Wednesday, December 31, 2008
It's important to laugh at yourself sometimes.
On Friday it looked relatively warm outside - emphasis on looked - and Kyle and I both had the afternoon free. We decided it was high time I tried my new Shimano shoes and SPD pedals outside. We loaded up the bikes and drove to a nearby park parking lot (because I was not about to learn how to use cycling shoes in downtown Frederick traffic). I climbed out of the car and within 30 seconds was freezing cold and had to go to the bathroom. While Kyle got ready I rode up a narrow grass-lined path to what looked like a bathroom facility - emphasis on looked (today was just not going to be my day). When it came time to get off of the bike I slowed down, got my left foot out of the pedal with no trouble, and then instead of stopping and leaning on that leg I decided to also remove my right foot while still pedaling. Apparently I planned to hop forward and put both feet down at the same time as the bike rolled to a stop? I don't actually know. In any case I totally failed. Luckily I landed in the grass and no one saw that mishap.
After failing to find a bathroom I gave up and returned to the parking lot. I started to get the hang of unclipping just my left foot to stop and then clipping back in as soon as possible when I started pedaling again. Kyle and I then briefly discussed where we wanted to ride and apparently during that discussion I forgot that I was wearing cycling shoes that clipped into my pedals, because the next time I went to stop I did just that: hit the brakes without freeing either of my feet. I had time to yell "Oh no!" as my bike and I tipped over in slow motion. You'd be surprised how terrifying it is to feel tied to your bike while it crashes - apparently so terrifying that I didn't even try to pedal or clip out on the way down. I believe Kyle is still kicking himself for not bringing his video camera. As I lay on the ground laughing hysterically I heard a cacophony of young voices from the basketball court to our right. Kyle yelled back "Yeah. She's experienced," so I asssumed they had asked if I knew how to ride a bicycle, not an illogical question given the circumstances. It turns out, however, that they were just asking if I was ok, so Kyle meant that I was experienced at falling. Thanks Kyle. I suppose he was right though: after years of aggressive sports I know how to curl and cushion any fall. I got a scrape on my knee but that was it; definitely more shame than pain.
Did I mention that it was really, really cold out? Kyle and I were both in shorts and two light jerseys so a long ride was not going to happen. Instead we did some circuits of the neighborhood so that I could practice unclipping and clipping in at each stop sign, and then we rode up the road a bit because Kyle had his eye on a scene fit for FailBlog. Then we rushed home where it was warm. We couldn't have ridden more than two or three miles but it was definitely a valuable learning experience with some funny failures.
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