Last night I rode the Rafiki ride. I had been so excited about it, but then as I was loading Lulu up on the rack, I started getting scared. I watched the skies while I drove over to the starting spot at Heritage Natural Foods. I sat in the parking lot, watching the wind in the trees and got worried. I thought about how all the pictures from Rafiki rides show a bunch of svelte 20-somethings. What the hell was I thinking? I hoped the weather would cancel the ride. I texted to ask, but NO, they weren't cancelling based on a few low grey clouds and a bit of wind. I thought about driving away before anyone could see I had been there. I thought about all the massive, steep hills in Rock Island and Davenport. What in the WORLD ever possessed me to think I could do this? It just got worse as people started arriving...almost every single person was riding one of those bikes with the tiny, skinny tires...the kind that can be easily picked up with 2 fingers (whereas I actually grunt from the effort when I pick Lulu up to put her on the rack.) Lulu is HUGE and very, very heavy compared to those. How was I going to keep up? I was still considering sliding out before the ride; even if it would embarrass me, at least I wouldn't be humiliated by not keeping up.
But Jonas assured me again, the ride is kept at about 10 miles per hour, and some walk their bikes up the giant hills, and all stay back with the slowest, and it would be just fine. I have no idea if he understood how freaked out I was (I was doing my best to play it cool)...but he was pretty reassuring.
So I went through the funny "induction ceremony" including the installation of a Rafiki card in the spokes of Lulu's front wheel and an unsolemn oath: "Bikes. Mayhem. Pie."
Just let me say this: I am so glad I didn't surrender to all those doubts and fears. The ride was so much fun. We did all sorts of things I'm too afraid to do on my own:
- Rode through downtown Rock Island and downtown Davenport
- Crossed Arsenal Island (that's not just one, but TWO bridges made of mesh; the first one makes a lot of "I sound like I'm falling apart" noises as you're on it, and the second is one that even makes me a bit nervous when I drive my CAR across it.)
- Made some pretty tight turns, and I didn't have to stop and get off to do that, much to my surprise, though I did kind of shriek with fear on the last one...
- Rode in the dark (something I've always wanted to do, but really haven't much at all because Small Town Karen is still alive somewhere there inside of me, insisting that I don't yet know which neighborhoods are safe for that.)
We stopped, as is custom, at Village Inn (Wednesday is free pie night there) and enjoyed a relaxed, unhurried time together there. I hadn't realized anyone would be having anything more than just pie and a drink, so I wasn't carrying much money. I learned that some actually eat supper there, and I'll plan accordingly next time. As for last night: I made do with just a piece of pie for supper. This too is something I couldn't have done before this year - I'd have convinced myself I needed more than just a piece of Chocolate Caramel Delight pie and a small glass of milk. But you know what? I really didn't need anything more.
This was a long one...wonder if any of you made it to the end for the pie...
Have a great Thursday!