Welcome to the wonderful world of cross training! I’ll be your host – the still very injured runner, turned very scared cyclist.
Of course I use “cyclist” with a sly little smile and a nod to people who are actually able to ride a bike. Because I can’t steer straight and I’m too frightened to take one hand off the handlebars for even a second. So I’m more of a cyc-lost right now.
Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I’ve been harping on about buying a bike for years. That is not hyperbole. Every time a specialist or physio suggested I cross train, or whenever a friend bought a bike of their very own, I’d go through the same rhetoric. “I should really do that…”, which awakens a little voice in my head for his two-cents-worth.
You can hardly drive here, how are you going to ride a bike in California? There are so many hills here, you can’t even run up them! What happens when you get a flat? Or the chain comes off?
On and on it goes, giving me lots of good reasons to enjoy the status quo. What changed? I started coaching a running group through Operation Move and suddenly I couldn’t tell them to get out there and train if I wasn’t doing the same thing. When one treadmill session ended in total agony I knew I had to stop being so wishy washy and take the plunge.
I know some people who didn’t necessarily get the lesson on tact as they were growing up. As a result, every new decision I make or path I take is met with some very interesting reactions and diatribes. If this sounds like you, here are a few tips on what words shouldn’t cross your lips when talking to a new cyclist.
- Remember that girl who died on her bike?
Yes actually, I do remember her. It’s all I can do to keep her out of my brain when I’m strapping on my helmet and praying that some maniac doesn’t run a red light and plow into me with their car. I do appreciate your concern, but maybe you could express it in another way, like asking about what cool gear I bought along with my bike. Such as a helmet.
- That story about your cousin’s, uncle’s, daughter’s son falling off his bike and breaking every bone in his body.
This one really is a no-brainer. If I wasn’t starting this whole biking thing, I’d probably happily listen to this story and make all of the horrified expressions at the right times. I might not even give it another thought afterwards. But now it’s a little too real. Knowing that falling in one particular way could sever my spinal cord or shatter my leg is NOT something that will help me sleep at night.
- Did you buy a [insert technical jargon here]? You don’t want to look like a rookie!
Right now, I’ve got enough to think about. Does my butt look hilarious in these padded pants (not important but it’s a thought)? Why does my right heel keep clipping the pedal mechanism? Uh oh, here comes an obstacle. My fingers are freezing, I really need gloves… etc. Anyone who can’t already tell that I’m a rookie needs their eyesight checked and I don’t need to be worrying about that as well.
- So, where’s your lycra?
That’s just not funny. But if you must know, it’s at home, with my running gear because I don’t wear that stuff to work.
- You’ll be fine, it’s just like riding a bike!
Hahahaha, I see what you did there, Very nice, you rapscallion you. So funny and topical etc. No one forgets how to ride a bike, right? Well no they don’t, but that doesn’t mean they feel confident in their skills and don’t wobble around like crazy.
Do you ride a bike? What was your learning experience like? Care to add to my list of what not to say?