Up until I turned 14 I biked everywhere. Every day I biked to school with my friend Marissa. In the summers we biked to the local shopping center, to everyone’s house, to the historical gardens and village where we could go get milkshakes at the Soda Shop and look in the toy store. There were very few places we even considered going that needed a car. Even just being on your bike was a destination, an activity in itself. We didn’t need more than to just start riding.
Then high school happened. Biking wasn’t cool anymore. All we wanted were our drivers licenses and to take rides in older kids’ cars, much to our parents dismay. When I finally realized biking was in fact not only environmentally friendly but completely awesome I was off to college in hilly Asheville, NC.
Tons of people bike in Asheville but it’s hard and most people just put on their walking shoes rather than climb the hills, legs pumpin, sweat pouring and all that jazz. So when I biked for two hours yesterday, it was the first time in a looooooong time.
The Thursday Night Social Ride is a well known event in Austin where about 200 or cyclists ride around town at a relaxed pace and end up at a bar. I misheard the description when I was told about it. I had gotten the impression there would be stops along the way and bars etc. Oh no. It was a 16+ mile ride at a leisurely pace (really? cause I was pretty far behind everyone) where periodically people would stop, pull out beers and smokes out of their bags, chit-chat for 5-10 minutes and then move on once everyone’s together again (til I caught up basically).
I will preface this by saying earlier in the day I had nothing to do (re: Boring) so I walked over to a friend’s house in Hyde Park where I had left my bike. I figured I would make it a fun easy stroll, pick up my bike and be back before it was totally dark.
Problem number 1: I live pretty far east so it’s about an hour to downtown.
Problem number 2: I wore the wrong shoes.
Problem number 3: It’s another hour to my friend’s house not including my ATM stop, water stop, and stop at the Halcyon cafe where I decided to put up my feet for a while.
On the way there one of my only girl friends called and invited me to come to this ride. Sure! (Idiot.)
Problem number 4: It’s extremely hard to find your way in a new city, on a bike, in the dark. Oh and surprise!, my borrowed bike’s lights don’t work. (A very nice boy biked me there for fear I was a danger to myself and others.)
In the end the ride was fine, but by the end I had nothing left. And by the end I mean I quit after two hours. My friends and I biked back to where I had just picked up my bike hours earlier and I was made a grilled cheese and wrapped up in a jacket and tucked in a corner where I felt permanently immobilized. (Did I mention Problem number 6: Improperly dressed for cold?)
I was able to move at some point early this morning and biked my sore little butt home.
In conclusion: I’m not giving up next time! But I’m also not going to walk all over kingdom come before either. I’m going to try again and I highly recommend others do too!