Getting Back on the Horse

Celebrate Small VictoriesOne bikemare is over, another seems to be just starting.  I am standing at the end of my street holding my bike and trying to talk myself into pushing off for another try.  I am trying to learn to stop on my bike without falling and I have failed 7 out of 10 times, including the most recent one. Sometimes I  just lay the bike down gently, sometimes I come crashing down with it but the most common way for this very short ride to end is with me on the ground.

Why? I can’t touch the ground with my feet while in the saddle, and I don’t fit comfortably between the seat and the stem so I can’t just hop off and straddle the top tube. So there’s a specific technique that’s involved wherein I have to slow to a near stop, throw my leg out far enough that I don’t trip myself when I lay the bike to the side whilst pushing it backward.  It is (with a nod to Eddie Izzard) less of a technique and more of a maneuver, and at this point it’s a maneuver I’m doing while freaking out and thinking “DON’T FALL! DON’T FALL! DON’T FALL!

I’ve decided that I won’t stop trying until I’ve been successful three times in a row.   Just three more to go! I’m not scared exactly, but I also don’t want to go again –  I am hurting from the multiple impacts, and I’m just sick of falling, and I’m feeling pretty sure that by now one of my neighbors is taking video that I’ll find on YouTube.

After a number of ideas (KITT, after the car in Knight Rider, was in serious contention) I had named the bike Phyxius. It’s Greek for “taking to flight” and is named after the boat owned by Keanu Reeves’ character (Shane Falco) in the movie The Replacements;  which, although there are many problematic things that I do not try to justify, I dearly love for its “ragtag band of misfits wins sporting event” storyline.  As I stand with Phyxius trying to think positive thoughts, I’m reminded of a scene where Pat Summerall says “One thing we do know, is that Falco can take a hit.”  And John Madden responds “He’s sure had enough practice.”  Indeed.

“Just fucking go” I say out loud to myself. I push off again. Three tries later I have three successful stops in a row and I am headed inside.  I have the distinct sense that I am going to feel this the next morning. (I will turn out to be very right about that.)

In good news, the going forward doesn’t seem to be a problem, but I’ll be testing that with longer rides soon.  For now, I’ll have to be satisfied with three successful stops in a row and a long epsom salts bath.

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About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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12 Responses to Getting Back on the Horse

  1. mawe says:

    Knee and elbow pads would seem to be in order here, Ragen


  2. Jamie says:

    Love that movie- great inspiration for your bike’s name! As always, you are an inspiration and an Epic F’in Bad Ass (borrowed the phrase from another blogger, Anna Kunnecke).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah says:

    You are such an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. natalieh says:

    The dismount is the worst, I can’t touch the ground when in the saddle either and whenever I hoist myself up my shorts get stuck on the front of the saddle, requiring a less than delicate adjustment. I found practicing coasting while standing up off the saddle helpful in learning balance and finding the point that I can still be on my bike and tip to the side I want to put my foot down, and just barely touch with my crotch set slightly off to the same side of the cross bar as the foot ion the ground.

    Falling sucks but it sounds like you totally got this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lsstrout says:

    Bummer about the painful learning period, but glad you got your three successes!


  6. Stacy says:

    hahah I’m so proud of you for sticking with it! Dang! All those tries and bumps and bruises and you stuck with it – THAT is awesome! I have an amazing capacity to go to very far lengths to avoid even the most minor of pain, I would even say I’m Pain-Phobic. lol So hearing about your triumph over the falls and the pain that comes with that makes me smile HUGE for your victory in sticking with it. You really are an inspiration, Ragen! I’m so glad you’re sharing this journey with us!


  7. Wow, you’re so brave. You can do it. It will get easier, I’m sure. Just keep going 🙂


  8. Jessica says:

    Now that your bike has a name things can only get better, right? My tri bike’s name is Ella Blue. Blue because she’s, well, blue, and Ella, short for elephant, because training for an Ironman is like eating an elephant. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Every time you get back on Phyxius you are taking a bite of that elephant, and before you know it you’ll be zooming down Beeline highway on your third loop of the IMAZ bike course!


  9. Jean says:

    You go girl!


  10. karenashg says:

    A couple thoughts…

    1) You’re a dancer–you can do this!!!!

    2) Stopping has become much less adventurous for me as I have also become much more comfortable maneuvering at slow speeds Though I can’t yet trackstand, I can sustain a moment of balance long enough that I can come to a stop calmly, rather than panicking at the need to get a foot to the ground RIGHT NOW!

    3) And continuing on #2, practice makes perfect–things that were once terrifying adventures for me on the bike are now things I don’t think twice about. It just takes continuing to be on the bike and doing stuff. (Especially stuff like mindful practice–progressively smaller figure 8’s in a parking lot while reminding myself not to tense up, and to look where I want to go, for example.)


  11. dhold says:

    I love your determination! Keep it up Ragen! You got this


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