Monday, June 13, 2011

Two Wheeled Ticket to Happiness

My new best friend.

"What's the you say? You were outside biking and not blogging? But, L, I thought you HATED biking, as in despise, detest, loathe, abhor. I thought you NEVER wanted to get on a bike EVER again?!??"

And to that I say, "Yes. And I was wrong. Just as I have been wrong about so many things: about how the fashions of the 80s were flattering on me, about how to make a vodka-watermelon, about how deep-fried ice-cream wasn't really fried, about how burning tiki torch fuel indoors would create carbon monoxide. But now I'm going to make it right."

But first, the back story: As a child (you'll be surprised to know), I did a lot of biking. It was my parents' transportation method of choice to get us around the city in which I grew up, and so I biked to school and church and the park...first in a bike seat on my parents' bikes* and then on my own. But upon moving to the top of a mountain in Oregon in fifth grade, biking was excised from my life for the simple reason that one would have to be in Marathonn shape to bike anywhere from my home or back to it. So I gave up on it for the better part of a decade. And anyone who says "It's just like riding a bike" in reference to the ease of reclaiming a sport that one has neglected for the better part of one's life can shove it where the sun don't shine. My several attempts to re-enter the cycling world several years ago ended in disaster, thwarted mostly by my bad attitude and being really, REALLY out of shape. And then I moved to Boston where biking is an extreme sport the side effect of which can be death, given that not only it is the least bike friendly city on the planet (it just installed it's first ever bike lane....which runs for one mile) BUT it is also home to all of the world's worst, most aggressive drivers.

But last month, serendipity (or providence?) intervened. First, some good friends from Oregon (SB and WEB3) told me that they had just gotten super into cycling. These are people who I really like and who like many of the things that I like (jukeboxes, beer, my husband)....and now BIKING. But I hate biking, I thought, and dismissed it.  Until the very next week, when a woman who recently began attending our congregation happened to mention to me that she was super into biking, had biked 160 miles last year and had never found another exercise that she loved so much. Strange, I though, so many bikers in my life right now. And THEN, our ex-neighbor stopped by the other night and mentioned that she was excited for biking season to begin, because "isn't that cheese shop you can bike to in Concord so amazing?" Wait a minute, BIKING AND CHEESE? Worlds colliding. And that was it. I couldn't resist the pull of the universe.

And I got a bike.

And I went for a ride.

And it was pretty darn awesome.

Mostly because it was so much better than running, which I have always found to be a torturous experiment in pain and self-hatred.** But BIKING is awesome. Because you are covering so much ground, so fast that it never gets boring, and you are whizzing past all the panting, sweaty, red-faced joggers and thinking "SO LONG SUCKAS!" which is a great feeling.

In fact, the first ride I went 8 miles. And the second ride, I went 11. And the third, 18. And the fourth, 21. And the fifth 38 (although that almost ended in tragedy, but more on that to come). And I never even found that cheese shop. I'll update you more as I go, but for now, thanks to SB, WEB3, church lady, SM and the universe for a new-found passion.*** In the words of that woman who was in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, though slightly adapted of course, "My butt is sore, but my soul is at rest!"

*There was a photograph of me in the Village Voice as a toddler completely asleep in my bike seat, with my mom, riding down 5th Avenue. Little did I know then, this would only be the beginning of my fame and fortune....
**Runners: Please stop being that person who says, "Oh, you'll just get so addicted to running once you get into it. I started running and now I can't go a day without it" No, I won't. I've been running. And all I want to do when I go running is to stop running. And never do it again. All I can think of, in fact, while running, is how awful it is and how I want to stop. RIGHT NOW. Addiction my A*%.
***Does anyone worry that I am a serial hobbyist? Do you think there are therapy groups that can help you become a hobby monogamist?


  1. I couldn't agree more about the running thing. This must be why we are friends :)

  2. I would just put quotation marks under the above Laura's comment to ditto what she said, but that strikes me as lame. Even if I am so sick of people not-so-subtly bragging about their marathons/ironmen/triathalons, etc. that I could barf. (To revive a word from the 80s.)
    So instead I will add that I also love that "clean sheets" are on your list of Things That Are Awesome. Today of all days, I really appreciate that.

  3. I also agree about the running. I wish people would stop telling me I'm going to start liking it! I just ran my first (maybe last) 5k and I only did it because I wanted to be in the Starlight Parade. Someone was all (smugly) "maybe you'll love it and this will start something." And while I did love high-fiving children as I ran down Broadway, I was panting and miserable by end and have no desire to do it again, ever. So there.

  4. We're so excited to hear you love biking!! Colin and I have gotten into it in the past couple years, and now find it's a great way to get to work as well as all our favorites breweries! We just completed the Reach the Beach ride in May (Beaverton to Pacific City) and had a great time! Miss you guys! You need to come visit!