Last spring, David and I bought new road bikes. We bought them off eBay (brand-new, still in the box) and put them together ourselves, with help from a friend who knows way more than we do.
We'd shopped around at a few different stores here in Indy, but since we just wanted a bike for some exercise and to possibly compete in a couple of triathlons, and we weren't sure if it would become our new favorite hobby, we couldn't justify spending $1000+ each (what many places said we'd probably want to spend). So we found much cheaper ones on eBay. I think mine was about $300 and David's was about $500 (and those prices include shipping). They were pretty basic road bikes, but they fit our requirements.
We did a few rides on the Monon throughout the spring and summer, and David competed in a triathlon in April. But as we got closer to our July wedding, we got too busy with wedding details to get to ride as much as we wanted. And after the wedding, we were living in the condo (which I bought a couple of years ago and where David moved in with me when we got married) and our bikes were still over at the house ("the house" being the place that David bought several years ago and that we rent out now), and we just never got around to getting them.
Last weekend, we agreed that it was high time to get the bikes out and start riding again. We could've put them on the bike rack on one of our cars, but the house and the condo are only about four or five miles apart, so we decided to just ride them over. May as well get a little exercise while moving them, right?
To avoid both traffic and hot weather, we decided to pick up the bikes on Sunday morning. We planned out our route to avoid busier roads. We made plans to pick up David's car, which we'd be driving to the house, later in the day. We stopped by the afternoon before to put air in the tires and make sure the bikes were ready to go.
We got up at about 6:30 on Sunday morning. We got dressed and got our helmets. I got my water bottle ready. (David refused his, saying it was only a few miles and about 20 minutes and that he would be fine.) We left the condo at about 6:45 and headed to the house.
At about 7 a.m., we left the house. We got to the condo about 20 or 25 minutes later. Easy enough, right?
The ride was not fun.... at least not for me. I hadn't ridden my bike since the previous summer and didn't realize how out of shape I was. I work out several times a week, but apparently it takes a little time to get back into biking shape (or at least that's what I told myself at the time).
It also helps to remember how to work all the gears.
I felt like I was working so hard, pedaling like crazy, but I was getting nowhere. David was behind me, but not by much. I told him he could go in front of me, but he refused. He was trying to be nice, but I felt badly for slowing him down so much. And I was mad at myself for apparently not being able to ride a bike at a faster pace.
The road, which usually flies by in no time while I'm in the car, seemed to go on and on forever in front of me. I kept pedaling, but my bike was moving way too slowly. Why wasn't I going anywhere? Why did my legs hurt so much? Why didn't David just pass me and leave me behind in my anger and misery?
Perhaps I'm being dramatic when I use words like "misery." And of course David wouldn't leave me behind, and of course I didn't want him to. But a lot of thoughts go through your head when you're tired and frustrated like I was.
During the last two minutes or so of the ride, just when I was thinking, "Finally! We're almost there!" I suddenly realized something about the gears--there were a lot of them! I'd stayed in a smaller range, switching between just a few gears, but then, with a quick flick of the wrist, the bike was in a gear that it hadn't experienced since last summer. And suddenly, it was easy! I was pedaling at an easier pace than before, but covering much more ground much more quickly. This wasn't tough! This was easy! This was fun!
Oh, hey, there's the entrance to the subdivision.
I pulled in to our driveway, glad the ride was over, but more than anything, relieved that I now knew how to work my bike. I realized that I was also looking forward to the next ride.
Oh, and I think you should know that the first thing I did when I got
home was gulp down about half the water in my water bottle. Good thing I
brought it. Too bad I was too busy being irritated at my bike and
myself to drink any water during the ride.
I'm glad I'm more capable than I originally realized of riding a bike. I'm glad that I figured out the gears. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it took me the majority of the ride to figure out the problem. My legs hurt just thinking about how hard I was pedaling and how slowly I was moving. But I'm relieved that upcoming rides should involve a more knowledgeable rider and a little less pain.
A little later that morning, we went to the gym. I usually go to yoga class on Sundays, but on this particular morning, I skipped that and instead went straight to the pool. After a rough time with the bike, I needed to do a workout that I had a little more experience with and that most likely wouldn't leave me feeling dumb or embarrassed.
I think I've mentioned before that I swam competitively growing up. I hadn't swum in probably six months (other than fun swimming at the pool), but on this particular morning, I just jumped right in and started doing laps with no problem at all. After 15 years of competitive swimming, it takes a lot more than six months to lose any skills you learned along the way.
You know what they say--it's like riding a bike.