I wrote this when I first began cycling in 2008. It’s funny to read now so I thought I’d share.
Saturday, I went out with a friend to attempt my first long bike ride. She thought that our route was at least 20 miles and that I would do great since I’ve been training and/or spinning much more than her. However she’s done a triathlon and I haven’t! And she flew past me, as I suspected. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t go faster and why it seemed like so much effort. She thought that I needed to get the cycling shoes with clips – like she had. She also fell 2 times… trying to convince me that it was better to have them and yet difficult to get out of when you’re about to fall. Eesh.
The route we took was the service road of the freeway! It was also chilly and windy. Talk about a scary experience for my first time on the road (other than in my neighborhood). I couldn’t tell when there were cars behind me because they were all around me! I felt like I should have a rear-view mirror. (I have one now!) I nearly began hyperventilating going over a bridge. Wow. I was terrified but I learned quite a bit about shifting and what to do if your bike chain comes off.
When we got back home, I mapped out the route on a website called mapmyride and found that it was only 10 miles??!! My friend also noticed that my rear tire was flat. I took it to the bike shop to have a few adjustments made after our ride. The bike guy informed me both tires were flat. Well, no wonder I struggled! (I know you’re asking , “How could she not notice that?” Quite honestly, I never thought about it. I promise I’m not normally that clueless. It’s a new learning experience for me, there’s an overwhelming amount of things to think about and my brain is already overwhelmed with the rest of my life.)
I bought some shoes with clips at the bike shop. I sat on my bike on a trainer to try them out. VERY WEIRD! I don’t like being trapped like that!
For those unfamiliar, these bike shoes look like regular shoes but they have a clip on the bottom that snaps into the pedals of the bike. Your pedal stroke is stronger because you are actually working when pulling your foot up and pushing it down. I’ve heard it’s more efficient and you work different muscles in your legs rather than being isolated to the quads. When you lose your balance, however, you can’t simply put your foot down. You have to snap your shoe out of the clips. Otherwise, if the bike’s going down, so are you.
Bike guy had me try cycling around the store while clipped on one side of the bike. I fell. Twice. The second time I crashed into the other bikes on the wall. I was sore and humiliated thinking that everyone was laughing at me but instead they all gave me looks of sympathy. Everyone in the store was reassuring me that it was perfectly normal to fall and that I would probably fall more.
Great. Like a metaphor for life: you’re going to fall but you just have to keep on trying.
Keep me in your prayers, my friends.