The last time I owned a bike I was ten. On top of that I can't remember the last time I even rode a bike. But I bought one.
And really, how could I not when it came in such a perfect orange?
So we picked it up on Saturday in Jeff and Karen's Explorer. Then when we got back into Wilsonville, we decided to ride our bikes back home instead of having someone drop us off.
It had been a very long time since I'd ridden a bike. Like, really. And so I thought that when my legs had to work so hard to pedal that the burning muscle in my thighs was just manifestation of my out-of-shapeness (despite my workout dates with Jillian). So I kept pedaling (most of the time in the lowest gear), lagging behind Josh as we took the back way home.
Soon I had to stop every couple of minutes to catch my breath, because I was heaving so bad. And by then I was feeling stupid. In the extreme. My thoughts went something like, Who was I kidding when I said I could ride a bike? I'm probably the biggest wimp in the world! Let's just return the damn bike! Is this entire ride uphill? And I ended up crying. All my dreams of biking to and from the library all summer were fast disappearing.
Josh was kind and stopped when I needed to and waited while I caught my breath and summoned almost nonexistent strength to keep going. He kept giving me pep talks the closer we got to home and reminded me that we were coming up on the final leg, which was largely downhill. He stopped me, though, when he realized that I was having to pedal downhill. Need to reread that? I had to pedal downhill.
And here's the thing: it had been so long since I'd ridden a bike that the possibility of something being wrong with the bike didn't occur to me. It turned out that one of the break tubes was stuck under the front reflector. So I'd been riding the whole time with my front wheel fully braked. At that moment I would have laughed if I hadn't still been crying. Don't worry, though—I laughed later. Lots of laughing. You can laugh too, if you hadn't started laughing three paragraphs ago.
And really, the last half mile home was a breeze. Because, you know, I wasn't pedaling a bike that should have been stopped.
Wondering how to recover from such an inaugural ride? Shower, put on stretchy pants, and laugh about it over and over while eating a brownie–ice cream sundae.