I thought I had put my fear of road biking behind me. My long-time readers (hi Mom!) may be sitting here like What you talkin’ bout Willis, but there was a time, long before I started blogging when I was terrified of riding my bike anywhere near cars. So, early in my cycling career I became a bike slut. I was willing to ride with literally, anyone until I was comfortable enough to ride solo with car traffic. I had one bike riding partner whom I’m ashamed to admit to even knowing; He was about my dad’s age at the time, and he was fond of bashing his wife and kids on our rides. One night he invited me to his house for dinner after a ride. At the time it seemed weird, but not too weird to accept the free meal. But thinking about it now, I cringe at the inappropriateness of it. I wonder what I was thinking, but knowing me, I was probably afraid I would hurt his feelings if I declined. Never mind the fact I could hardly stand him. I can only imagine what his wife thought when her husband unexpectedly brought a spandex-clad 24 year old female cycling buddy home to the family dinner she’d prepared.Fast forward ten years. I’ve biked this, this, this, and all kinds of other kinds of badass stuff. Yet, afer all this time I’m still way too concerned about what other people think of me. And I’m still having issues with fear around road biking. Because now, attached to the same Specialized Allez I bought with 2003 my tax return and some help from my parents all those years ago, is a Burley trailer with my beating heart sitting inside, wearing a teeny tiny monkey print helmet.
I used to think it wasn’t worth my time to change, pump up my tires, and ride if I wasn’t going at least 15-20 miles. On Thursday, I spent no less than 55 minutes figuring out how to connect the Burley to the bike, adjusting Sweet Pea’s brand new helmet, pumping up my tires, pumping up the Burley tires, attaching the flag to the Burley, intermittently taking sticks and stones out of Sweet Pea’s mouth and sprinting to snatch her up before she crawled into the street while I was attending to these tasks, and by the time we were ready to go at, naptime was hovering close like a supervisor with stale breath and I still hadn’t fed her lunch. But hell if I wasn’t going to take us for a spin after all that effort. So we went around the block twice and I considered it an excellent use of my time, since it meant The First Time was now out of the way.
Today, Library Story hour was scheduled for 10:15 and the sun was shining. At 8:05 I Skype messaged Dan, “I want to bike down to the Main Branch with Sweet Pea in the Burley but I’m scared.” I don’t know if I was hoping he’d hold me, send an escort, or what, but he encouraged me to go and sent me a link to a Google Map with a route to the library that would keep us exclusively on bike paths. After a mere 20 minutes of prep (Rome wasn’t built in a day, people) I pretended I knew what I was doing and off we went.
I really hope Sweet Pea bought it because it is my understanding that a) children smell fear and b) kids can never know parents are scared because that is just, like, against the order of the entire universe. I think we’re cool because she slept the whole time.
The ride was uneventful. Save for getting a little turned around (I’m still just as bad with directions as I ever was) and discovering parts of the CU campus I never knew about, everything went as planned. And I felt like a beast climbing up University Hill towing an extra 19 pounds of child.
If the last ten years have taught me anything, it’s to deal with fear by just doing whatever I’m scared of (sans creepy, older, married men).