Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Bike



My first memory of owning a bike was when I was about three I guess (give or take). My mom accidentally ran over my tricycle with her '73 Orange VW Bug Convertible. I'm sure I left it out, but I was still pretty pissed. Seriously? You didn't see it? It's red! My next memory is owning a gorgeous pink banana seat with white ribbons on the end of each handle bar. I loved it. As soon as I got home from school I'd hop on and meet my neighborhood friends for a couple hours of perilous adventure before having to be home at 5:30pm. Ahhhhh Elementary School. Pretty crazy times!:)

Then... that's about it. My friends and I still spent oodles of time together, but we'd started to notice there were differences between girls and boys, and my girlfriends and I much preferred to gossip about which boy we liked and how we could win his heart in the privacy of our own single-gender compounds. The cracker-jack group of CIA operatives that we were, we neglected to see that by spending time with them, RIDING BIKES!!!!!, as opposed to gossiping about them, our chances of receiving a note that said "check yes or no" would have gone up by like a bazillion! Ahhhh Middle School. Even crazier times:).

Let's fast forward a few years (couple decades), because once again, no bike memories to report with any flair. Adult Kelly has moved to Church Hill and has made some fabulous new friends who, you guessed it, like to ride bikes. I didn't have one of my own and I would hear them talk about their awesome outings with envy stewing in my heart. One day they took pity on me and lent me a bike so I could join them for a ride. I was so far behind I lost track of them. You look like an idiot! You hate doing things you're bad at just get off the damn bike! But honestly, I felt so great after it was over. I got some exercise, spent fun times with my friends and didn't feel guilty about anything I ate for the rest of the day. Maybe this bike thing could work!!?

I bought my own as a birthday present to myself last February. How much is this one? No seriously how much? Crap! If you buy this thing and don't use it I'm going to kill you Fitzgerald! Yea I talk to myself, get over it. Then something kind of awesome happened. We had a really warm winter and I was on it about a week later. I haven't stopped since. Sometimes we all go on weekend rides. Sometimes I need to clear my head so I go out on my own. Sometimes I have a great ride and sometimes I am like who's freakin idea was this why aren't I in bed? Sometimes I feel like I can't make it another mile and sometimes I feel like I could do another 20.

But all the time I love it.

I said to a friend the other day that it's one of the best things I've ever done for myself in my life. I feel such a sense of power and accomplishment after every ride, but especially after the long and challenging ones. It's an exercise in self-awareness, both of the body and mind. Overcoming the challenges that both can present lets you know what you're made of.

Dreading the winter months when I knew I'd be more likely to stay in my warm bed as opposed to going out for a ride, I signed up for the 50 mile portion of the Cap 2 Cap race in May. Fear of failure and humiliation will hopefully serve as my motivation to throw off that down comforter. I can see myself finishing. I can see myself saying you did this. I'm so excited I can't stand it.

So why am I writing about my love for my bike today? Well, because funny enough I've outgrown her. On a ride this weekend I just looked down and thought...it's time for the next step. She was a good pick in the beginning, a hybrid that works on both road and more mountainous trails. I will keep her for the rockier roads and trails ahead, but I'd also like to increase my road distance and ability since it's what I can do most easily here in Richmond. A shopping trip is in order!

So finally, a huge thank you to my bike. You have carried me for a year over asphalt, dirt, rocks, branches and most of all hard times. You gave me a sense of control when so many difficult situations were completely out of mine. You helped me feel my power. You have been such a needed and wonderful outlet and for that I will be forever grateful.

K

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