I did it. I rode my bike. Outside. In public. I am awesome. However, if how I ride a bike is any indication of how I drive a car, I shouldn't be allowed to have a licence. Just call me Swervy McSwerverosn. It'll get better I'm sure - it takes some getting used to. Heck, I haven't ridden a bike for 15 years (and that was just once!) and then 12 or 13 years before that.
I have to admit that I did not wear my helmet on this first trip but I was encouraged by other girls wearing similar helmets while riding both cruisers and 10 speeds. However, they had really cute metallic colours for their helmets and I was super envious. Anyways, I digress. I will wear my helmet tomorrow when I go for my next, longer ride (I'm not working tomorrow).
Mom came with me in the elevator for the first time. I didn't want to look like an incompetent boob by myself. Turns out, the little lady fits perfectly in the elevator provided its just me and maybe one other person. No lifting needed! Getting out the double front doors of our building???? That's a whole other story. We learned our collective lesson exiting and I came in through the single back door by myself (much easier).
Onto the ride! I walked my bike down the hill as I'm not big on hills or speed and I was afraid I'd forget that I had foot brakes not hand brakes and I'd go flying into traffic coming from 4 different directions. Crossed the street and then another street, then up onto the sidewalk. I had planned on walking to the side street I wanted to take but there is never anyone on this particular sidewalk so I hopped on. Still slightly awkward but I didn't fall over. From there, there was no turning back! Down the street to the river valley trails Edmonton is famous for and I was off like a herd of turtles. It was great. All you have to do is a couple of rotations of the pedals and BOOM! I was coasting along beautifully. And the minute you hit a slight downhill? I was flying! If I had hair, the wind would be blowing through it.
Problems arose the minute I headed uphill, even for the tiniest little incline. Momentum ceased. Resume pedalling. It wasn't too bad until I hit this wee bridge. Talk about work. Very quickly, it became painfully obvious that I hadn't ridden a bike in a very long time. I made it along the river valley until it reached a major road and then turned around and headed home. All in all, about 30 minutes (including the walking up and down the hill to/from the apartment and getting off the bike to walk around a fallen tree) and approximately 3 miles. I can't wait for tomorrow.
Riding through my little section of the river valley certainly made me view it in an entirely different light. I've walked through there numerous times but there was something fantastic about flying through the trees, dodging low hanging branches and leaves. It was absolutely beautiful and I wish I had not waited so long to get my bike.
I came home exhausted. My ass hurt. My thighs hurt. My hands hurt (gripping too hard!). I was hot. I was SUPER sweaty. I was seriously parched. I loved every single moment.
I have to give a big shout out to the ever fabulous Sheryl Yvette for the inspiration. Her adventures along the streets of the Big Apple on her Hello Kitty cruiser encouraged me to get my own bike and get out there.