After a recent breast diagnosis, I've been prescribed a course of radiation, which I've been doing for a week now (it's incredibly weird and depressing if you want to know the truth). I've been told the more active I am, the better I'll do. Before I started, I got an exercise bike, and I ramped up my miles to 15 at one clip before my first session last week.
To keep my spirits up while this was going on, I courageously booked a biking trip in the Loire Valley in France for the Summer. Even though I haven't ridden a bike in ages, even though I didn't even have a bike, it seemed like such a fun thing to do. I figured I'd get in training with Citi Bikes, which are plentiful here. But seeing these Bromptons gave me a whole new incentive; I would actually have space in the house for one - and they're cute! As soon as I got home, I did a search and found these guys:
They're on the Lower East Side (not far from me), specialize in folding bikes and today I went over there.
Wow! It's a tiny place - basically located under a stoop on the Lower East Side - absolutely crammed with every kind of folding bike (and some scooters) you can imagine. I already knew what I wanted though. And what color.
Kelly took the bike down and showed me how to fold and unfold it. He was incredibly patient - must have spent 20 minutes with me, coaching me on technique and the order of the fold (it's printed on a label on the central shaft, but I still felt like a total idiot). There was a moment when I thought, I'm just too old for this; I'll never get this bike to work! But I decided to go ahead with it anyway, hoping I'd do better when no one was watching - just on my own at home. And Kelly advised me to practice as soon as I got home so as not to forget what I'd just learned.
A year ago, I was at a wonderful SGI Buddhist center in Weston Florida. They have bikes - nothing fancy - and I thought I'd try one out. It was surprisingly completely different from the experience of riding I remember as a kid. My first (and last) ride there, I found myself in a parking lot unable to dismount and I panicked - I didn't know what to do. I didn't fall but I came close. I had a bruise that took a month to heal.
And now I want to take a folding bike out in traffic in New York City? Am I nuts? My bones are porous, I haven’t ridden in years. Maybe this isn’t the wisest choice I could be making at this point in my life...
But you know what? I've played it safe my whole life. I haven't traveled, I haven't adventured. I've taken creative risks, but otherwise I've lived quite meekly. But something changed with this breast thing. Although I was never in any real danger from it, it brought home to me how important it is to really live my life. Now.
Still, I don't want to be stupid about it. Knowing what I know about my riding skills (what riding skills?!), I was not about to take this brand new bike into New York City traffic; I walked it all the way home from 13th St and 2nd Ave, across Union Square and over to Chelsea. The BFold guys must have thought I was really crazy.
But I was beaming. As of today, I'm a bike owner. Tomorrow I hope to be a bike rider.