Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It *is* just like riding a bike

I went on my first bike ride of 2014 on Monday, and appropriately enough, given that it was St. Patrick's Day, it was a little bit of an adventure.

Mostly it was a cinch, making the inspiration for the cliche obvious. And when it wasn't ... as Regina pointed out, maybe I was just getting my snafus out of the way early on.

For instance, I was nervous about using a bike lane for the first few miles of my first ride of the season. Fortunately, traffic was fairly light and didn't scare me onto the trails forever.

But while on a trail, I got too distracted by a huge chunk of glass in an intersection with the road and forgot to watch turning traffic. The car that I headed obliviously toward was going slowly enough — or cautiously enough — that we had more of an awkward standoff than a close call, thankfully.

Maybe it just served to startle me straight, so that hours later, I was fully expecting a pickup truck to completely blow a red light and just waited on my side of the intersection.

Sharing the road on St. Patrick's Day might not have been the best idea, in retrospect. But it saved us about three or four miles on the return.
During the stop-and-start portion of the ride, I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly I was able to slide my feet in and out of the pedal cages. Normally it seems to take a few weeks before I pick that skill back up.

One thing I didn't count on, though, was how the still-early-spring temperatures would affect my toes. I wound up falling into a crosswalk light post because my slightly numb feet couldn't catch the ground fast enough.

It turns out I still have some strength, because I didn't whine too much about the small hills we encountered, the time flew, and I barely noticed any soreness the next day.

What I don't have, though, is the proper equipment for riding at night anymore. My taillight was sacrificed to RAGBRAI, and the miner's headlamp I wear around my waist could use help lighting the way in front of me, too.

All in all, it was a great way to celebrate safely and break the ice on getting back into biking.

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