Saturday, July 9, 2011

Constant vigilance!

Things that make me nervous when riding my bike:

Gravel trails. 

Yes. I  know my bike is made for trails and off road biking. I know that's why my tires are wide with all of the pretty designs (treads?) on them. I know that's exactly why my bike has the suspension system that absorbs shock. It is supposed to handle gravel trails really well, and way better than Padawan's bike at the very least. It doesn't make me feel one bit safer when I'm on the gravel trails, though. Or the dirt ones. I find myself worrying that I will find a loose patch of dirt, lose traction, and fall.

Crossing rail road tracks.

Honestly, it's a little silly. I'm not actually afraid of the trains that may or may not be traveling on the tracks. I'd see and hear the train coming long before it became a problem. I worry that my tires will hit the tracks wrong and get stuck or something. Impossible since I'm crossing perpendicularly to the tracks, but I still have these thoughts whenever we come across some tracks.

Going up hill. 

I have horrific images of my breaks going out and my chain snapping and myself throttling backwards downhill until I hit a tree or a car or a wall.

Going down hill.

Same thing, except going forward instead of backwards.

Passing people. 

Other bikers, runners, walkers, people walking large dogs. Doesn't matter. Passing people makes me nervous. 

Switching gears.

I did gloss over the manual, and Padawan did explain the basics. But I must be doing something wrong with my bike because whenever I try up shifting or down shifting with the left hand gear shift it either doesn't work or the chain pops off. Padawan has no trouble with my gears, which pretty much means it's my fault. And just staying in the same gear is impossible. Going uphill I have to have it in first and fifth or lower, and going downhill I have to have it in three and seven. It's too hard to go uphill in third and seventh, and too dangerous going downhill in first and fifth. 

Riding around cars. 

Parked or moving, I worry. Relly once ran into a parked truck when she first learned to ride a bike, and I worry about that. Or car doors opening suddenly in front of me. Or cars backing into me. Or running over me. 

Aside from these worries, riding is getting easier. I'm pretty relaxed on my own bike. Padawan's bike is a different story. Yesterday he wanted to switch bikes so he could see if my gear shifting difficulties were a result of my own inadequate skills or if they were a problem with a bike. Riding his bike after three days of getting used to the perfection of my bike was not pleasant. His bike is a man's bike. The bar is longer between the seat and handlebars so I have to lean further forward. Also, the handle bars on lower down and straight across which means further leaning. It felt unsafe to ride after getting used to my own smaller woman's bike. On top of that, his seat moves around from left to right and I kept wobbling all over the place. I gave up and just walked his bike behind him while he tried mine.

I am proud of myself, though. On our ride yesterday we went all the way from Brushy Creek Park to the YMCA at Twin Lakes, turned around and went back, but kept going when we got back to where we started and took the other fork on the path which lead us to the creek. And he had already told me he didn't think I could possibly make it even halfway to Twin Lakes. Ha ha ha!

I treated myself to a hot fudge brownie with walnuts and some cold milk after we got home. (After I showered, of course.)

I will post a picture of my bike soon. Maybe even a picture of me sitting on it. I suppose it depends. 

Tomorrow is Raver's wedding. Pictures of her wedding dress will definitely follow if I can manage to take some. In the mean time...

Stop trying to picture my clumsy bike riding skills. You couldn't ride a bike the first time you tried, either. :P


  1. Well if you weren't the fabulously neurotic little geek girl that we all know and love you wouldn't worry about those things in the first place. If you worked in a marshmallow factory you would be scared you might get one lodged in your ear or something.

    But I'm glad to hear you are getting out with Padawan and having fun.

  2. If I worked at a marshmallow factory I'd worry about falling into a vat of not solidified marshmallow fluff and drowning because you can't swim in something that thick...

    And about marshmallows getting stuck in my ears if an assembly line exploded and they all went flying off at high speed.

    It is fun. I think that the better I get with the bike, the less I will worry and the more fun it will be. I want to see about getting a basket attached for Choo Choo, though....

  3. Well, aren't you the awesome little biking pro? I'm oh so proud of you! :)

    I worry about going downhill too fast when I'm on a bike too. Mainly because it makes me feel entirely out of control. I'm always afraid that I'll go flying off the bike into a car, or even just end up with a face full of asphalt. Not cool!

    Anyway, keep going and keep us posted! :)

  4. Yay! I feel less cocky now that someone else is proud of me.

    It certainly wouldn't be cool...they should make hills less steep. That's the whole problem right there.

    I will definitely keep you guys posted.

  5. I still have a nice little round scar on my chest from where I wrecked my bike once when I was a kid. There was this parking-lot near my house that had a nice downhill slope to it, and I liked to see how much speed I could get riding down the hill. Well, one time I guess I got up a little too much speed and I couldn't turn fast enough to miss this one curb. The bike I had was old, and the end of the metal bar on the handle bar had kind of come through the rubber hand grip on the one side. When I hit the curb, the bike collapsed in a heap and I fell right on the end of this bar with my chest. God that hurt. I laid in the grass crying until some nice woman from the office building there came out and gave me a ride home.

    Hmmm, I probably not making you feel better about riding your bike. I'll shut up now. I'm sure you'll be fine.

  6. Well, Bryan, I was already worried about going downhill, but you've really sealed the deal on that one for me. Lucky for me, I like to use the breaks downhill so that doesn't happen. Unless my breaks fail, of course.

  7. ...used to flip my old BMX all over the road, my shins, elbows and jaw meeting asphalt on a daily basis. I've grown up a bit, settled down some, appreciate the fact that I survived childhood, but still carry the scars. Therefore, I'm thinking you're doing just fine ;)


  8. I admire your fearlessness, but I don't think I'll be trying to flip my bike or do anything that will compromise the integrity of my skin.

  9. The gravel thing and hill thing always freaked me out with regard to bike riding. When I was little, my bike caused me to get stitches (yes, I blame the bike and not the fact that I was daydreaming), so, yeah, I get the fear.

    Would love to see a pic of your bike!

  10. I don't know how you found the nerve to daydream while you were riding! How can you do anything except watch the path...and worry about the number of ways it could all go so very wrong?

  11. I haven't been on a bike since I was a teenager and "borrowed" my brother's bike without permission. He neglected to tell me he had fixed a flat and not connected the front wheel back to the frame (you know, in case I was going to steal it), and when I jumped it off a curb the tire rolled down the street while the bike and I face-planted into the street. I still have scars on my shoulder and wrist. Luckily my face healed up nicely.

    Bikes are dangerous. Just be careful. And make sure your wheels are attached. :)

  12. When I was riding my bike, the majority of my mind was a million miles away reveling in the wind in my face and the smooth easy motion and the exhilaration, like flying through the alps in a fighter jet. There was only a small part of my consciousness that was actually watching where I was going.

    Come to think of it, that might be why I have so many scars now. Hmmm....

  13. I hate passing cars and people, toooooo! And I am def-in-ite-ly looking forward to these promised pics!

    Commenting lesson learned for today: don't use hyphens to elongate words. It just looks sad.

  14. Doug, well you should always check those things before hand anyway. It's good bike safety. And it's a good thing your face was okay. It's the money maker, right?

    Rev, like I should always concentrate on the road! Although there was this one time the other day when there was a cute little armadillo trudging along by the trail. But I stopped to admire him.

    Nicki, it's even worse when they turn to WATCH you pass they think you're going to swerve suddenly and hit them from behind...jerks! I will get pictures. I promise!

    I do the hyphen thing for some words. Mostly just when I say abso-fucking-lute-ly. I think it just depends on the word. We'll have to experiment with this and find all of the ones you can do that with and not make them look sad.

  15. You need to find a trail where there are no people, cars, trains, hills, and gravel. Then, no worries, right?

  16. The trail you described is the kind that the psychopaths like to catch their victims off guard...


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