Friday, May 22, 2009

For the Love of a Bicycle

I started riding bikes about 5 years ago because of a boy. Not to chase after one, but to get one out of my head. I was 23, young, dumb, had been dumped by my first serious boyfriend in a move I never saw coming. I wandered in a haze of sadness for months before deciding it was time to find something to occupy my life. I had the horses of course, but as I was working at a barn at the time, there was still free time left I needed to fill.

On a whim, I loaded up my fathers Target Eddie Bauer bicycle in my car one weekend when visiting my parents. The bike was a touring bike that weighed about 800 lbs but at that point, I did not know any better. Actually, I really knew nothing except that riding my bike the 8 miles to the barn and back in the middle of a Texas summer made me feel tired but alive. I would be gasping for breath and sweating, but I was doing something.

Probably two weeks in, I decided I wanted to ride in the Hotter N Hell 100 in Wichita Falls. I had done this ride as a child with several of my family members and always viewed it as the absolute center of everything that was bicycle. I had a few months before the ride so I just kept pedaling and started building up some endurance.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I met another cyclist who was a “real” rider. I showed him my bike and looking back at it now, I have no idea how he kept a straight face as he looked at the monster I was riding. He did make some comment about how heavy it was but in my ignorance, I had no idea what the problem was with that. He also did not laugh at me when I made comments about how outrageously expensive bike shorts at Academy were for $30. I was shocked when he told me I could get a good entry level bike for about a grand. Seriously? Bikes were a hundred bucks at Wal-Mart. Silly boy.

Long story short, I ended up doing the 50 mile race with one of my brothers and was ignorantly blissful as I chugged along on my clunker and wished at the end I had signed up for the 100K. I was thrilled and could not wait for the next year.

What began because the ending of a love started a whole new one and in so many ways, a much healthier one. Horses will always come first as far as hobbies go, but I love the simplicity of bikes. They don’t get their feelings hurt if you don’t see them for a few days and they are always there for you when you need to blow off some steam, enjoy a beautiful day, or just be. In many ways, bicycles really saved my sanity and for that, I will always be grateful.

6 comments:

BettyBetty said...

Yeah for bikes! So true isn't it? So liberating and joyful - now if we could only get rid of the cars.....

Leah said...

Renee, this is a really nice piece of writing. I love it. Great post!

unathleticrunner said...

Great post! :) Keep riding :)

Charisa said...

My first triathlon has as similar story and I love everything about it. So glad you found the bike :)

Mom of Many said...

Your post reminds me of me... now. I'm training for my first sprint tri (two weeks away!) and have been riding a $300 cheapie road bike... but I refuse to get embarrassed by my bike, and the fact that I don't have clipless pedals or areo bars or a snazzy tri suit... and really, what's the alternative? Sitting on the sidelines and watching? Nope! Someday (when my kids are bigger) I will have the money to sink into a "real" road bike and all the gear. Until then, I'll just keep happily cycling away!

LG said...

I can relate to this in so many ways...my bike dale is my best friend much like tom hank's relationship with wilson in castaway.

he sticks with me chugging along through the sometimes painful uphills climbs, he lets loose and is sturdy on the fast descents, never crashes or flats and i can trust him to take me many miles.