Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sharp turns

I fell off my bike when I was young, around eight. I was pedaling at a good clip on a park sidewalk, but suddenly there was a large crack in the cement and then a step down. I couldn't remember how to break. All I saw was the inevitable until the inevitable happened. It was the ultimate lesson in how to psyche myself out. I lost control at the crack and panicked at the step. I fell, face to concrete. My glasses broke and cut a star into my forehead. A few stitches later, I decided to never ride a bike again.

I mean, what would I really miss? A workout? I could run. Fun? Yeah, not so much. Hanging out with friends? None of my friends had bikes anyway. I could honestly say that I wasn't missing out on much. But rationalizing and calling it logic or no, I knew deep down I was making excuses. Truth was, I was giving up on a thing I'd previously wanted to do.

I was never too embarrassed that I didn't learn to ride a bike, and the older I got the less it came up. It was a self-deprecating story to tell. The story of how I gave up. It'd come up casually then someone would ask, "What? You really don't know how to ride a bike?" And I'd respond, "Funny story! I was eight, and I still have the scar..."

San Antonio, in an effort to offset the amazing, over-indulgent food and slow pace the city offers, instituted a bike sharing program downtown. And for the first time in my life, I've felt a little left out in my inability to join the crowd. So, at thirty-three, I bought a bike. 24", pink, mountain with a low back and shocks (might be the first pink thing I've willingly owned). I went out for the first time in over twenty years last weekend. I went out again today.

How I roll now
Learning to ride a bike at age 33 is probably about the same as it'd be for anyone at any age. Balance takes some time, but can become routine rather quickly. Getting started on an uphill is tough, the adjustment from downhill to up or up to down takes some getting used to. Then, there are the worst: the sharp turns. There's a ramp, sidewalk, turn, bridge deal by my apartment, and it's where I practice. I'm working on my turns.

Who'd have thought? I'm working on my turns after having decided to never get back on the bike, that the thing has defeated me. Might seem silly, but in this woman's world, it's encouraging. If I can ride a bike, I can do something I told myself I couldn't.

Speaking of which, I am getting close to completing my novel, which is another thing I couldn't stop telling myself I couldn't do. No, I thought, I'd get sidetracked. I work two jobs; I have too much to do; I don't have time for such a concentrated effort; I don't have the attention span; I don't have the story. Go figure. Now I do.

I'll be posting updates about future writings and the novel soon. In the meantime, I'll be working and riding. Have a beautiful week!

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