Wednesday, April 9
Yesterday I bought myself a bike. I'm the wrong person to be able to tell you the specifics. It was a craigslist find, it fit me, was decent condition from what I could tell, and it wasn't ridiculously expensive. But still, knowing next to nothing about bicycles, picking one out on my own was bound to be a little risky.
I haven't owned or ridden a bike in ten years. When I was a kid, before I could legally drive, my best friend and I would ride our crappy little mountain bikes all over our hilly town that was more or less the middle of nowhere, causing a bit of trouble and convinced that we were the toughest girls on bikes around. But yeah, TEN YEARS, and never having ridden in an area that was even close to be considered high-traffic, I was petrified. I told my roommates this, I told Giles this, but I'm pretty sure they didn't entirely believe me. Today I had some free time, and I decided that I would attempt to grow some symbolic balls, and sent Giles a vague message that included the words "bike ride," "later," and "maybe."
...And then soon after, he's at my house asking if I'm ready to go. Which I wasn't. At all. Oh, I should also point out that Giles was good enough to come over yesterday and safety inspect my new soulmate - he's pretty much my hero, and anyone new at this should have a bike nerdy friend, I'm not kidding. Anyway, I had no idea what was going to happen. I'm a pretty clumsy person in general, so for all I knew I could have completely lost all sense of balance in the last ten years. I could have fallen over immediately and it wouldn't have surprised me in the least.
Miraculously, this didn't happen. We went through some of the quieter streets around my house, and while I trust him entirely, when he led me to Islington Street, I was questioning his sanity a little. We went to the bike shop to get my tire size (my soulmate is imperfect, and he - yes, I've determined that it's a he - is in need of new tires), and then we were off again. I thought hey, we're just going to go for a short ride around town so I can continue to get the hang of this, but NO. Again, I trust Giles entirely so I was following him without question. This ended up turning into what I'm convinced was the longest first bike ride EVER, through a bunch of streets that I'm not familiar with and then out to New Castle. But I really loved it. Riding next to the ocean (which I love more than anything else in the world) with the wind in my face and everything around me being blissfully quiet.. it was the happiest I've been in weeks.
The adventure wasn't entirely without incident. I failed to make it up a hill, but whatever, at that point I was just thrilled about making it so far without getting hit by a car or making a complete ass of myself. I only made a small ass of myself, as we were riding over the bike/pedestrian lane on one of those bridges that have grated bottoms so you can see everything below you - those things scare the shit out of me when I'm on foot, it was narrow and I was still wobbly, and I totally hit one of the guard rails. Mildly embarrassing but fortunately for me, I'm past the point of feeling awkward about stupid things in front of Giles, so I just sighed at myself in frustration and continued on. And hey, now I have a sweet lump on my arm that I'm sure will turn into a bruise, and injuries are always impressive... right?
All in all, it was a good day. I have a good mentor. I can see this becoming addicting quickly - my legs ache, (tmi alert:) my crotch hurts, but all I keep thinking about is when I'll next have time to bike someplace other than work.