Thursday, August 29, 2013


No silly, not the mullet-headed kid from Degrassi!  The kind that propel you from point A to point B, in the form of:

Last Friday I bought this bike from some super cool folks who fix old bicycles up and sell them.  I'm not sure how old it is, but I suspect it's from the 80's.  It's in great shape and yes, it's been getting me from point A to point B.

Before Friday it had been over TWENTY YEARS since I rode a bike!  And when I did then, it was around the roads I grew up on, country roads, dirt roads where cars went by maybe every ten minutes, less on evenings and weekends.  After I picked up my new-to-me bike, I rode it home, first city ride ever.  It was terrifying and liberating all at once.

I've learned a bit about both myself and my city since I got the bike.

About myself I re-learned that I carry all my stress and tension in my neck and shoulders.  I guess I'll get used to it eventually, but having cars, trucks, buses and so on zoom past me, within a couple feet away from my wobbly self, is, so far, horrifying.  Just this afternoon, I was riding down a street that actually has a bike lane and a guy in a big, black Ford Flex turned onto the street, right into the bike lane, about two feet in front of me.  I had to brake for fear of crashing into him and almost choked on my own heart which had come up my throat and was throbbing at the base of my neck.

This morning, on my way to work, another car driver honked her horn wildly as we were crossing an intersection.  I know I was following all the rules and etiquette of bike riding, so maybe she thought she was doing me a favour and warning me that she was about to pass?  I don't know, but I'd been so focussed on riding and the road and the cars that it scared the bejesus out of me and it was all I could do to not burst into tears.

I'll get used to it, I know, but right now I am having a hard time being positive about the whole thing.

About the city, I've learned, among other things: there are a LOT of narrow streets that you can park your car on.  This makes things tense and awkward when I, with my poor, shaky, unaccustomed thighs, am pedaling for all I'm worth, with cars coming in both directions, waiting for me to pass because I'm going so slow and there's no room to pass me without a head-on collision.  I hope in a week or so, my muscles will remember their jobs and not make me feel like I've set my legs ablaze every time I'm riding.

Right.  So, so far the biking experience has been less than good, but I know I'll eventually push through and get to a point where I don't even think about it.  On a positive note, I can now get to the grocery store (or the LC ) within four minutes, so I never again have an excuse to not cook supper if I'm missing one or two ingredients from the plan.  I also can get to and from work for free, instead of what will soon be $2.50 each way, thank you MetroTransit.  So there are some positives.

I'm sure this is something that I will update on as things develop.  Wish me luck on finding a basket!

Till next time!

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