The Pansy Ride

That's pretty much what I felt like when I got home. No, actually that's what I felt like during the ride.

A big old pansy.

Probably because that's pretty much what I am. My level of physical activity in recent weeks, er, months...years (?) won't even register on a scale of any sort. Unless you count the numerous trips up and down the half flights of stairs in our tri-level home. Right. I didn't think so.

But the weather here in beautiful Colorado has been gorgeous lately. And last year - sadly - I never even got the bike OUT, let alone ride it. The dream of riding everywhere, saving money, getting exercise, not contributing to carbon monoxide pollution . . . well, that pretty much stayed packed away along with the bike.


So this year I decided it will be different. I asked John if my bike was easy to access. Yes, it was. So he was sweet enough to get it out for me (remember - I'm seriously out of shape!). After taking some more apple blossom photos, popping in the house for a little bit, and checking my email and facebook, I told the boys I was going to the store. Yes, I had keys and purse in hand. And then I remembered my bike. And I looked at the beautiful day. And I changed my mind.


So I grabbed a rag and went outside and wiped two years' worth of dust off, got a water bottle, and told them I was taking a bike ride instead.

Oh yeah, the tires were a little low on air. Never fear, I have a handy-dandy pump attached to my bike. So I promptly pumped some air in and started off across the back yard. But when I arrived out on the sidewalk, I looked down, and to my dismay, the tires were a little on the low side.


Side note: I'm pretty sure my arms and shoulders will be crying tomorrow because of using the handy-dandy pump. So I rode around front and promptly let my dear husband use his air compressor to fill my tires. Turns out that was a good thing. They should be filled to 100 psi. I only managed 50 in the back and 20 in the front with the manual pump. I wouldn't have been able to hold onto the handlebars had I actually filled the tires completely. Then if I wasn't well-balanced, I'd have fallen in the street with no strength in my arms to catch myself. That wouldn't have been good at all. So you can see how letting John air my tires was a much safer option.

Tires filled to 100 psi? Check.

Helmet securely on my noggin? Check.

Water bottle in my basket? Check.

Phone, ID, and a couple bucks in my pocket? Check.

And I was off. Sailing down the street with nary a care. The operative word here being down. We live at the top of the neighborhood, as it were. Not that it's an enormous incline or anything. In fact, if you were driving, you'd hardly notice. But it's noticeable when you're on a bike. Primarily because you don't have to pedal. Ever. In fact, you better be getting on those brakes before you get to the stop sign. Which came up pretty quickly, given all that downhill momentum on 100-psi-filled tires.

Made it through the stop sign, onto a slightly busier street and headed west...or something. So far, so good. And then I turned to come back up into our neighborhood. The operative word here? UP. And by up, I mean minimal-barely-detectable-in-a-car incline. But for an out-of-shape, scary-how-old-I'm-getting me, it about killed me.

{okay . . . for those of you who KNOW where I live and KNOW where I'm talking about riding, you can get up off the floor and stop the howling laughter, RIGHT NOW! Let's see you be in my bad shape and do better.}


So I'm huffing, puffing, and pedaling up this great incline past all the little neighborhood children out playing, thinking how much I really need to stop and breathe a little, but also thinking how pansy that would be, given how little I've actually ridden. And then it occurred to me. These children don't know how long I've been on my bike. Nor how far I've ridden. Perhaps I'm on the last leg of a 30-mile ride back across town, for all they know. In fact, these children don't know anything about me, except I'm the overweight lady with weird hair cruising by. Although I doubt they even noticed that much. Because really, when you're a kid playing outside with your friends, do you even pay any attention to some woman riding up your very steep street? Probably not. And even if they did, why did I care what they thought of me? Clearly, the lack of oxygen to my brain was causing me to think irrational thoughts.

So I once I was clear of the children, I pulled over and downed some fresh cold water. See, forcing myself into exhaustion is good, because then I'm very thirsty and then I will drink the water that I otherwise don't intake much of. And I practiced deep breathing again. After my nice little water and oxygen break, I was off again. I made it all the way up the rest of the mountainous climb, around the corner and toward my house.

I'd probably been gone for all of five minutes. Okay, maybe six. Seven at the absolute most. Go home already? Sheesh. What a sissy thing to do. So I passed my cul-de-sac and went around another little portion of our neighborhood. At least I had the foresight to take the long way for the downhill part, to ensure that the uphill part was shorter.

I made it all the way back home, up the second less-than-enormous climb.

I may have ridden a mile total. Or not.

No matter.

At least I rode.

And now that the bike is out, clean, and has 100 psi in its tires, I may even do it again.


p.s. - My mom keeps asking me to go to Zumba with her. Yeah, right. I would obviously drop on the floor in the first three minutes and remain there for the rest of the session, possibly tripping up the other Zumba junkies. Which could cause great damage to me if they fall on me.

Maybe after a few hundred bike rides...

p.p.s. - The photos were all taken before the de-dusting. It's much prettier now. Because that really matters to the content of the story, right?


Pam said...

HAHA....HOHO... Mountainous incline...(laughing more)....I had not even noticed that there was (if you say so) an incline near your house at all!!! HAHA!!
Seriously tho...I applaud you for taking your bike out, making that maiden voyage and BEGINNING your summer bike rides!! You GO Girl!! Keeping riding...and keep track of the miles. You will be amazed by the end of summer how many, many miles you have riden. And each one will get easier and easier. I KNOW it will!!

Kristal said...

That is hilarious! But good for you for getting out for a ride... now just keep on keeping on! Love that last shot!

Bicycle Parts said...

No worries, you'll conquer that incline soon! Here's to better biking moments and better health!

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