You know what they say about falling off a bike (or is it a horse). Anyway, you’re supposed to get back on right away.
So the next day I did another round about in the subdivision. It was a longer trip this time. Felt o.k. Then I got bold. “I should try riding on the main street,” I thought to myself. “How else will I get anywhere outside of this suburb.” Without thinking further I make a quick turn to the left, then right onto a busy street.
It’s one thing to say you should drive your bike on the same side of the road as traffic going in the same direction. It’s another to actually do it. The cars were coming up behind me. I started to panic. Not knowing if the car behind you will push your bike into the ditch or across the street into an oncoming car can be scary.
I felt my heart rising into my throat. I was swept away by a wave of panic. Caaann’t Brreeath…”Don’t!” I told myself. I manage to turn right, ride a bit further, then turn right again and I am back in the subdivision. I am in my driveway. I put the bike away.
I don’t ride the next day. Instead I ponder how I’m every going to get out of the subdivision if I can’t ride on the street with traffic. I drive around in my car and see people riding their bikes on the sidewalk. It may not be legal, but they’re doing it. “I can do that,” I think.
I am driving to my health club becoming hyper aware of all the sidewalks. One on the left. One on the right. None there.
The next day I put on a backpack and head out on my bike to my health club.
I have my MP3 player playing quietly into my ear to calm myself but I am slightly panicked about the thought of having to stop – slowly or suddenly. So far so good…Then I see it. There’s another bike rider heading my way; a young guy, no helmet (yes, I’m wearing mine this time and my head is a sweaty mess but I’m doing the right thing). I decide to stop and drop. I don’t fall. I wait for him to pass. Duh, dork. But at least I didn’t fall.
Further along the way there’s a young woman walking on the sidewalk with her back to me. As I get nearer I say, “excuse me” then mumble about being a bit shaky on the bike. She smiles and lets me pass.
I arrive at the club hot, sweaty, my heart beating loudly and my limbs shaking but I am elated! I lock up my bike, take out my gear and go inside. I want to tell everyone, but it’s the long weekend and there are fewer than a dozen people there and I don’t know any of them. Oh well, I know I did this.
I do a stretch and weight workout, then 20 laps in the pool. I get dressed, put on my helmet and go out to my bike.
“I really should take a photo of this for the blog,” I’m thinking. I take out my Blackberry and hold it way out in front of me and snap a photo. I get the top of my helmet. Ugh! I try again, and then I hear someone say “What are you doing?” Boy, he’s going think I’m nuts but I explain and he says, “Let me take the photo!”
He takes the photo. We talk about my blog. I give him the website address. I start walking away and say “don’t watch me please.”
Later he posts on my blog, “I know I promised to not watch you ride off, but I did :). You look very good on a bike.” I take that as a compliment.
When I get home I think, “I just did a triathlon” – bike, workout, swim (bike again). I post it on Facebook and get several LIKEs. I am really proud of myself. So proud, in fact, that I get on my bike the next day, ride to the gym, swim and ride back home again.
The entire bike ride is much more relaxed this time. I was not in panic mode…well, maybe a bit unsteady, but my heart didn’t beat too loudly. I think this is starting to feel normal. I hope that this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between me and my bike.
Thanks for sharing this journey with me.