It’s sassy! It’s red! It is my new bike!
I took the afternoon off work on Tuesday, and Jason and I spent a good two hours at Madison Cycles as they attached narrower handle bars, watched me ride around the parking lot, fitted me for shoes, and asked what kind of pedals I’d like (although I’m not sure they are called pedals). I picked out some of those shorts with the big diaper-like padding in them and laughed at myself in the dressing room mirror. I don’t think I look as cute as Jason does in them, but they are WONDERFUL when sitting on that small seat so I will get over the hilarity of me in tight shorts.
They put water bottle holders on my bike and gave me two free bottles. We laughed about falling over for the first time, and I got nervous about my choice to use shoes that clip into the pedals (or whatever they are called). Jason drove my bike home in his 4Runner and as soon as we got there, I was ready to try out my new, sassy red bike.
Tuesday was fun and uneventful. I learned things like a ponytail and a helmet don’t mix and clipping in and out of my pedals (or whatever) is not as bad as I thought. I stopped at stop signs, rode uphill, sped around curves, loving every minute.
Wednesday, however, was another story. Despite the fabulous diaper shorts, my bum was quite sore, as well as my neck from Tuesday’s ride. I was determined, however, to get this body used to all things cycling, and so as soon as I got home, I rushed out the door to get in some time on my bike.
I practiced clipping in and out and changing gears when riding uphill and on flatter roads. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, and I noticed that there was a really loud clicking noise in certain gears, like the chain was hitting something. I hadn’t touched the gears in the back, so I decided to see what they did. Well…this was a mistake, but only because I’d been moving the wrong gears all along (according to Jason).
The chain made a loud noise and all of a sudden my pedals weren’t working. I almost fell over, but clipped out in time, and got off the bike to see what I had done. The chain had come off some of the gears. I didn’t know at the time how easy it was to slip the chain back on the gear so all I knew to do was walk the bike home. This was tricky however, because I had on my cycling shoes which make walking awkward.
A little girl playing on her scooter along the sidewalk stopped a few times to see what I was doing. I grinned at her, and wanted to say something like “this is my second day…I really have no idea what I’m doing…” but I didn’t as she grinned back and scooted along. My hair was sticking out of my helmet in all directions. Sweat was dripping down my face and legs even though I’d only ridden about 4 miles. I took off my shoes and began walking down the road in my bright green turtle socks…and my diaper shorts… and my green helmet from 1999.
I jogged a little in order to hurry this experience along, and thought that barefoot running might not be so bad. The only passing vehicle to witness my gear-shifting shame was the UPS man. I gave him a nod as if to say, “I always do this,” and continued on my way.
I started to get a little annoyed because I’d already run 12 miles that morning and I didn’t want to be running, I wanted to ride! I really wanted to get in a longer bike ride to see how it felt. Plus, I didn’t know what I’d done to my bike and if I would need to take it in to Madison Cycles again…which would take time…which would get in the way of more riding.
Later that night, Jason gave me some tools to use if anything goes wrong on my bike and he showed me how easy it was to put the chain back on the gear. He also showed me which gears I’m supposed to be using, assuring me that no, my helmet did not make me look like an alien (or maybe it does, but everyone’s helmet looks like that). I told him I needed Cycle Maintenance and Use 101 and he said he’d show me all I needed to know.
So this is my new thing. I’m excited about my new red bike, excited about learning to ride it well, and looking forward to some small triathlons and long bike rides with my husband. I have a lot to learn, but I’m approaching it with a good sense of humor so at the very least, we will get some good laughs out of it. I’m looking forward to the new adventures this may bring my way, better fitness, and maybe even a slightly better shape to my backside, which I’ve always believed to be rather strange looking.