Whoever came up with the phrase "It's just like riding a bike" has obviously never waited 23 years to ride a bike again. Close to 2 1/2 years ago my husband went on a mission to buy us all bikes. He searched Craig's list far and wide and found us the best deals on some new wheels. In March 2013 our middle son started racing at the local BMX track and ever since then we have been a bike riding family. Let me clarify when I say we I mean they. They my wonderful family has been riding bikes Our daughter also started racing at the BMX track so every week we are around bikes and I am on the side lines. This year my husband started taking the kids to the greenway in hopes of building muscle, soaking in some sun, and enjoying the great outdoors. I imagine he would go to sleep at night and dream of us all riding our bikes in sashaying movements down the 8-9 mile trail. He has yet to give up on that dream.
Let me give you a little background on myself and bikes. I grew up riding them all the time. My sister and I had matching Pink Huffy bikes with baskets and tassel things which hung from the handlebars. We woke up on Christmas morning one year and found them in front of the tree. We were beyond giddy at what Santa at left us and we rode those bikes around the kitchen all morning!! I don't remember having any bikes after those so I feel confident that at the latest of age I was 15 the last time I rode a bike. Fast forward 23 years and that brings you to this year. With this exception of the several yards I rode last year I have not even sat on a bike in over 2 decades.
This brings you up to date to my current bike riding experience. I am in much better shape than I was two years ago so when my husband ask if I want to go ride bikes with them on the greenway I say heck yea!! I mean really how hard can it be!! It's just like riding a bike had to come from somewhere right? Obviously that means I will hope back on and it will be just like I was a kid again with my hair blowing in the wind, feet sticking out in the front, and me gliding down the sidewalk! Since I knew I needed to warm up a little my husband took me to a deserted parking lot and I drove around approximately 5 minutes. After this time my husband said "Alright your ready! Let's go!" I reluctantly say ok and head to the greenway to help my husband's dreams come true.
We pull up and park and get our bikes out and the kids are excited that we are all there together! Within mere seconds the boys are out of sight and it is just my husband, myself, and our daughter. Everything is going great!! I am totally doing this! I can feel the wind blowing in my face!! I am holing my balance!! This is so great and I am so glad my husband wanted to do this!! I loveeee him!!!!!
Then we get to the "Haunted Forest" which is the area between Tinsley Park and Cleveland High School. Upon approaching the entrance my daughter informs me of it's name and tells me that we do not stop for ANYTHING!! We come to the entrance and I know that we have to ride like the wind!! My daughter is leading the way with me in the middle and my husband as the caboose. Well clearly my "ride like the wind" and Elizabeth's "ride like the wind" are two entirely different things because she is flying!! I can't keep up and be expected to not run over and kill every pedestrian on the path!! I tell my husband to keep up with her and that I will be fine because after all " it's just like riding a bike" and I have done this a hundred times in my life. Famous last words.....I'll be fine...... I am coming up behind a group of 4 people. I slow down and I tell them I am coming up on their left. The scootch over the tiniest of bits which sends me into a slight panic. Don't they know I am a newby? Can't that tell by the way I yell out "Left" that I might not really know what I am doing yet? When I want you to scoot over I mean over as in the grass...on the other side. I am going to need about 6 feet of space to possible be able to make it through. Well they clearly did not get that memo and they gave me about a foot and a half. That foot and a half might as well have been 3 inches because there was no way I was fitting my bike through that unrealistically small space. The edge of course was a drop off and by drop off I mean death defying cliff. I tried I really did, but I failed. I went off the "cliff" all 2 inches of it and flew off my bike in the what I am sure was a batch of poison ivy. The four people I unsuccessfully tried to pass came rushing over to see if I was ok. A woman on the phone kept walking like she didn't just see the most humiliating scene in my life happen. I don't them I was fine ( I wasn't) as I dusted the dirt and leaves off of myself. I started to get back on my bike and the stranger showed me that my handlebars were completely backwards which of course would hinder my ride of shame I was about to embark on. After I was good to go I said thank you and reassured them I was fine even when I actually wasn't. I rode my bike about 13 feet when I came to where Paul and Elizabeth were waiting on me. I told him what had just happened and we laughed and chatted for a second as the people who witnessed my greenway dimiss walked by. Then it happened. I couldn't help it. I cried. I cried because I was humiliated. I cried because I was mad Paul had left me alone even though I told him to. I cried because now I hated him just a little for throwing me out on the "interstate" with only one test drive, and I cried because quite frankly my behind hurt where I fell on a stick or rocks or something hard in the ditch. I decided I was going to head back to the van, but that there was no way I was riding that bike back so I pushed the bike which was perfectly fine back 2 miles.
The good news is I am not giving up because the 2.1 miles before the crash were great and I loved it. Plus my husband really wants us to do this. So I have gone a few more times in the parking lot and practiced some more and only had one almost crash. Which that in it's self is sad because I was alone....in a parking lot.... and I almost crashed. Today for Mother's day my husband took me alone with no kids to distract me or ride faster than I could, he took me alone on the greenway. He stayed behind me and went as slow as I needed. We only did half of the trail and he stopped and walked every time I needed him to. I didn't crash and I am getting better. I will do it again and it will be awesome and we will be that family all together on the greenway. In the meantime if you hear me coming up from behind and I yell "to your left!!" I am gonna need you to get off the path for me. Ok? Thank for understanding.