This face appropriately describes how I feel about any bike, not just a bike with a bucket. However, the bucket does seem like a good solution for how to carry all of my nerves. The bike is the part of the triathlon that scares me the most.
My friend, Jessica, moved to Italy a long time ago…maybe 10 years. When she moved, she gave me her hybrid bike. I have ridden it 3 times…no wait..4 times. Jessica on the other hand is a tried and true Italian expat who rides her bike to work every day. I envy her courage and endurance. When I moved to my new home, I had great plans to ride my bike to my plot in the community garden every day. Then, I thought about the traffic, and I got scared.
When I was a kid, my brother and I would ride our bikes to town to hang out with our friends. It was a five mile, very hilly ride with almost no cars. When our dad would get home from work, he would come pick us up and drive us and our bikes home. I would get scared on the downhills and go too slowly to make it back up the next hill. The fastest part of the ride was outrunning the Plummer family’s small, yappy dogs that would chase us. I learned I was more afraid of the dogs than the speed. Without me, Josh could make it to town in half the time. But, he never left me behind.
One evening when I was 16, I headed out for a ride. They had just paved our road and there was a 2 inch drop from the road to the shoulder. I heard a car coming, and when I turned to look, I went off the lip and crashed. I had road rash on every joint on the left side of my body-jaw, shoulder, elbow, wrist, knuckles, hip, knee, and ankle. I rode home (because there was no other option), but didn’t get on a bike again for a very long time. I need to get over this fear.
All of the experts say not to get a new bike for your first triathlon. Ride whatever you have, even if it is a mountain or hybrid bike. At first I liked this idea a lot. Then, I stopped at the local bike shop. Marty’s Reliable Cycle, like almost every bike shop, leads group road rides. I think group road rides would be what I need to get over this stupid fear of cars. Everything is easier with other people around. But, I know I would never show up with my hybrid. I would be too embarrassed. I have a hard enough time being the new kid, but being the new kid that stands out would be worse. Logically, I know no one would really judge me, but I would feel out of place. Plus, it would make it harder to keep up.
The awesome sales guy at Marty’s (I think his name was Eric) spent 45 minutes explaining to me all kinds of things about bikes, pedals, clips, shoes, bike racks, and clothing. He showed me their two least expensive road bikes. I had seen one of them on sale on their website. When I showed him, he was surprised by what a good price it is. He said the money I would save would cover the pedals, clips, and shoes. I plan to go back in the next few weeks to buy it. He said there is little chance of anyone else buying it, because not a lot of people would need a bike as short as what I need. Also, the fact that we got over a foot of snow today also discourages most normal people from thinking about buying a new bike.
Most likely, I will ride it around my loop street for a very long time before actually taking it out on the road. But, just like the swimming, I have to start somewhere.