Well, I have had my new shoes since Thursday and today is already Tuesday of the following week. It took me that long to get on the bike. So Friday I had a lot of baking and babysitting to do. Then on Saturday I was out fundraising and running (I just can’t say no to my weekly long run). I thought Sunday would be the day. Until I found out that there were 20 mph winds. Then on Monday it was super cold. I don’t know. I guess I was just waiting for the perfect conditions even though I have always said that you just need to suck it up and do it anyway. I just didn’t want my first biking experience to turn ugly because that would turn me off.
Tuesday morning finally came and I had my chance. My husband was home in the morning. Okay, so that meant I could sleep in while he got up to take care of get the kids. No, I forced myself to get up. For some reason it would have been easier if I were just getting up to go for a run. I suppose you just get comfortable doing one thing and you don’t really want to reach outside your comfort zone. Well, I had no other excuses. The temperature was reasonable and the winds were calm.
Before I headed out the door I had to get on the trainer one last time. My husband had to show me how to shift. He told me it was a lot like driving a car. Good thing I know how to drive a manual transmission. Yes, as I go faster I need to shift up. When I was picturing it in my head, though, I just didn’t really see how I was going to be going so fast that I needed to shift up. I was prepared for slowness. When I first started running I was slow. Slow, slow, slow. Then as I practiced I became faster. I really can’t expect to just jump on the bike and win a race… but I sure as heck would try.
I straddled the bike at the top of my driveway as my husband watched in anticipation. Okay, he was actually yelling at me to get inside because of a dog running by. This dog had been known to chase people in our neighborhood. I suppose it wouldn’t be a good idea for him to chase me on the bike because I would most likely run him over and crash. I waited for the dog to leave and then I was off. Yeah, I made it down the street before I realized that I needed some more clothing. I know what to wear for every temperature when I run. I tend to run hot so I thought that I would warm up when I started riding until I realized that riding a bike causes more wind to hit you. Well, duh.
Jacket, check. Now I was finally ready to go. I had already decided to go in and out of the subdivisions. I knew that I didn’t want to go out on the main road. I also knew that I didn’t want to cross over to the other side of our community because that would mean going uphill. I love going up hills when I run and I think I might actually like doing it on a bike. However, I know that I will dread going down a hill. That just scares the crap out of me. So, let’s stay away from hills for now.
Riding in and out of the cul-de-sacs was kind of a pain for me. It was good for learning how to use the shifter because I would constantly speed up and slow down. However, I just wanted to go faster and not have to stop, but that would mean getting out on a busy road. And I wasn’t even sure what to do at a stoplight. I mean, do people still use those arm signals? What if I wanted to turn left? I would be sitting there in the middle of the road with all of these cars around me. I guess I just kind of felt exposed. I knew I didn’t belong on the sidewalk, but I also didn’t feel like I belonged on the street.
I felt like I could go for a long time. I wasn’t even sweating so I wasn’t even sure if I was burning any calories. It didn’t seem like a real workout to me, but I think that would be different out on the open road where I could really get going. The only thing that stopped me from going more than 10 miles was the fact that I didn’t have any padded biking shorts yet and that my upper body was tense from leaning over in an awkward position. Yep, I obviously don’t have the endurance for that yet. Just like running, I would have to work my way up.
All in all, it was an okay experience and I will definitely get out there more. I feel a bit more confident about a triathlon. Now I need to focus on getting out onto the roads where all of the cars are. As I was driving today, I saw a cyclist wearing a very bright green jacket. Yep, that is a good idea. It looks like bright and ugly will become part of my wardrobe.