About 8 years ago I was riding with some friends in the Yukon for the first time in several years. I was going down a lightly gravelled hill when I overreacted and hit the front breaks. Hard. As you’d expect, I flew over the handle bars, landed on some rocks, broke a tooth, and cut my hands, knees and face. Needless to say, I haven’t been on a bike since. But this summer was going to be my comeback.
I recently moved much closer to work (not to mention moved in with an avid cyclist) and while I can walk to work in 25 minutes, riding to work will take about 10. I had been thinking about trying biking for most of the summer, but never actually took a bike out on the road. Because I am terrified!
Finally yesterday we went to look at bikes. My plan to get an inexpensive used bike faded quickly when I realized that a rusty, faded, elderly bike cost $150. My plan to get a retro comfort bike also disappeared when I discovered that they don’t actually make them tall enough for me (at least in the lower price range). So I picked out a “traditional frame” (read: ugly boy bike) and attempted to feminize it with a pretty bell and snazzy helmet.
As the sales girl helped me collect the accessories I’d need, I realized I was feeling more and more anxious. I had already test ridden several bikes without any problem, but actually making the purchase was a whole new ballgame.
By the time I started filling in the warranty form my hand was shaking. The amazing sales girl kept telling me “this is so exciting” and “this will change your life”. I gave her my credit card. All of a sudden this plan (I have a lot of plans) turned into reality. Buying a bike and riding it on the bike-un-friendly streets of Toronto was no longer an ambitious thought, but rather a commitment I was making once she swiped my card. I finished paying quickly, walked out the door with my new bike, and burst into tears. And not just tears. Panic. I was pretty sure I was going to throw up.
I had no idea I was going to have that reaction to something so normal.
A few hours later (after I hid the bike in the other room to pretend it didn’t exist) I put my helmet on and told Ryan I was ready to try. And I did it! I f**king did it!
So that’s that. I’m still completely terrified, and will need an escort to get me to work for the first time tomorrow, but I survived. And despite it being an everyday task for millions of people, I am so proud of myself.