I never thought I would have a “bicycling” section on my website. Then again, I never thought I would run marathons, either.
As a kid, I rode my bike in a rural Northern California neighborhood. Bike lanes didn’t exist, neither did helmet laws, and thorns in my tires were my biggest obstacles. Sometimes I would ride up to the top of a hill, watch the sun set over Mt. Shasta to the east and over Lake Shastina to the west, write terrible poetry, then zoom back home before it was too dark.
As an adult, I had a Huffy bike and one time used it to “ride along” with bike cops for half a day for my job. When someone stole the seat off it, I didn’t really care. When I took up running, I realized that outdoor exercise is pretty amazing, and that bicycling is good cross training. My father, a lifelong bicycle enthusiast, sent me a check with orders of which bike to buy (a 2008 Trek women’s hybrid 7.3). It was so light and fast and non-clunky!
I still didn’t really take to cycling that much, but I kept doing it periodically, mainly because I owned the bike and knew it was good for me. I tried clip-less “egg beater” pedals and liked going faster and using more muscles, but I had a terrible time unclipping and eventually took them off because I kept falling and hurting myself.
In early 2011, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, started learning about triathlons, discovered that there were lots of pretty places to see, and once again tried clipless pedals. These were SPD pedals, and I could actually get my shoes out of them. My running buddy, Kristen, patiently let me tag along with her sometimes and gave me some good pointers. After reading one of her blog posts about a century ride, that became another of my lifetime goals.
At the beginning of 2014, I stopped running for awhile due to an injury that wouldn’t go away. I eventually got back on my bicycle, and that’s when I discovered that 25+ miles gave me a similar mental release that running gave me. The century ride goal was revived.
In early 2015, I bought a fancy road bike (an unridden 2013 women’s Trek Madone 4.5). This bike was ever so much lighter and faster than my other bike! It had road handlebars and skinnier tires! And room for two water bottles! That May, I finally did a century ride. And then in July, I did the 206-mile Seattle to Portland two-day ride. Yes, I went from no century rides to finishing three of them in a two-month span — two of them in two days. I guess that, along with my growing collection of bike jerseys, makes me a cyclist now?