limping back into biking. well, more like cursing and falling a lot rather than limping…

I didn’t start driving until I was in my 30s.  Frankly, I missed out on the need to drive when I was a teenager because I could – and did – bike everywhere I needed to go, including work.

One of my earliest memories of a family outing is sitting in a kid’s sit perched on the back of (I think) my mom’s bike.  My brother rode in a similar seat on my father’s bike, and we were gliding down a biking path that seemed narrow and woodsy and more than a little wild.

Jump forward quite a few years ahead to my ability to ride – and decorate – my own bicycle, which I did for the 4th of July for the three years we lived in the small town of Berkshire Heights, PA.

bike 1baby nerds r us…I’m to the right

bike 2

totally won the following year!
(mostly because my bike was rained on and the streamer colours all ran together, which looked awesomely artsy but was completely accidental)
(still, yay silver dollar!)
Jump forward a few more years, and my siblings and I were all given 10 speeds.  Glorious day!  Mine was a bright yellow piece of poo from Sears – a Free Spirit, to be exact – and it tried to kill me on a regular basis.  Not a single pair of my shoes had toes on them because they served as my brakes.  I carried tools on me every time I rode to try to fix the drifting gear shifter or to realign the wheels in the desperate hope that I might actually get the brakes to work.And I rode the dang thing everywhere.  This was during the era when parents didn’t ask where the kids were going..just please, please get out of the house.  My home not being very homelike, I was much happier outside, exploring the local farms and construction sites.  The local boys sorta put up with me, and sorta didn’t – I was definitely the wrong gender to be tooling around on their dirt bike ramps – but we could more or less ignore each other.

When I moved to Philadephia, my mother gifted me with a very nice bike that was promptly stolen.  I stopped riding and started taking public transit, so I almost didn’t miss my bike.

Then I saw 30 approaching, and I lost my mind.  I decided I not only wanted to start riding again, I wanted to do a fundraising ride from Philly to DC.  300 miles, baby!  LET’S DO THIS!

I signed up for the Philly AIDSRide with zero training and a brand new $350 bike that was too big for me but that I loved madly.  I had it equipped with SPD pedals, which I also loved madly, but honestly between the pedals and the bike I’m not sure how I avoided breaking a leg.

bike 4“I agreed to *what*?”
I passed out from heat exhaustion (I think) on my first day at the halfway point.  All those rolling hills that cover Pennsylvania?  They are a complete bitch to ride.  There’s something, though, about being in the middle of friggin’ nowhere – no cab in sight – that makes you want to keep on going.  That and I’m a stubborn gal.  After I passed out, I wanted to keep going, but I was told I couldn’t.This brought me no joy.

Day 2, I only made it halfway as well…but I didn’t pass out.  Yay me!  All told, I rode about 150 miles in 2-1/2 days with no training, which is sorta kinda impressive.  Sorta.  (I’m still annoyed at myself for not making it further.)

bike 5..and I’ve always had those unfortunate arms…
I didn’t ride a whole lot after that.  Eventually, a haunt-related injury in which I dropped a theatre flat on my left foot would make it pretty impossible for me to use those SPD pedals – my foot would start to cramp up within minutes of being pushed into such a rigidly straight position….And then.

And then I married a man who encourages me and pushes me and pays attention to my babble.  He helped me get my bike rideable, lowered my seat so I’m almost able to touch the ground with my feet.  He swapped out my SPD pedals for the more reasonable ones I purchased, and he introduced me to the amazingly FLAT bike trails in Michigan.

First ride?  So. Much. Cursing.  SO MUCH.  And an embarrassing fear of going fast.  And oh my GOODNESS 5 miles felt a little scary. (To which my 30 year old self says, “HAHAHAHAHA 150 miles!!”)  (I don’t like my 30 year old self right now.)

But we’ve done a little longer, and I’m trying to take advantage of every chance to ride that I can.

We have a goal of doing a 35 mile ride…ya know, soon.  I’m mostly not falling off my bike anymore.  I’m starting to get more comfortable tooling around town.  It’s going slower than I’d like, but the best part is that it’s happening.  And it’s happening both with and because of Bones.

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