Saturday, July 13, 2013

Auntie vs. the Bicycle: Round 1

I still remember my first bicycle.  It was a purple/maroon color with a white seat and training wheels.  It was the best Christmas EVAR (O.K. I was six years old at the time, cut me some slack).  I thought at first that I would never get the hang of riding well enough to get Daddy to take off the training wheels (stabilizers for my UK friends).  I'd ride, and fall, and ride, and crash, and ride, and scrape my knee/elbow/face/back etc... all without too much ceremony.  Frustrated wasn't the word for it; mad enough to cry was more like it, but I did eventually get the hang of it and wore the training wheels slap out.  One problem:  though the wheels were so worn that they didn't even touch the ground anymore, Daddy still wouldn't remove them.  So, one day while my dad was gone, his best friend took mine and his son's training wheels off.  Sneaky, I know, but I got what I wanted without getting into trouble with my parents.

Ever since I learned to zoom on two wheels, I've always enjoyed bicycling.  No matter what size I was, I could always at least ride around the block or up the street a piece.  As much as I like riding, I've only owned three bikes in my lifetime:  the first one I just described, a blue one I got when I was ten, and a green mountain bike I got my senior year of college (I sold it the minute  I got a car).  The bike my dad found in the trash that didn't have any back brakes, that I nearly broke my neck on the few times I rode it does not count!

Thanks to a blessing from friends, I now have bike #4, which happens to be a purple/maroon color.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT! (da-dum!).  I also have a helmet that fits (a blessing in itself since I have a big head and thick hair), a water bottle and holder, and a whistle (in lieu of a bike horn).  I've had the bike for couple of weeks, but scheduling and weather have kept me from riding.  But today, I was ready.

My plan was to put the bike in the trunk of my car, bungee the trunk down, and take the bike to the Ladiga Trail, ride a while, and drive it all back home.  Perfect plan...until I tried to put the bike in the trunk.  Now granted, I'm not good at physics and spatial relations are difficult for me.  However, since my bass guitar won't fit in the trunk of my Honda Accord, why the Sam Hill did I think a bicycle would fit?  (Lord, help!). 

So, on to Plan B, which was to ride the bike down Gardner Drive in Jacksonville to Church Avenue and back (about 2 miles).  I would consider the ride a success, but I need a different plan.  This plan has several problems:

Problem 1:  I got hallway through the ride and realized I'd forgotten my helmet!  WTC?!  Never again.

Problem 2:  Because I wasn't on the trail, but on a public road, I didn't feel safe (even before I realized I didn't have my helmet).  I white knuckled it the whole ride.  My hands still hurt.  I'm going to have to save up for a bike hitch for my car (or a pickup truck), so I can take the bike on the trail to get more proficient at this.  I wish we had bike lanes on our roads like they have in California.  I know, don't EVEN say it.  :) 

Problem 3:  The ride down was great because the road slightly declines.  So that means that the ride back was on a slight incline.  I did make it all the way back to the old Eastwood School (about a block from where I live) before I had to get off the bike and walk it the rest of the way.  I need more practice at balancing myself and gaining better stability on the bike (where are those bloody stabilizers, gov'ner?).  I also need practice on how and when to change gears on the bike.  I was going to try to gear up the bike to better handle the incline, but couldn't remember how and I didn't dare look down and take my focus off the road.

All in all, a good first attempt.

Auntie: 1  Bicycle:  0


  1. Sounds like you did great, despite the trunk trouble. You are SUCH a persevering fighter!!! I hope you come to love cycling around. Watch out for the hills. I remember them.