Wednesday, April 11, 2012
So, apparently, you can forget how to ride a bike. I'm living proof of it. Until very recently, the last time I rode a bike was 20-plus years ago. It's never really been an issue until about a month ago, which is when I decided to make an effort at re-learning to ride a bike.
What an embarrassing and frustrating experience it has been for me.
I am just plain scared to be on a bike. Especially here in Southern California. There are so many cars and people. I am afraid I will lose control of the dumb thing and crash into some poor, unsuspecting person. I am afraid of getting hit by a car or a bus; drivers are never watching for me as a runner, and I don't place much faith in their awareness of people on bikes. I am afraid of falling.
But, as I have discovered, I am not alone in my fear. I have other friends who are also apprehensive, but they are able to bike around Southern California on their beach cruisers. So, I guess there is hope. I also figured I would share a little bit about these bike riding trials in case there is another adult out there who is in the same boat. It helps to know you're not the only pathetic person who can't ride a bike well.
First of all, I loathe embarrassment, so I have been doing this all on my own, and without the help of B. I started out by riding my cruiser in the town home complex I live in because there's very little traffic, and I can't really tell if anyone can see me try to pedal and balance. Then I got ambitious and thought I could handle being out on the road. Ha ha ha ha ha
It did not go well.
Then I had Easter Break, and it seemed like it would be a good time to bike on the beach path because there would be less people out. The problem would be getting to the path. I would have to bike about a mile on a street with a lot of cars and stop lights. My friend suggested that I walk the bike to the path, and I followed her advice.
Walking my bike on the sidewalk is a bit embarrassing, and sometimes people look at me funny. That being said, the bike is actually teaching me to care less about what people (especially complete strangers) think.
The first time I tried riding on the bike path was a bit of a disaster. I tried pushing my sunglasses up while biking, which meant I needed to steer with one hand. Oops, totally lost control and veered to the left. Then there were all these people out because it was sunny. I turned around, in complete frustration and walked my bike back to a parking lot, and rode around there. It's amazing how heavy my bike felt once I started getting upset, but I didn't want my bike to beat me that day, so I also forced myself to ride around my block, just to push through the frustration and not give up.
Then I tried biking on a weekday, during the day, and it went much better. I still got off and walked my bike on parts of the path that made me uncomfortable (turns, slight inclines, whenever I have to steer through small spaces, but I made it all the way to Playa. I turned around when I steered myself off the path and onto the sand. This almost happened again on that same day!
Thankfully, that's it for now on the bike riding experiences. I'm surprised I have any skin left on the backs of my ankles now that the pedals have hit them so many times. We'll see how this goes.