It is said that once you learn how to ride a bicycle, you never forget. This is true, even if, like me, you didn’t own a bicycle. I did not have a bike of my own as a child, although I did very much enjoy learning on and riding other people’s bikes. And it wasn’t a piece of cake riding a bike then, as I lived out in the country in the Appalachian Mountains of western Pennsylvania. I’m working on regaining those climbing skills.
I grew up without a bike and went off to college in Philadelphia without a bike. I met my boyfriend (now my husband), and on very rare occasions rode his. We got married and had kids, but I had no bike. We moved to South Jersey, and I was still without a bike. This went on for a while.
After the kids had grown some, Mark got back into cycling, and I started to be a little envious. So we went to D & Q and we bought me a hybrid. My first bike! I tooled around the neighborhood on it, and enjoyed that, but I couldn’t find a way to go very far. I was at last convinced to join a team and do some group rides. Since I was clearly a D rider, I had few places to go, so I became a Rock-It Rider. I was well taught by one of their former captains on how to ride in a group, and every week that I went out I got stronger and better at riding. I was having fun, but noticed that my bicycle weighed what a turkey does while all the road bikes weighed what a hummingbird does. Back to D & Q for my carbon fiber road bike.
This was 5 years ago. There were a few people urging me to join Team Evesham, but I couldn’t — no D rides. I asked someone in charge why that was so. While I was waiting for my appointment to get my new road bike fitted, Kevin Comber stepped up to lead a D ride (thanks, buddy!) I had taken a spill the day before trying to ride my bike with the seat at the proper height. (You see, as I have come to realize much later, it is not necessarily a good idea to learn how to ride someone else’s bike, especially when you are over quite tall and they are not. You get comfortable riding a bike that’s too small with the seat way too low. It’s a serious adjustment when that seat gets raised several inches.) My elbow was sore. After that ride I went to get the elbow checked out and learned it was broken. Off the bike for 6 weeks at least, while my new bike waited patiently in the basement at the store for me to heal.
Once I did, I really got into cycling and joined Team Evesham. I have gotten faster and stronger, ridden in the winter chill and in the summer heat, become a ride leader, completed metric centuries and a few centuries, done many charity rides, become competent at changing flat tires, and most importantly, made some good friends and some good memories riding hither and yon. On a bike that fits.
It’s also been said, “In life, it’s not where you go, but who you ride with.” In fact, it says that on a couple of jerseys I’m proud to own. So, hooray for that D ride, because I’ve been riding with some great people since. And don’t argue with me about this, because I’m tough enough to ride with broken bones.