...actually it IS riding a bike...a bicycle that has lived in the hallway of my loft for about the last 3 months. For 2 months it lived in a box that made it difficult to enter and exit the toilet, and for 1 month it has been parked, boxless, in all it's glory...because some lovely bikey people put it together for me at our local Mountain Equipment Co-op.
And on Monday, I finally got back on the bike.
On an absolutely beautiful and hot Canada Day, Vicky Voodoo and her beau, Julian, came over to whisk me away to Metchosin in the Element to ride the Goose in tree-y goodness. But alas, our fancy bikes did not all fit with the third seat in place. Which then put me into a state of panic...because of roads. And also, biking on them. Though the Galloping Goose is really very close to our place, all you have to do is cross Tyee and then turn right when you hit the smell of the best baguettes in Victoria.
The problem is, I haven't ridden my bike in 13 years. So, I did a little circle in our driveway....a-ha! Success. Then I pedaled up the street for a bit, and then my cycle seized and I couldn't move at all. Um...how did I break my bike in the first 30 seconds of riding it? Maybe it's the chain? I jumped off and fiddled around with it making my hands look very tough and mechanicky. Now, the chain is on. And...nothing. Luckily, Vicky Voodoo is an experienced biker (she is the sister of Captain Hindgrinder after all) who pointed out that my quick release tire had been quick released in the back. Yeah, that'll slow you down. Let's just put that on again, shall we? Done. And bikey ridey up the hilly again...and...OMG...how was I ever good at this? I feel the sudden urge to quit now. Instead I turn my head to look for my friends and I immediately go in a circle. Note to self: Don't turn head. No, wait...don't turn handles when head is turned. Could possibly lead to sudden traffic death. And, I am strapped into my pedals and that's making me nervous. This is no spin bike...can we put my bike on rails? Or blocks? How 'bout we go for a nice little walk instead?
On my request we scoot through the garage and walk our bikes across the street to the bike lane. Um...why am I in front? Sacrificial lamb? Climbing mommy and baby mountain goats? If I take a tumble, can they can just finish me off? Quick tyre over neck? I suspect it's so they can keep an eye on me as I have not ridden in over a decade. Good friends.
Here's something that added to my biking anxiety...other vehicles. Wow. I finally get why Victoria keeps adding bike lanes to streets. And, I would like to say that I fully endorse closing lanes to traffic and giving them entirely to bikes. There, I said it. Luckily we were just on the road for 60 seconds or so until we turned onto the Goose. Oh, glorious Galloping Goose!
Once off of the streets and onto the trail, I felt free...still remembering to keep head turning to a minimum so as not to land myself in a ditch. Going along the Gorge was gorgeous (did you see what I did there? Haha...), then off across the trestle bridge to Selkirk Waterfront. This is amazing, why didn't I do this before? Oh, yeah, because I couldn't. Losing weight and getting fit is like finding freedom. Sometimes I just run around because I can. And, in this case, I just biked down a lane on my tiny mountain bike with no Rock Shox because that guy 19 years ago told me: "You don't really need them for what you're doing." Tell that to my hands at the end of this spin, Carl! Jeeze...no feeling in my last two digits on each hand for about 3 hours! Where were we? Ah yes...FREEDOM...that fantastic feeling of flying down a trail for a couple of hours powered by your own legs, and so much faster than walking! I seem to have awakened my inner speed demon...last seen in 1995 rocketing down Silverstar Mountain in Vernon, British Columbia.
Voodoo and Julio - "When shall we three meet again?" I may have gotten a little over excited and taken off in front a few times (not when the Goose crossed various scary trafficky roads though, no sir). Just before we got to Thetis Lake, we decided to head back to town. It was hot, bloody hot...and Voodoo was a bit of a sickie that day. Julio, the doting boyfriend, lead the charge back to town on his fabulous cruiser bike "Humuhumu nukunuku apua'a" - which I just found out means triggerfish in Hawaiian.
To wear sunscreen, or not to wear sunscreen, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The sweat and stinging of outrageous sunscreen in the eyes,
Or to take Arms against the Sun of troubles,
And by opposing end burning. To die, to bike
No more; and by biking, to say we end
The tanning, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a conundrum.
Thank you, Hamlet. Well, I'm for it...both sunscreen and Shakespeare. So I slathered the cream all over every exposed area of skin very liberally. You can just call me "White Lightning!" And then I went out into the sunshine feeling confident in the amount of protection I was sporting. This is where it gets tricky...there are people that sweat, and people that don't. I am the former, and not the latter. I am a sweaty mess if I'm exercising, and biking, dear friends, is exercising. Half way down a fabulous little hill it started. The stinging. The burning. The "Holy crap I have to close my eyes or I'm going to go blind, but if I do that I'm also gonna die." Ooooooowwwwwiiiiiiiieeeee!!! Surreptitiously, I try to wipe my eyes with my sleeve.
Out, damned spot! out, I say! One; two: why, then, ’tis time to do ’t.
A slightly more murky (like Hell...bahaha...Shakespeare fans will get that one) reference there...but I have artificially darkened hair which means I kinda look a little skunky after a month or so, and I use black hairspray to cover up my white stripe *Insert Pepé Le Pew joke here.* Normally this is fine, but not when you're biking up a storm. To add insult to injury, when I finally pulled off to the side of the trail to wipe my stinging eyeballs...the sweat, mixed with the thick sunscreen, was also black. Yes, black. Are you serious? Black down my face, black smudged on my sleeve, black. I am the girl who gets locked in the bank and has to be broken out by a policeman and a skater punk, the girl who gets trapped in her Dublin apartment and is rescued by the fire brigade (yes, I went down a ladder from the 2nd storey living room window), and now...cycling has blinded me by some sort of crude...I know people get oily hair, but this is ridiculous!
All's Well That Ends Well though, I made it home alive...and so did my comrades in cycling. I was a bit shaky at first, but as it turns out the old adage is true, it IS just like riding a bike.
Visit Suzie's blog...with pictures (Ooohhh...pictures, yes!)
OMG..what if I don't have a pretty face?