“I Can’t Steer!” — “Ride, You’re on Camera!”

When I talk about learning how to ride a bike, I’m not exaggerating (even though many would say I have a flair for the dramatic). A few months ago, I thought it would be fun, so I  eventually took the plunge and bought my very own bike. I gotta say, I love my bike. It has an X-Small frame so it is very comfortable and I’m quite fond of the baby blue accents, which of course are accompanied by my baby blue helmet and gloves ;-)

Then I remembered. I didn’t ride a bike as a kid. So at 43, I am literally learning to start, stop, shift, break, and steer. My boyfriend of many, many years has been coaching me. And I gotta say, he has been amazingly patient and helpful, taking me through little obstacle courses around the school, coaching me on shifting around hills in my neighborhood, and guiding me on cadence.

A view of the lake - near the top of the treacherous trail

He said I was ready, so we made a date to pack up the bikes and head out. We went out east of Santa Margarita to the “Cold Canyon” trail, which is mainly dirt roads, some single track for his enjoyment,  several sandy washes, and a “greenhorn” amount of hills. The view at the top was lovely and I realized that we were at the back side of one of the fingers of Santa Margarita Lake. The elevation was a bit higher, so we enjoyed the pine and manzanita landscape and lovely rock outcroppings.

I waited a few days to watch this video — it’s a bit embarrassing actually, but funny nonetheless. Notice the very narrow path surrounded by the dangerous grassy meadow on both sides of me. You’d be scared too if you couldn’t steer ;-) But here it is, and surprisingly without profanity by either of us, cuz we both like to cuss a bit. (Listen carefully, that’s me giggling and saying, “I can’t steer!’)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOAbPAx9Ios&hl=en&fs=1]

The Little Victories All Count

Why? Because even a month ago, I wouldn’t have TRIED this ride!

  • I didn’t crash
  • I rode up and down every single hill
  • I tried a few safe, flat single tracks
  • I only shifted backwards half of the time
  • I began practicing a smidge with my front break
  • I only have one bruise (from one particularly spastic dismount)
  • I rode through all of the sandy washes (with some coaching)
  • I rode over a few rocks (in one area, he actually moved one of the big rocks so that I wouldn’t be too scared — HOW SWEET IS THAT?)
  • I rode for 2.5 hrs (including snack and water breaks) ! (Note: Avg heart rate of 150 for 2.5 hrs – so that is DARN GOOD!)

Branden (aka Bike Coach) - Smile for the Camera!

And special thanks to my coach – for moving rocks and encouraging me towards the top of each hill. He also said that he was proud that I tried everything and never said “I can’t.” (He later admitted that he expected me to walk through some of the obstacles.) Note: We forgot to take a pic of me, but I supposed the video counts, eh?

And remember… this is all part of my public goals (sigh)…

Anyone else out there learning how to ride a bike?
Any silly stories?