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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 21, 2009

Today I bought a bicycle. I am a bicycle owner. This is the first bike that I have owned in, mmmm, five years. The one that I sold at our garage sale five years ago, however, I hadn’t ridden in, mmmm, five years, and it was the bike that I’d had since I was 13ish. It was time – time for that one to go.

So, I’ve been doing the Spin (indoor cycle) class at the gym for a year and a half now, and I LOVE it. It is such fun, sweatastic torture; it kinda rocks my world. A lot. When I first told Mike that – because of my love for and skill in Spin – I wanted to get an ‘actual’ bike, he looked at me for a moment, thinking. Then he said, “You realize it’s not going to be the same as Spin – the bike actually moves. Outside.”

I rolled my eyes, not even gifting him with a response.

“You’ll have to go down hills and fast.” Ahhh, there he hit a nerve. I have a fear of down hills and fast – particularly when they happen at the same time. This was a serious issue for us when, very early on in our relationship, Mike tried to teach me how to rollerblade. We were in the Montlake Parking lot at the UW – this enormous expanse of parking lot that…was…too…steep…for…me. I’m telling you, you don’t realize how bumpy and lumpy parking lots are until you’re traversing the mountainous plains on a couple of pairs of wheels. Terrifying. (“Mountainous plains” – yes, I realize that’s an oxymoron). Needless-to-say, the rollerblading lessons were a test to our relationship. We survived, but I have never rollerbladed since.

Yes, I realize that I may have to go downhill quickly, but it’s a challenge I’m ready to face. That’s what the brakes are for anyway! The other challenge I may have to face is cars…scary. Cars are scary and fast. I think I’ll be more of a bike trails kind of a biker not a militant “Share the Road,” driving IN the car lane kind of cyclist.

I have ambitions of becoming one of those cyclists with the fancy spandex and alienesque bike helmets that ride in packs in the wee hours of weekend mornings. Except I won’t drive near cars…and I may sort of avoid going downhill. Up hill on the other hand. Bring it on!

I also have one other issue. I have extremely low bike helmet self-esteem. This issue can be traced back to my childhood as so many of our issues can. (My childhood was excellent, by the way). My first and only ever bike helmet was this perfectly round bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head situation. My shadow looked like Jack from Jack in the Box commercials. PERFECTLY ROUND. I looked like a big pink ping pong ball on a body. My best friend from childhood, Rachel, still likes to mock my bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head. Hey – she had to be seen with me, so I took us both down!

So, I bought a non-bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head helmet yesterday. It’s sleek – silver and periwinkle but periwinkle in a very grown-up cyclist sort of a way. When I put it on, the boys (as if prompted), said, “Cool, Mom. That helmet is SO cool.” Hmmm. No matter how ‘cool’ it may be (and I have doubts that it is actually cool), I still feel like a chubby 11 year old in a bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet. Maybe the fancy spandex will help. Bright spandex? Making me feel cooler? Less dorky? That, I fear, is also an oxymoron.

Today, I bought a bicycle. A grown-up, grip shifting 21-speed, dark blue beauty of a bicycle. It doesn’t have slick little racing wheels or the fancy racing curved-down handlebars. Instead of being all hunched over, focused on the race, I can sit-up comfortably enjoying the view and the ride. I have ambitions of becoming a fancy spandexed-cool-helmet-racing cyclist, but for now I’m happy with the fact that I actually have a bike to ride and the immense desire to ride it!

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