Happy Labor Day to all of my US readers! Hopefully, as you read this you are enjoying a relaxing day off from work. I unfortunately, am not lucky enough to have the day off today. But before I head off to work, I thought I’d let you all know that yesterday was the day! I no longer have to walk with my head in shame for I am now among the brave. Sit back with a cup of coffee or a mug of tea and let me tell you all about it.
Over breakfast yesterday morning, my husband put down his coffee, set his hand gently over mine and looked deep into my eyes. He said, ‘Honey, I think that today should be the day. You’re forty-one and I think it’s time that you stop putting it off.’ I was hesitant (as usual) and started thinking of excuses as to why I just wasn’t ready yet, but in the end I knew that he was right. I took a deep breath, and agreed. It was time.
The only proof I have in my possession that it even took place are a few embarrassing photos along with surprisingly achy legs – well, that, and my behind is still pretty sore.
Hmm…that description sounds a bit misleading (and a tad vulgar, while I’m thinking about it) so why don’t I just hurry up and tell you what I did:
Yesterday, at approximately 12:20 PM EST I learned how to ride a bike!
We headed off towards our local State Park. Things were going along just fine until we got to the above sign that pointed to the bicycle rental. Since it was Labor Day Weekend, the park had tons of bike riders – from the little two-year old on her pink Big Wheel to a 70+ year old grandfather; they were everywhere! When we parked at the General Store, I noticed racks and racks of bikes outside. Just beyond that were hoards of kids eating ice cream cones and Mountain Dew Slushies at the nearby picnic tables, their bikes all lying in a heap on the ground near the picnic tables – which happened to be facing the lot where people go to give their bike a spin before renting it. My husband parked the car, gave his hands a clap and said, ‘OK! Let’s go pick you out a bike!’ My response a very calm, ‘Um…no.’
‘Why not?’ he asked.
‘Because I don’t want to learn how to ride a bike in front of all those kids who’ve obviously been riding since they were old enough to walk and can obviously ride circles around me. They’ll all laugh at me!’
Oh, my God. I was talking like an 8 year old.
‘C’mon…you’ll be fine. Those kids are going to leave as soon as they eat their ice cream. By the time we pick you out a bike, they’ll be gone.’ and he headed towards the bike racks before I could utter another whine.
As I approached the series of parked bicycles, my only demand was that I could touch the ground while sitting on the bike. I sat on several different styles while my husband went alongside and lowered each seat as far down as it would go. By this time, a man in his early 50’s – we’ll call him Bike-Rental Guy – came out of the store and asked if we needed some help.
“Oh, we’re just trying to find a good starter bike for my wife, here.” said my husband as I awkwardly waved at the man.
“Been awhile since you’ve been riding, huh?” said Bike-Rental Guy.
“Well, no. This is my first time.” He just stared at me in bewilderment. “Really?” he said.
“Yep. I even brought my camera to record the event.” I said, and shook my camera bag at him.
“You know,” he said, “A woman from Chicago brought her 16 year old son out here last summer. Said he’d never been on a bike. They rode around in that parking lot there for over 4 hours. That kid fell so many times, he had cuts and scrapes all over. His Mom looked at me and said, ‘I’ve got all day and we’re not leaving until he learns to ride a bike!’ He eventually got the hang of it…..kind of.”
I nodded my head and smiled as I was sure he must have told me that story to make me feel better….um, right?
Moving along, my husband and I found two bikes that were as good as any, I guess. We went into the General Store, filled out our paperwork, left some ID, and headed out the front door. Right before the door shut, I heard Bike-Rental Guy say, ‘We sell band-aids and Antibiotic cream if you need ‘em.’
First off, I have to say how great my husband was during all this. Encouraging, supportive; my own personal cheerleader. He took all of the photos while I spent all of my time concentrating on not falling.
Here I am, all relaxed prior to my first spin:
By now some of you may be wondering, ‘Ellen, you don’t know how to ride a bike? Where on earth is your helmet??’ I opted not to wear one since it had already been predetermined by me that I was not leaving the bike lot area. That, and the fact that knew I’d be moving along at a snail’s pace, so Worry Not! A helmet will definitely be replacing my ball cap when my ventures take me past the parking area.
OK, here are the nail-biting photos you’ve all been waiting for:
Kidding! Just kidding! I did not fall due to my magic hand-waving trick. My husband thought it would be funny to pretend that a runaway bike mysteriously cut me off and then landed on top of me. No bloggers were hurt in the above photo.
So, let’s quickly recap:
I caught on fairly quickly. Well, by the time we were finished my balance was pretty good, anyway. However, even though I tried repeatedly, I couldn’t get the hang of turning in circles; I kept feeling like I was going to fall over. I don’t want to brag or anything, but I must say I’m quite the wizard at bicycling in a straight line.
I had fun. Kind of. In all honesty, I was so focused on trying to stay upright that I couldn’t relax long enough to call it enjoyable. I was seriously white-knuckling the handlebars so badly that my hands ached by the time we called it quits for the day.
I’ll be out there biking again! I think I need a better bike, though. The seat was making my butt ache after the first 10 minutes and I noticed my lower back beginning to hurt a little (which was my real worry) but I think that if I had a bike that was fit more for ‘me’ I’d ride a lot more comfortably.
Well, there you have it. Pour forth your bicycling adventures or advice for this newbie. She’s got a lot to learn.
…….many thanks to those of you who entered my Smartwool Socks giveaway on Friday. I numbered each commenter in order of comment posted (minus my non-US commenters and those whom did not wish to be entered) and then gave Random.org the task of selecting the winner.
And the winner is: Lucky number 4: Marsial! Email me with your mailing address by 9 AM EST on Wednesday morning and I will send out your Smartwool socks this week. Congratulations!
To the rest of my readers, there are more prizes coming; just keep a lookout for more Memory Lane Posts throughout the month of September!
See you all on Wednesday!