Saturday, April 27, 2013

Miser Mom's bicycle transition

School's out.  Woo-hoo!  I'll have a bit of time to do some blog updates.

So, I'd planned to do my best to become a bicyclist sometime this year.  I bought a fancy-schmancy bike for way-too-much money last November, and gave it a name (the SPDM).  I promptly stored it in the front room.  And  left it there.

A rainy fall grew into an icy winter. And my bike stayed safely stored away.

And the icy winter turned into a stunningly beautiful spring, but training for the marathon took precedence over everything, including over the shiny, lonely bike.

And the weekend after I finished my marathon, finally, out came the SPDM for my first long-ish ride.  And I was all set to treat this as the first in a long series of attempts to master this bike.  But to my utter surprise, I was instantly hooked.  Instantly.   This was love at first sight (or first ride).  Shazzam!

My first ride with my friend Andy, we did only 16 miles.  It was the perfect distance, because I learned a lot -- not directly about bicycling, but about all the little stuff that goes into bicycling.  For example,
  • now I know how to use my husband's high-tech tire pump.
  • I need a different pair of sunglasses, one that doesn't keep sliding down my nose.
  • Canvas shoes don't cut it; my feet were icicles by the end of the ride.
  • I decided I want a longer handle-bar post.
But as for the riding itself, I had a blast.  At the beginning, we were riding through our bumpy, congested city, and I was tense (but more about the potholes than the about traffic, surprisingly).  After about two miles, we got out into rolling farmland; we sailed by chickens, sheep, rivers, and acres of fallow farms.  And I just had a fantastic time, shifting gears, figuring out how to move my hands from the grips to the top of the handle bars, standing up a few times as we went up hills, and even tearing down a huge hill toward the end.   As we whirred our way homeward, we were making plans for longer, regular rides, even challenging ourselves to do a hundred-mile-ride together before the summer is out.

And isn't that the way things often go?  It's not really doing something that's the hard part; it's transition that's hard.  Preparing to paint a room takes five times as long as painting it.  Moving to a different home is hard partly because of the unfamiliarity of the different home, but largely because packing and moving is overwhelming.  Even something as simple as going out for a run shows how tough the transition can be -- what really kills my own exercise resolution is that quiet time of staring out the window at the weather, wrestling with myself about whether to leave the warm bed.  And the longer it takes me to hunt for each stupid little piece of clothing, the more likely it is that the "bed" side of me will beat out the "run" side.

My second ride was 27 miles, at a faster pace than my first -- long and hard enough that my back hurt by the end.  But it was still a thrill, leaving me jazzed for more.  I've convinced my sons to ride to drum practice, doctors' appointments, and friends' homes.  I've splurged again, and bought proper sunglasses (March) and then bike pants (April).

I'll have a few more bicycle stories to share this summer, of course.  But I thought I'd make it public knowledge that me and the SPDM, we're an item now!


  1. Hurrah! What a great feeling for you. Thanks for sharing.