Monday, October 10, 2011

bike update and pushing past fears

Okay, I keep thinking I have written about what's up with my bicycle situation, and then people who I know read me ask questions I thought I already answered.  Feeling too pressed for time to read back through my blogs myself to see what I've said, and knowing that the change in Facebook feeds probably means some friends don't always catch my blog now, I think I'll just take a minute to clarify.

After my last Chicago Critical Mass ride, I came home, took another ride on Lulu (just a little one, less than 10 miles), and when I got back to my building, she broke.  A big bolt and a big spring thing popped off and she lurched and her front end went WAYYYY down and I was amazed that I managed not to wreck while stopping and getting off.  

A couple of days later, I shared this story with a friend.  I was bummed.  Lulu was in my living room, wounded, waiting for payday so I could get her fixed.  The next day my friend dropped off a surprise at the concierge desk at work:  her bike, which she doesn't ride ever since an accident she had on it involving high speed and a 100+ pound St. Bernard.  A gift, not a loan.  I was overwhelmed - who gets gifts like that?!

The bike needed tuned up, so I still couldn't ride, despite having TWO bikes in my living room.  I lovingly cleaned 'em up and waited for payday.  Meanwhile I worked on what the new girl's name would's not that I think ALL bikes need names (it was never MY idea to name Lulu...she came with her name painted on her side), but how could I have one named and one not?! I had an idea, but I couldn't firm it up until I could ride her to make sure she didn't speak some other name to me.

Friday was payday; Saturday, both girls went to the "bike doctor."  They came home shiny and spectacular.  I was on my way to a birthday party, so there was not time for more than a quick spin around the parking lot.  It was official...the new girl's name is Wilma.  She has major shock absorption abilities, which makes riding her a whole other experience from Lulu! 

Yesterday after church and a nap, I finally had time for a real ride.  Struck out on Wilma, starting with almost falling down as we started.  I thought the only problem was that her handlebars sit differently than Lulu's...a bit of experimenting showed me that Wilma was just in WAY too low a gear.  I need some pedal resistance to heft this heinie up onto that high seat.  With that problem solved, getting on was no longer a big deal.

Oh BOY we had a fun ride.  With 24 speeds, she lets me adjust to hills and such much more adeptly than Lulu can.  I was so encouraged by the ride that I made a spontaneous decision:  I would leave the bike path.  When I reached the i wireless center, I cruised through the parking lot and started up that darn big hill on 12th street in Moline.  I was only able to ride about 2 blocks up, and then I had to push Wilma up the last 2 or 3 blocks.  Hoo BOY what a hill!  I was a sweaty, disgusting mess and out of breath by the top, with the scary ahead of me yet.

Except it wasn't scary.  I rode 16th street in Moline, which then changed to 14th street in Rock Island, turning onto 30th.  I wasn't brave enough to ride on 18th street; I stayed one block over in a residential area, just not willing to risk some cell-phone talking passer squashing me. 

I MADE IT!  I did it!  YAY!  And taking the streets saved me road-to-bike-path route to the i wireless center had been just over 8 miles; the street portion home was about 4.5.  So it ended up being not even a long ride after all.

I am very much enjoying the feeling of pushing past my many fears into a place of more freedom.  This is a particularly sweet part of letting God teach me to love the body I have.

May you notice your freedom today.

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