Biking: a love story

Dirty secret: most triathletes play favorites.  With sports, at least.  For me, far and away, biking is my favorite.

I have always been tall, and therefore large, for my age, which meant I was clumsy and awkward well into my twenties (thankful to have finally outgrown that stage, thankyouverymuch), and it just seemed like physically?  Many things were a struggle.

“Summer’s almost over, honey, are you sure  you don’t want to try your bike again?” My dad asked confused.  I shook my hanging head and disappeared around the corner.  My second-grade classmates were incredulous I couldn’t ride a bike; what kind of baby was I?  But when the training wheels bend under your weight, it’s really hard to stay balanced.  One summer, I got so disgusted with the whole process, I tossed my bike into the garage around July and didn’t look at it again until the following spring.  I had begged my parents for that bike; they couldn’t understand what was going on.

Eventually, slowly, I learned how to ride my bike; and once I did, I rode it everywhere.  My parents shared a car until I was in double-digits, and my mom kept me in activities all summer long.  One summer when I was about 8, we rode our bikes over 6 miles each way to the local high school for a one-hour gymnastics class, and then we biked home.  Sometimes we headed to the YMCA near our house for additional swim lessons.  It’s a trek that boggles my mind now, that my little body could handle it.  But I didn’t know anything else.

Little did I know how much that early training would inform my life now.  To this day, my husband and I share a car with no plans to buy a second one.  My favorite summer days are when I’m behind my handlebars: work. library. brewery. friends. home.

However, biking is not without its challenges.  I find that when I’m on my bike, I have to think like a car, and a pedestrian, as well as a bicyclist.  I have to anticipate what moves others will make so that I can keep myself safe.  I have been almost hit (while biking in the bike lane)(with a high-viz vest on)(in broad daylight) more times than I can count.  And I confess it makes me angry, particularly in the moment.

But by in large, the freedom and joy I get on my bicycle far outweighs any set-backs.   Wind in my hair, and sun on my face, life is pretty close to perfect on a bicycle seat.


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