing. The bridge clogged with tweens and one boy turned to me.
“Just one of those days, isn’t it?” he said with a smile.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA. That 40 year old middle manager in a thirteen year old body totally made my day.
At the end of the bridge, you have the option to go either right or left around the island. I let all the kids go before me (age before beauty, natch) and saw them all go to the right. PHEW. I got to the end of the bridge, turned left, and had the beautiful solitude I hoped for.
The weather was perfection. I felt happy and comfortable.
Let me repeat that. I felt HAPPY. And COMFORTABLE. ON MY BIKE!
Things have changed significantly since I started holding the hoods instead of the hooks of the drops. I initially felt more secure in the lower position because I could reach the breaks more easily. Now that I feel like I have access to the breaks from the hoods, I realize it’s a million times more secure because my handling is much improved.
Okay, okay. Getting to the good stuff. So I rode around for awhile, happy as a clam. I was going fairly fast when uninterrupted (around 16mph) and I even started to get tired! I played around with different gears and started to get a sense for what felt “right” and what felt too hard or too spinny. Cruised along, enjoying the breeze. Stopped a couple times for water.
(By the way, water on the bike? Totally unsatisfying. I want something yummy! Thinking of experimenting with this Nuun that’s so popular with the sporty kids. Or just put Diet Coke in my bottles. Don’t you judge me!)
Approaching the bike bridge for the second time, I felt happy and proud. That was a legit ride! There is a fairly steep but short incline that leads to the bridge. A man was walking in the middle of the path and I knew I wouldn’t have enough space on either side of him to comfortable ride uphill. Well in advance, I called out:
“On your left! On your left! ON YOUR LEFT!”
He didn’t move. As I was halfway up the hill, I’m not exactly sure what happened but suddenly I was on the ground and my bike was mounting me! The man turned around, looked down at crumpled girl with what I’m sure was a hint of a smirk. “Sorry about that,” he said. Um, really? My irritated and incredulous retort was “are you?” Obviously he was aware of me and heard me coming. He made the executive decision for both of us that I had plenty of room. He’s fired.
I HAD MY FIRST FALL! It was really no big deal at all. Literally not even a scratch. In fact, I was banged up much worse when I fell running a few months ago. I popped back on the bike and finished the ride. For some reason, I felt really confident and awesome getting back up on the bike. I *needed* to have that first fall to work through the fear that challenges me as a new cyclist.
It was an awesome ride. I feel like each time I go out, I feel like I grow significantly. BRING IT, TRIATHLON!
Tell me about your first spill!