Today was my first bike ride in four years. Last time I rode, it was a bike that I borrowed without asking from the Coast Guard Academy's bike locker. Some friends and I rode five miles or so to Mirch Masala, an awesome Indian place in Groton. Both times we were going downhill on the Gold Star Memorial bridge, my bike started to accelerate, I panicked, braked too hard, lost control, and ate shit. We weren't going fast, I'm just exceptionally clumsy and gutless. But whatever, it wasn't like I had to worry about getting good at bike riding.
My boyfriend, Hans, is a bike rider. Last year, he rode the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. 202 miles... jesus christ. I sent him home-baked cookies and a good luck card. This year, he's riding the RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party!). He asked me if I wanted to ride it with him, probably expecting me to say "that's sweet of you babe, I'll send cookies", but I thought it might be fun so I signed up. The registration fee was $95... that should have been my first red flag. I started looking in local bike shops and their entry level, bottom-of-the-line, road bikes started at $750. Then I had to buy a helmet. Then I had to buy a tire pump. Then I had to buy water bottle cages. I don't even have a tire repair kit yet because I feel too sick to my stomach to buy another bike accessory this month. Also, I wouldn't know what to do if I got a flat so I'd be shit out of luck anyway. But, as of last week, I became the owner of a Giant Avail 3 road bike, in sangria/black. It looks nice in my apartment.
Anyway, I rode the bike today. A nice lady in Daphne said that she rides with a group every Wednesday afternoon and that they'd be nice to me even though I don't know the first thing about riding. I actually brought a fanny pack with me because I'm on duty this week and didn't want to leave my phone in my car. Good thing I didn't put it on right away because they all had bags strapped onto their bikes. Why do they make fanny packs, anyway? So yeah, I left the phone in the car and hoped it wouldn't ring.
I didn't think it would be as challenging as it was... I didn't get off the bike and walk or anything, but I really struggled (and often, failed) to keep up. They were so nice though, always glancing back to make sure I hadn't collapsed on the side of the road. Actually, they were a lot nicer than that- someone was always hanging back with me and giving me tips and encouragement. We rode for 22 miles through some really beautiful rural areas in Baldwin County, AL and I didn't eat shit, not even once. My first training ride is complete! My legs are pretty sore but not as sore as my lady parts.