Forgive me bicycle for I have sinned… I think as I disentangle my ride out from the dusty, cluttered garage. I check the tires for air, and pump the brakes. It’ll be several hours before my ride home, so I flash my headlight across hand to test the batteries before fixing it to the handle bars. With maintenance excuses eliminated, I roll my bike through the gate to the driveway.
…It’s been over month since my last riding session… That was only once too, on our anniversary the wife and I spent the afternoon biking, we ate Indian food for lunch and shopped at the farmer’s market. The Goat Vindaloo was spicy and delicious, I had the Chicken Marsala. That was a nice pleasant ride, easy with all the time in the world. Before that I’m not sure when I rode last. I can’t say at all the last time I rode hard. I retrieve my work clogs from the cab of the truck, and I drop them into my panniers. I wonder how I have let this fall into such a state of laxness.
It only took getting caught in a few downpours to put me off riding during the long dreary and wet winter. Weeks would go by without suitable weather. I felt somehow I had betrayed my bike, through neglect. On the rare occasions when I did go riding I would no longer use the fitness tracker, with its encouraging, metallic, feminine voice that would urge me on with reports on my time and distance. I grew more and ashamed of ignoring the notifications on my phone letting me know how much she missed me, until I finally deleted the app from my phone.
I would sometimes feel guilt towards my blog and its readers as well. So many of my early followers seem to come from my posts about cycling. However, as I continued to write my interests evolved elsewhere. Still those early readers gave me the confidence to keep writing and to stretch myself, to work towards my larger goals. I must owe them something, even just an explanation.
I strap my helmet on and I have tighten down the ratchet on the back to make it fit, I had removed nearly a foot of hair since last I wore it. I check my time and breath, if I’m going to do this I have to start pedaling if I am going to make it to work on time. I climb onto the saddle and commit to it. I turn the crank over awkwardly, stiffly and move forward.
The rain earlier in the day has loosened the grease and grit on the road, and my rear tire fish tails as I turn out onto the narrow bike lane painted along the highway into town. I reach the first mile and already I feel the stiffness in my legs and the extra pounds on my out of shape butt, gained through months of sedentary living and several holidays worth of eating.
Halfway through my ride and I begin to struggle. A short shower falls again onto the hot pavement, the heat of the afternoon evaporating it quickly driving the humidity up.Sweating and wheezing I crest the last of the hills and paused for water from my canteen. The trip I had grown so accustomed to over the spring and fall, now seemed to be too much. Pushing on I wonder again, how could I have let this happen.
Finally, after taking much longer I expected, over heated, dehydrated, and my knee aching, I roll to a stop in the alley outside work. Wearily dismounting I stagger around the back lot for a moment, sipping from remainder of my water. Sweaty and tired I made it through my commute for the first time in months, I had have pains but it is nothing a little ibuprofen won’t fix. Now I just have an eight hour shift before I can start my ride home.
It’s going to be a great season.