Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In Which I Come Clean

Last month I didn't ride my bike much. There was no good reason for this. I am quite definitely underemployed this summer. I am in reasonably good shape considering I am a lazy dope. My bike is well maintained thanks to being married to boy genius. He put new cables, new brakes, and a new chain on it sometime in May. The boy and I went for a ride around the Lakes (Harriet, Cedar, Isles, and Calhoun if anyone cares) early in June and afterwards I simply put the bike up on its mount in our living room and ignored it.

I made excuses. It was too far to ride my bike. It was raining. We had gone for a run that morning. The bike path along that area was in bad shape. I was hungry. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Then I thought about it. It was the last decent riding weather last November when I was an idiot and fell on my bike and broke my hand. And that was my last experience with my bike until that day we went around the Lakes. I thought I was over the fear that the accident of stupidity caused, but when I was honest with myself I knew that somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind there were some issues. The first time I rode somewhere for the first time by myself, I was convinced that something awful would happen.

I was scared.

I vowed that July would be different. I'd ride everywhere. I was going to fill up the gas tank only once and drive only to places far away and not in bike riding distance (and the grocery store, which...we probably should ride our bikes to the grocery store, but we just got ourselves some reusable bags so we're going to save the planet one behavioral change at a time people!). I didn't mention this to the boy because I didn't want him to know that I was harboring a fear of my bike in the first place.

So. That's what I've been doing. The truck has moved exactly four times since July 1. Twice to go to the grocery store (I know, I know), once for me to go teach a class in Wisconsin (which is another state, so definitely not bikeable for me), and just today the boy took it to go to a pseudo- job interview (he has the job, it's mostly a formality). Tonight I will be taking it again to Wisconsin, but I am a two wheeling fool.

And guess what? I am still a bit scared I am going to do something stupid and injure myself again.

So. What's a girl to do?


  1. Well, admitting you have a problem is the first step to the solution, right? You know you're scared to ride still, but you're doing it. It's good that you're still riding despite it. Can you imagine not doing anything that you've had a bad incident with in the past? I'd never drive, run, walk, or stand up again. Just keep a phone on you in case you do end up getting hurt again. And try to not think about your fear. Otherwise you're just bound to fall again.
    Also, come to CA so I have someone to ride with :)

  2. Good for you. I bike a little defensively, but still have an 'invulnerability myth' in my head. I'm sure if that were punctured, it would be hard to get past the fear. I have something similar these days every time I cut vegetables... ;-)

  3. I don't have this issue with my bicycle so much, but I haven't been on my motorcycle all summer. Every time I swing a leg over it, I have this overwhelming feeling of panic and I can't bring myself to pull out of the driveway. And I don't even have a bad memory giving me the heebs the way you do. I don't have a solution, just a "you're not alone."

  4. I'm not a biker - don't even own one! But ever since I fell and messed up my ankle(in Scotland, on an ordinary street, stepping off the sidewalk - on my honeymoon no less) I have a fear of falling when I walk down the smallest of slopes or the shortest of stairs. I've walked for over 4 years without a similar incident, but I'm so much more careful than I did then.

    It doesn't help that I'm such a naturally clumsy person.


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