Yesterday I went on my first ever road cycling ride with a group–Monday’s Uptown Cycles ride (they leave at 6). Let me tell you how it happened. I’ve been thinking about riding for weeks now, going on rides by myself at my own best pace hoping that eventually I would be okay enough to not embarrass myself, or suck a lot worse than anyone else. You know, on my 1980s Schwinn that I got from Mark Chenney for less than a hundred bucks. And also with my pink helmet that is now completely covered in stickers (it started with just one) that makes me look like I’m trying to block out the voices.
I have a friend who does this ride and I sometimes meet him after for dinner and watch all the cool, spandex clad folks coming back from the ride in those jerseys with the back pockets and zippers and their fancy bikes. I’ll admit I sometimes roll my eyes just a little, but secretly I feel inferior. That’s the secret…I hardly ever feel I will measure up to all that hype.
But last week I talked to my friend Noelle, and I talked to my friend Dianna, and we agreed we’d meet for this ride. I was really glad about that because the other thing besides spandex and shiny bikes that I have a difficult time with is new people. Let me say I’m excellent with the people I already know, but I’m really bad at new people. I’m awkward times about a hundred. So I felt I was set…or as set as you can be on a 1980s Schwinn with a voice blocking helmet showing up to ride with fancy cyclists. What can I say? Sometimes I need a little help from friends. Which is why it’s awesome to have people who will show up for you no matter what you’re getting ready to do.
So in case you thought this was going to be a story about how I showed up and rode a bike, kicked ass and did a victory lap around the Rhino Mart, that is not what happened. This is not a victory lap story. It’s just a story about pedaling hard to keep up with people who were in all very nice about riding. It’s a story about how I had to stop on the road twice and flip my bike over to work out a kink in my chain and its a story about how much I enjoy riding with friends even if I have a hard time talking and riding at the same time. But also, I think there’s something here about continuing to show up botched and imperfect, on a bike that needs a new chain in my helmet that looks like I’m trying to block out the voices. There’s something about not waiting around for myself to be ready for the moment–because I may never be. But instead to show up just myself and hope that the moment is ready for me.