So, my husband is getting all freakishly “bike culture” on me. OK, maybe not; except that he bikes to work, bikes home, takes the kids on any errand he can think of that is remotely bikeable (this is hauling 70 lbs. of kids PLUS a bike trailer and up and down many steep hills), and constantly comes up with “fun” bike trip ideas (often involving miles and miles in the sun). I love it that he’s so active; when he runs or bikes more often he’s less stressed – he gets a hot(ter) body, gets randier and more relaxed; not to mention he is a great example for the kids.*
Me, I’m somewhat less athletically-minded. Like a few other pursuits in my life, my physical activity waxes and wanes and I give it up or take it on with a pretty noncommittal attitude. I have a crummy bike; a Walmart special that technically has “gears” that when you change them on a hill (which is how it works, generally) squawk and chunk and jerk the bike and you’re all sweaty and weaving and have this vague fear your fucking chain is going to come off and someone is looking at your wobbly ass. Because of the lameness of my bike with regards to hills my husband has been bike shopping in my stead for some time now. He has found a few bikes that were good deals (i.e. free or a couple bucks) and brought them home only to find all-in-all they were worth no more than my current POS. Luckily one of our local bike talents has taken a shine to either my family or me and is now assembling a good bike for a reasonable cost; I look forward to purchasing it.
In the meantime I know Ralph would like us to take more bike trips as a family, so today I suggest to him that instead of an evening family walk we bike downtown to rent a movie. I know this means a horrific bike back home; they don’t call my neighborhood Castle Hill for nothing. Ralph (joyously) packs the kids in the trailer, finds my helmet, and tightens my seat (another “bonus” of my bike – the seat will shimmy back and forth which isn’t cool in any way). We bike down; a great talk, the trailer open so the kids feel the wind on their faces. I truly love biking (downhill or flat-stretch!) next to Ralph; our kids like to hear our voices and egg us on and for the most part allow us to talk.
We quickly hit the movie store and pick up a few kid films and hop back on our bikes and I am contemplating pretending my tire is flat so I can walk up the hill (I learned this trick from my brother a few years back) but for some sick, sick reason I start trudging my way up the slope. “What’s the point,” I think to myself as I grudgingly put my clanky wreck into pussy-gear. Pedalpedalpedal and I am moving the speed of ass. Breathing becomes arduous. I tack back and forth, but do not stop or even curse God’s name. The hill goes on and on. Ralph, I can tell, is gaining some respect for me – after all, I haven’t biked in weeks with large in-between time. I finally get far enough up the hill that I know I will make it, but far enough away from the summit I start to wish I’d never been born. Tack, wheeze, wobble. Thank 8 pound, 6 ounce Baby Jesus it is dark and my public humiliation isn’t too visible.
Finally; home. I am awesome. If I don’t think about it too much, I might even do it again.
The coolest part is that I recently re-started smoking regularly (another habit I take up and put down at random); I know the more I exercise the less I will want to smoke and the more I will feel OK with the occasional drag.
I’ll say it again: I am awesome.
* Did I mention the bike he rides is a Freecycle score and almost as old as he is? No snooty boutique gear needed for this man. He fucking rocks.