My First Ride

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.


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