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…Or so we’re told, right? As I recently said here, in Quintessential Montreal: The Little Bike That Fit, my master plan for retirement involved selling my car to cut expenses, and buying a bike. And so I did!
The car was duly sold – my 1998 Toyota Tercel, with only 122,000 km. on it, sold for $1600. It was in pretty good shape, as long as you ignored the little dings and scrapes. And the fact that you needed to buy all new summer tires. And two new winter tires. But other than that, a great little set of wheels!
The bike part of the equation? As described in my post linked above, I found the perfect one, just the right size, and proceeded to buy all the accessories I’d ever need. Helmet? Check! Bell? Check. Mirror? Check. Basket? Check. Not one but two locks? Check! Check! Okay, I didn’t buy reflectors or a light, but I had no intention of ever riding at night.
Finally came the day to take it out of the apartment garage and try it out… except… it was soooo darn hot. I got home from the office (I was still working at that point) and just wanted to wrap myself inside an air conditioner!
The next day it rained.
Then more heat. Oh dear. It seemed as though the weather demons were conspiring to keep me from trying out my glorious new bike.
Each day my friend over in Sudbury, John (whose exhortation to try the Rosemount bike store had led to my fabulous purchase in the first place), would casually ask me, So! Gonna ride the bike today? And each day it seemed as though I had another excu- er, I mean reason, for not taking it out.
Finally I had run out of – yes – excuses. I took it out two days ago. I must say I looked the part. Helmet fastened securely, capris, sneakers… I was ready!
Have I mentioned that I hadn’t ridden a bike for decades? No, I thought not. So anyway, I walked it over to a very quiet part of a one-way street. I steadied it next to the sidewalk, swung my leg over and sat on the seat. Just getting accustomed to it, y’know. And I kept on sitting… one foot on one pedal, the other foot firmly planted on the sidewalk. And I could. Not. Shove off.
I sat there, stupefied with fear.
What is wrong with me, I thought. People say you never forget how to ride a bike! But – “people” don’t say anything about the terror you have to deal with before you take off solo for the first time in countless years!
I continued to sit… until I finally called it a day and walked the lovely darn thing back down the block and into the garage.
Yesterday I tried again. This time I was determined. As I told John before setting out, “I’m just gonna close my eyes and push off, darn it!”
“Well,” he said, “that sounds great! Um… except maybe for the part where you close your eyes.”
So – I did it. However, I did not count on the fact that the bike would steer me instead of the other way around. I was so wobbly, and felt as though I had little control over it. I came back in but at least I had ridden the thing, for all of half a block! Yay!
John was very encouraging and stressed that each time it would get better. I was all set to try again today!
But it rained. 🙂