I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

There are too few perfect warm, summery days here in good old Minnesota. So, when they come around, you have to grab them. Same goes for my confidence and self-esteem: the highs are few and far between, so you make the most of each and every fleeting moment. Over the next few months, I intend to grab hold and explore–both my summer and my confidence.

Enter LouAnn.
IMG_20130615_20255820130613_191520LouAnn is my brand spanking new bicycle. And she’s a beaut. I have long longed to be one of those people, stealthily pedaling down the road, weaving in and out of traffic, breezing by slow movers like me on the running trails. And now, suddenly, I kind of am!

Last night I took Lulu (that’s her nickname, obviously) for my first real spin in the city. Let me preface this by saying that 1. I have no knowledge of proper biking etiquette or safety procedures, 2. I’m terrified of getting hit by a car, 3. my bike has no carrying receptacle for my phone or water bottle, and 4. I have previously despised the cyclists in my town who ride like their bike is car. So, you know, I’m well prepared to do this whole cycling thing. Sure.

I took Lou (her other nickname, obvi) down one of my favorite running routes and then some, seven miles in total. Just to test it out. I was nervous, but I smiled realizing how happy I was to simply be pedaling down the road. I could not physically or mentally have done this 60-some pounds ago. I realized, though, as I pedaled past my favorite little drummer boys and people I was sure were openly gawking at me, that I still haven’t gotten over the mental roadblock I have of being fat and on a bike. Like one of those circus bears on a small tricycle? That’s how I feel.
I wonder if the “everyone’s staring at me” thing in my mind is ever going to stop.
I wonder if I’ll ever just stop caring.

But I did it and I’ll keep doing it. Mind over matter, and all that. Speaking of which, I also made some very real progress on my summer bucket list! I registered for a bike race! I’ll be doing the Tour de Tonka in August. The ride is all around our gorgeous Lake Minnetonka and has several different routes you can chose–from 16 miles all the way up to 100. Yikes.I’ve haven’t yet decided on how many miles I’ll do, so let’s try something new here on Manda Kay Makes It…

Let me know what you guys think! I’m going to be doing some fundraising for this race, too, but you’ll see more about that later :)I mentioned to my mom that I signed up for this race, and she pointed out that it’s the same day as other plans she and I had made. The guilt immediately set in. I’ll cancel the race, I said. No hesitation. But Mama Ruthie insisted that I do the race–it’s more important for you to be healthy and get exercise, she said.

And it hit me: she’s right. I keep talking about how I’m here to make my life, and this race offers just that opportunity. Keeping my prior commitment to my mom is not living my life. Doing this bike ride, training, setting and achieving a major goal, that’s living my life. On my terms. Putting myself first. Being selfish in the best way. But it’s not a concept I’m familiar or comfortable with, so I’m struggling.

So, for now, I’m just going to keep riding. Block out the noise, the traffic, the guilt, and the voice in my head. Enjoy these summer days, grab hold of that confidence more and more. Moving forward, always.

2 thoughts on “I Want To Ride My Bicycle, I Want To Ride My Bike

  1. You are SO lucky you have a place to ride. We live on a small cul-de-sac right off a busy highway, so trying to get to anywhere that allows some safety would require loading a bike into the back of the truck and then finding a nice place to go.

    Good luck with your race, and enjoy the ride! Lou is a beaut!

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