"Seeing" things a little differently
I’ve found a sport that I have fallen in love with……bicycling!
When I was young, I used to ride my bike constantly. Around the neighborhood and through the woods across the street from where I lived. It was my transportation as a child. Somewhere around the age of twelve to fourteen years old, I set the bike down and never picked it up again.
I got busy with life and never gave bicycling much thought. Now, fast forward nearly forty years to the present time when I met my boyfriend. He loves to ride his bike for miles at a time.
It wasn’t long after we met that he invited me to go bike riding with him, I was intrigued but knew I had not been on a bike in years. I remembered the old saying ” It’s like riding a bike, you never forget “. So, I said “Lets do it”.
He had an extra bike that was perfect for me, a nice hybrid that rode great. As we took off through the streets of Downtown Mobile, Alabama, I grew more and more comfortable and really started enjoying the ride. I loved the carefree feeling it gave me, feeling the fresh air all around. It was wonderful to see my hometown from a different perspective , it was exhilarating for me.
We rode through the park, visited art galleries, antique stores and looked at the old historic southern homes. That first time out on the bike we rode about ten to twelve miles. I loved every second of it!
Since then we make it a habit to ride weekly. It’s combining exercise and a form of relaxation all in one.
I got this bright idea that we should join the Mobile bike riders club for a ride that they take every weekend called ” Down by the bay ” ride. I coaxed Jack to go, so the next Sunday morning we got up early to ride. He tried to tell me that the ride may be a little harder than what I was used to. I felt like I needed the challenge, we had been riding for months now, it would be fun!
The morning of the ride arrived and Jack and I were ready, our water bottles were full and we were at the designated meeting place on time. My first glimpse of doubt happened when I noticed that all the other riders had on spandex clothes, gloves, goggles and special shoes. Then my next doubt came when the supposed leader of the group went over the “rules” of the road. I thought to myself “We have to have rules?” Even then I was up to the challenge, I was ready!
We introduced ourselves to the group and then we were off. All total, there were about twenty of us. Jack and I stood out a little from the rest of the group in our shorts and t-shirts, our apparel gave us away….
As we began our trek to the bay, within five minutes I noticed that about half of the group were at least a quarter of a mile ahead of us. ” how did they get up there so fast” ? I thought. I continued on trying to be positive thinking about all the calories I was going to burn.
The group of cyclist has “leaders”. One would be leading the way up front while the other would bring up the rear, warning us of oncoming cars and making sure everyone was ok. It only took minutes before I realized I was in the rear of this group.
I realized quickly that I would never be able to keep up the pace this group was traveling. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am pretty competitive myself and that’s what got me in this predicament in the first place. I was determined to keep up. It wasn’t the distance that bothered me, it was the fast pace in which we were traveling! It didn’t help to have the wind blowing against us either.
I struggled to keep up, my breathing was heavy and I never even noticed we were riding by the water….. This was hard! The “rear” leader of the group kept coming back to me, encouraging me and giving me pointers on my stride, what gear to be in etc. They were all very nice, but I knew that I had bit off more than I could chew.
Finally, we made it to the halfway mark and I could rest, my legs were numb and I laid down on the bench to try to catch my breath. I must have drunk about three bottles of water before I could speak. I told the others in the group to just go ahead without me, I felt bad for holding them back from the faster bike riders. He agreed and I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to push it so hard going back.
We did twenty-eight miles that day and fourteen of them were hard, fast cycling. My boyfriend was very sweet and stayed back with me. We rode back home a lot slower and it was much more enjoyable!
I keep getting invites from the cyclist club to join them in future rides but I think I will stick to my leisurely ride that brings me the enjoyment and meditation. Another lesson learned!