I know one thing: I don’t want to have to deal with anything but actual riding my first time back; the weather will have to be perfect. I follow the forecasts carefully, and decide to go out on the first Spring day.
But which bike to use? Feeling like a newbie, my first choice would be Lucille, who has a friendly step-through, and whose gears are easy to understand. But my wrist is not ready for those flatbars. Likewise Janet who is aluminum (a bumpier ride). With a view to cushioning the wrist, I decide on Lola, the Cadillac of my little fleet.
Her tires have flattened over time, and I’m not yet up to using a bike pump (unless I sit on it, which I have seriously considered). So I walk her over to Zen Bikes, where they happily inflate her tires and send me off with smiles and a high sign.
But no amount of wishing me good luck will make up for so much time off. The drop bars feel foreign; I sense a steep degradation in my street shops. I make it carefully over to the Greenway, and up we glide slowly.
Did I say glide? Lola is gliding. I am not. I have lost all familiarity with her gears and am mystified that I ever knew how to ride this bike. Why is my lower derailer kicking in all of a sudden? Which is the lever for higher gears, and how do I downshift? In spite of the smooth ride, I feel like a rank beginner on a thoroughbred. I give Lola completely contradictory signals. If she were a horse, she would have every right to buck me off by now. We make it in fits and starts up to the tennis courts, passed by everybody, me feeling slightly embarrassed.
The whole experience makes me ask how I got myself into this to begin with. All this money spent on bikes, all this time spent riding (and blogging). It all seems like a dream now, from which I have emerged with a new, sober perspective. Perhaps it was just a phase, I think. A healthy coping mechanism I came up with to deal with all the disasters of last year. Maybe I’ll just sell everything and return to the way things were before the shit hit the fan in my life.
On the return trip, I tire of so much thinking. I decide to just enjoy what I can of this Spring day. And of course once I let go, intuition kicks in and the logic of shifting comes right back. Lola is as perfect and responsive as I remember. Hmmm.
Back home, I’m glad to find the wrist is in good working order. I have The Five Borough Bike Tour coming up on May 3rd. That might be something to shoot for…