One 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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