It turns out that riding a bike is not just like riding a bike.
I took my orange beauty out for her first ride yesterday and it all went quickly haywire.
At first it was glorious.
I was wearing my padded skins underneath my shorts, so as not to get seat fatigue on my, er, seat, and I had a water bottle. The weather was glorious.
I had forgotten the heady delight of careening down a hill full-tilt-boogie, like a dog with its head out the window. I was going so fast, I had to slow myself down with my hand brakes, even.
There were people out working in their yards who looked up at me and grinned at my obvious delight, waving with their gloved hands as I flew past in my purple shorts and Converse sneakers, giddy and giggling.
Then I went around the curve. You never think your neighborhood is hilly until you ride your bike around it. I’m really out of shape.
And then my chain came off. I couldn’t stop. Fortunately I’m still agile enough (barely) to jump the curb and bail off in the grass without hurting myself.
I’ve had this happen, of course, years ago. But never with so many gears to contend with. I was trying to put it back on, but no cigar. I flipped the bike over and was mechanicing when my phone rang. It was important, so I answered it.
I would have thought that my answer to “what are you doing?” would have prompted the caller to say, “Oh, I’ll talk to you later,” but no, the conversation was longish. Finally AT&T saved me by dropping the call.
I turned the bike back over and still couldn’t get the chain back on. I was a good mile from home, but I was resigned to pushing it home, so I shoved off. Shortly I ran across a young man outside with his dog and asked if he could put it back for me. He said sure, could I hold his Pit?
So I held his dog and he fixed my bike.
I gave him my five dollar bill and went on home, where I had to lie on the sofa and catch my breath.
I’m not as young as I used to be.