Being new to the world of cycling, I have a few inhibitions when it comes to riding out on the open road alone. The truth is I simply do not trust drivers, whether I am in my car, on my feet or on my bike. I never assume drivers will make the smart or right choice, and so far that has kept me out of trouble on the road.
I prefer to ride my bike in mostly traffic-free areas or with a buddy so that at least with two of us out there we might be more visible. Still, those two things are not always readily available, and if I wait around for one or the other, I may not be able to ride as much as I would like.
One available option when desperate for a ride is that of the neighborhood loop. For "real" cyclists, this would be hilarious. The loop is usually 3 miles, but I can stretch it into 4 when needed. It is very boring to say the least and with all the slows and stops, I can't really get a good rhythm going.
So Sunday I decided to try to be brave. I did part of the neighborhood loop and then when I approached an opening to a busier road, I exited. I was a tad nervous, but I rode steadily and calmly, turning right on another road still bordering my neighborhood.
As I approached another entrance to my neighborhood I told myself to be brave and go straight. Going straight would take me on a much longer road, and then I could make a huge square that would eventually bring me back home. I approached the entrance...and I turned back into my neighborhood. "You are NOT brave," I said aloud to myself.
I did the loop again, through the neighborhood and back out on the "open" road. I rode around the hood to the same spot where I had turned instead of going straight. This time I went straight, adding a good 7 miles to my very tiny neighborhood route.
When I finally approached that same entrance for the third time I was on mile 14. I turned into my neighborhood for the final time, but this time I gave myself a whoop and said aloud, "You ARE brave!"
And so I am. Today I will head out once again and who knows. I may turn out to be even braver still.