My poor, sad bike has been hanging in my garage for a long time… too long. It has been neglected and passed over for most of the last year. Starting with me breaking my arm last December and then having surgery on an area that the bike isn’t too kind to, I just haven’t been able to keep it up.
My bike and I have a complicated history. I was so excited to buy it last year and to use it to train and compete in some triathlons, and I probably (read: definitely) spent too much on it, but if I was going to be riding a bike on the road, I wanted to do it right and to make sure that I had something safe and dependable. But then I ran into my biggest problem: I don’t have any friends who ride bikes, at least ones who live near me, so I have never had anyone to go riding with. And it’s kind of scary out there in the road, as I have mentioned before.
I have tried to get involved in riding groups, but my schedule has made that difficult. Previously, I was working at least every-other Saturday, so I am hoping that now that I am no longer doing that, that I might be able to find a group to go ride with. But since I have never had that, I have never felt comfortable out on the road.
This weekend, my cousin Thorin came into town from Florida. He has recently started competing in some triathlons, so he decided to bring his bike up so we could go for a ride together. I was very excited about it until I realized that I have not even touched my bike since before my surgery, which was at the beginning of June. Since it had taken so long for my surgery wound to heal, I was hesitant to get back onto my bike. Plus, I didn’t have anything or anyone pushing me to. So Thorin coming into town was just what I needed.
Yesterday, I pulled out my compression pants and wind jacket and got ready for a ride. The one thing I couldn’t find was my winter gloves (which any of you cyclists out there know is the WORST possible thing to not have), but I improvised. We went out to a trail that I have run on before, but never biked. I did know that they trail goes on for a while and is paved and have often seen other cyclists out there.
It was a little nerve-wracking to get back out there, especially with someone who has been doing some intense training recently, but it also felt really good. There’s a feeling you can’t quite explain when you’re on a bike, but it’s freeing. I have missed that feeling.
The trail was pretty good, even though I will probably try to find a better one for next time. It was a little narrow and it had a million cross streets that we had to stop at! In the end, we went right about 13 miles in a little over an hour. Not too shabby for someone who hasn’t been on their bike in over 6 months, if you ask me. We paced about 12 mph, which again, wasn’t too bad considering how many times we had to stop and wait at lights and whatnot.
What has been the most shocking part about this is how easily my body adapted. Yes, those last few miles were a little difficult and I had a hard time keeping up my speed, but the pain didn’t stop me. And today, I still feel good and am not walking funny, as I anticipated. I am glad to have broken my bike back in and I am hoping to keep up with more rides and that I am able to get more comfortable on the road. I guess all you need is a little push sometimes.