Monday, September 13, 2010

Instant Karma/Bike Riding

I went on my first bike ride in more than fifteen years. It was scary and exhilarating and exhausting. And came with a funny story, which always works for me.

This has been a long time coming. My boyfriend is a skilled bicyclist, he can maneuver himself around on the thing like it's an extension of his body and he makes it looks effortless. It's very impressive. He's been trying to get me to bike with him for ten years, since we started dating, but I've always declined because a) I didn't have a bike that fit me, and/or b) my knees hurt, and/or c) I have terrible balance and am scared. But need for transportation more efficient than my feet and less expensive than my car made me rethink it, and several months ago I finally told my so thrilled boyfriend that I was ready for a bike. Then he started building me one.

I know, BUILDING it.

A note about my boyfriend, and our relationship: We are freakishly symbiotic. We have a few things in common, like a silly sense of humor and a love of sci-fi, the beach and good food, but in most ways we are total opposites. He is mechanical-minded and extroverted and impulsive, while I'm more cerebral, introverted and methodical. He knows how to do EVERYTHING I don't, and vice versa. So, yes, my boyfriend can build me a bike, and I can barely stay on one.

After months of anticipation I finally got on it last night. I had several false starts as I tried to find my bearings. Balancing is harder than I remember. I found that I am much more comfortable starting out with my left foot, but it's my left knee that gives me more trouble, so that was a little frustrating. And we had trouble finding a good compromise between the bike being tall enough so I can extend my legs while pedaling but short enough for me to get off and on without pulling a groin muscle. This is definitely going to take practice.

So, I finally got up on the thing, and moving. We went a few blocks and I practiced changing surfaces, turning, and not veering off into the gutter. I was starting to feel more comfortable, but was getting tired so we started back home. I was in the lead with the boyfriend a few seconds behind me, watching my six. Suddenly, a dark figure lunged out at me from the dark, "ROOOOOOAAAAR!" and then stepped back, laughing. It was a young teenage boy with a skateboard, backed up by a few of his friends. I recognized his intent a split second before he shouted, so he didn't startle me much, and luckily I was earplugged up on that side so I managed to keep the bike moving in the correct direction. But I did mutter a mild profanity and jerk a little, which he laughed at like it was the funniest thing that had ever happened. As I passed them I felt irritation, but only briefly; they had won the first round, but I had an ace in the hole for the next.

The boys laughed gleefully as they watched me teeter away slowly and took no notice of my boyfriend as he approached them from behind. Once he was nearly on top of my attacker, he turned the bike sharply and shouted, "AAAAH!" in the kid's ear. The boy gave a high-pitched shriek and fell backwards, flailing all the way. His friends roared with laughter, this time at him.

My boyfriend is so romantic. I swooned. And cackled all the way home.

So, we only went about a mile, but I used muscles that I haven't in ages, and my head is totally done. But, I really liked the breeze in my face, and it's been a long time since I felt that sort of freedom.

I can't wait to get back on.


Tricia said...

This is awesome!

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Your boyfriend is great! Hope you have fun with more bicycling - raises the endorphins supposedly!