It has been a while since I last posted. I’m hoping to be more active and shoot for a post a week if not more. I wanted to share a bit about my experience with riding a bicycle for the first time in 20 years and how it has provided me with some much needed motivation.
Recently Drew and I got bicycles. A big part of finally taking the plunge is simply because it’s fun and we can get around the city more easily than a train or bus without having to drive everywhere. Another big part of this is to have more activity in our day to day lives. Much of our weekends were spent hanging around the house and driving to get food.
An aspect of riding around the city that I didn’t necessarily consider is that of confidence. When the mention of getting bicycles first came up, I admit I was pretty apprehensive. I wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to do, all I can think about is falling off, getting hurt, or simply not knowing if I’ll really enjoy it. I wouldn’t say I fought the decision but I did have some serious questions about it, but in retrospect it was me just not wanting to do something different, fearing that I’d somehow fail. When I went on my first ride in 20 years with Drew and his dad, I wasn’t feeling it, I wasn’t comfortable, and I overthought everything. I tripped up a couple of times, felt like I wasn’t getting a feel for it, and it hurt. I was already telling myself I’ll humor this thought and then I’ll just move on and pretend it doesn’t exist. On our first ride through our neighborhood, I realized I couldn’t even properly make a right turn, freaking out into an intersection and eventually going headfirst into a curb. I was shaken and wanted to go home. Drew was amazing during all of this: he led us to a big empty parking lot and we did figure 8s for the rest of our ride, making me follow him around and checking to make sure that I was getting a hang of it.
It definitely got better. After the 2nd or 3rd time, I felt more confident and happy with the rides. It was freeing in a way to be able to move around the city at a speed that allowed me to go a great distance while still being able to experience everything around me. Now I lead us on most of our rides, navigating through different neighborhoods, avoiding hazards on the road, and overall just having a great time. It gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment that I feel I have otherwise been lacking in my daily life, it was a very good thing. The best ride so far was going down to Pilsen from our home on the Northside. It was a longer and more tiring ride but we made it both ways, not bad for being new to riding. Most importantly it made me happy, it made me feel like I can and want to do more with it and go on longer, more difficult rides. It is one of the few things that I can see myself doing (maybe with a nudge) even when I’m not feeling the best.