So I know what you're thinking, after the last post, I must be a bike riding pro by now. Well, if that's what you're thinking... you'd definitely be wrong.
I started out ok. Going a couple of blocks at a time before I would slightly lose control. The trick, I found, was to stay away from moving vehicles and people and most likely I would be ok. I mean sure, my calves were highly bruised from the peddles and not breaking correctly with the back peddle break. But bruises no longer phase me. With kickboxing, running, jiu jitsu, and all around clumsiness I find I often have at least 3 or 4 relatively large bruises. I think I've been desensitized to them at this point. The dark purple color appears, along with swelling, but I never really seem to feel the pain of them anymore. They're kind of like battle wounds. I'm pretty proud when I get a new bruise. It means I must have been working hard and failed and then kept on going.
Anyway, I found myself going out biking a couple times and just doing what I could. Hills. hills are tricky. Hills that I run everyday are like 80 times worse on a bike. It takes a ton of effort to push myself and a very heavy retro bike up a hill and I often have trouble with, balancing, steering, and effort all at once. And that's just going up the hill. Coming down the hill is MUCH more scary as my speed increases exponentially along with my level of fear. I'm always afraid I won't be able to stop and will come crashing in to something that I would have rather not crashed in to, because really who likes to crash in to anything.
Well, one beautiful September day with the weather in the high 60s and the sun shining brightly, I decided it was the perfect time for a bike a ride. I was off of work early and I still had about an hour before I had to head out to my kickboxing class so I hopped on my bike. And I was indeed cruisin!
I'm lucky to live in a beautiful, residential area that has nice side streets where traffic isn't really a thing. The streets are mainly used by the residents who live on them as they come and go from their households. It is common to not see a car for an hour or so. So, I took off on these back residential streets, my helmet secure to my head and my cardigan flapping in the breeze. It was glorious.
I went for over a mile... maybe even two... without stopping. I was feeling more secure in my turns and hill work but I was by no means a pro. Bike riding was something where I needed all my focus. At one point, my sunglasses were slipping down my nose and as I was riding I picked up my left hand to correct them. Big mistake. My bike went swerving and sliding all across the rode. Had there have been traffic, I definitely would have been road kill. To my surprise, I managed to stay afloat and keep on peddling. At that point, I was pretty sure I could tackle anything. The gravel roads were no problem. I could steer around pot holes. I was officially a bike rider. No one ever said I was a graceful bike rider but I was indeed staying up. And I was happy.
I must have looked like a little school girl as I flew through the neighborhood with my bike, my bell, and my basket, smiling like there was nothing that could stop me. Because that is what I thought... at this moment, nothing can stop me.
That was until I ran headfirst in to the back of a parked car. Let me tell you... that definitely stopped me. I'm not even sure how it happened. I was going down a street I had looped 3 times already. But on this 4th loop, something happened. What? I'm not sure. But next thing I know this park car was attacking me!! And my front wheel hit the car with quite a bit of force and I jerked forward and to the side. I fell hitting my head (good thing I'm never too cool for a helmet), falling to the side and my bike landing with breathe steeling force on top of me.
I whirled around like a caged monkey nearly throwing my bike off of me, scraping my side on the pavement, and looking around frantically to see if anyone had witnessed this 23 year old girl flying head first in to a parked car. To my surprise, and satisfaction, I did not see a single soul watching the ridiculous scene that just unfolded.
At this point the pain set in. I felt like I had been hit by a car... which technically I had. And my scrapes were slightly bleeding. Sad and defeated, I picked up my bike and went to inspect the car. After a good 10 minute inspection, I found no damage, thankfully, due to the fact I ran in to the bumper and not the side of the car. Whoever invented the bumper must have been thinking about accidents like this, surely. I thank them for this generous service to man kind.
So with slouched shoulders I turned to start the mile trek back to my house, because you're delusional if you think I was getting back on my bike that day.
And at that exact moment a little girl, no older than six or seven, on a bike came flying by me, riding with both arms out and open to the wind relying on her balance and momentum to keep her up and moving forward. As she approached me she turned her head, waved, and smiled as if there were no cares in the world
... and I'm pretty sure at that moment in time, I wanted to push that little girl and her smile right off that bike.