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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bicycling in Paris - II

I woke up this morning having second thoughts about buying a bicycle. How many times will I ride it in order to amortize the purchase? And what will I do with it when I have to move out of this apartment at the end of August? I didn't ride it yesterday when I went out, I took the bus for a trip that wasn't that far. It would have been easy to get there on the bike. . .But I was kind of dressed up, wearing white pants . . .

This morning I was determined to go for a ride, and I spent many long minutes trying to wrestle the bike back into the elevator. I got it up here, I should be able to get it down! I got plenty dirty in the process - good thing I wasn't wearing white pants.

Once I finally got outside I had to face again that irrational fear. Where does it come from?? How can I blithely get on a plane and travel to a foreign country all alone when the simple act of getting on a bicycle scares me? Where does that caution come from?

One image that came to mind today was of my first bicycle. How old was I? Six? Eight? Anyway, I remember the bicycle well - it was really ugly - black and red, used, a boy's bike, and a little big for me. But I loved it. I felt a tremendous freedom on that bike. (this was back in the days when kids actually played outside - no "play dates" back then . . .) I was also quite a daredevil. I remember very clearly pushing the limits - standing up on the frame, no hands, etc. However, I also remember one day showing off - "look ma, no hands!" and just then I fell off the back. Fell on my head. (No helmets back then either). Scalp wounds bleed a lot. Did I get stitches? Go to the emergency room? Maybe, I don't really remember. I do remember a lot of blood. And I also remember someone (my mom?) saying: "See what happens when you show off?!"

So it took me a long time to try to ride hands free again. And it was only last year at a mountain bike clinic with Carol, that I started relearning some of the 'tricks' that I could do when I was eight . . .

So that is what I'm doing these days. Enjoying Paris, but also asking questions, pushing my limits, learning more about myself.

And now I can park my bike in the 'cave' where it will be more accessible. Much easier than wrestling it into that elevator! I just take it down these stairs:

p.s. I had a good ride! I got my heart rate up, and had a good workout.

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