In August of 2009 frustrated with bus commuting, i bought a bike. I rode that bike 8 miles to work and 8 miles home every weekday.I fell in love with my bike. I started riding it everywhere. I decided that the next summer (2010) i would do the STP. The STP is a 200 mile bike ride from Seattle, WA, to Portland, OR. I had little less than a year to train. I started going on long rides over the weekend. I was up to 60 miles a day. It felt great. But then i got doored. I was hurt for a while, but i got back on the bike and continued to train. Until i got hit by a car.
I had no major injures, but i pinched some nerves on my spine. The pinches nerves would make my arms and legs would go numb randomly and shoot out random pain signals. I stupidly tried to brace my fall with my hand and fell on my wrist. It wasn’t broken but I had trouble gripping things for long periods of time. It took me about a month to recover to the point where i thought i could go on long rides again. As it turns out i jumped the gun. I could no longer go 30 miles, let alone 60, or the 100 that would be required of me each day of the STP. There wasn’t enough time left to get strong enough to complete the ride so i backed out. Most of my biking partners went on with out me, and i cheered them on from seattle, and tried not to be too sad about having to back out.
I went back to riding my bike to work, but i noticed that i wasn’t as fluid as i had been. I was sort of skittish. I was afraid that i would have another encounter with some driver that wasn’t paying attention, or in my case some one turning and not paying attention to people in the cross walk while trying to beat a light. It took me a while before i rode my bike for fun. But i was still sad that i had not done the STP, and i was ashamed to try again for fear that i would fail. By 2011 i was mostly back to normal. I rode to work, i rode to fun. Then of course, hit again.
Technically the car didn’t touch me. It sped up to squeezed past me on a narrow street leaving me with nowhere to go but down. They continued to drive away without stopping. I was left on the ground wondering if i had all my limbs. I did, but my bike seat was broken, and one of my gears was twisted and no longer useable. All this added to the countless times i was almost hit, nearly doored, or yelled at by people in cars (simply for being on a bike) it started to feel like people in cars were mounting a war, and i was loosing all the major battles.
When i moved into this house with Ben i also got a new job. The roads around here are too pot-holey to bike, and the time i had to get to and from work really isn’t enough time to bike. I started driving. And after 9 months i felt myself becoming a car person. I don’t want to be a car person. I missed my bike!
So a few weeks ago I went out with a friend. I ended up riding about 20 miles. Not bad for a first trip out after a 9 month break. My ass hurt like hell, but i was glad to finally be back on my bike. I came home and informed Ben that we would be going to the store to get what was needed to get his bike running. There was an adventure with getting him new tires (it turns out he’s got some weird sized rims, and we spent half a day trying to force tires on that were too small) and weeks of stalling, but today we went out for our first ride together (ever).
He hasn’t been on a bike in years. I tried to let him make the pace but it was difficult to slow down to his speed. I ended up riding a bit ahead of him and slowing down every now and again to let him catch up. If i lost sight of him in my mirror id stop and wait for him to pass me, and then start up again. I wanted to try and push myself on this trip but i had to take into consideration that Ben wouldn’t be able to do 20 miles, let alone the 40 i wanted to do. We ended up doing 12.5. We stopped when he needed to, and took a long rest half way. It took us about 2.5 hours. I think he hates biking now. My wrist still has random fits of pain every now and again, but my ass has almost back to the biking butt it once was. Now i just have to figure out how i am going to pay to get my gears fixed and we will be back in business. Heres hoping for a total lack of asshole drivers (or non observant car door openers).