I have to write about this bike thing, even though in the process I’m going to have to admit to all manner of idiotic shit, in spite of which I am … inordinately lucky, and most of that comes from a happy accident of demography; you see, at my age bicycle accidents are (on average) among the freakish least statistically likely to cause my demise, and I have to tell you I do not particularly recommend anything I ever tell you I did, if there is something I do recommend I will surely make that more than painfully obvious.
But about this bike thing. It’s been a good bit of years (as far as obsessions of mine go) and shows no sign of abating, none at all. It keeps getting better, weirdly. We’ll see, won’t we?
Well anyway. It started some three years-ish ago. There’s blogging of it, but meh. I almost want to delete it to start this story over, because it is a much better story told from a little distance. So I’m sorry if you’ve heard this already, I promise this version has far better flow. Shall we?
It started when my car got repossessed, which led to a regrettable time of me mooching off my friends’ cars until it was time for me to stop, so abruptly I did. Abruptly. With no aforethought whatsoever. Bam. It started on the rustiest of old pieces of shit that ever put stains in porch paint, when I decided I would bike-commute, dammit, and I got on and promptly fell directly back off, having forgotten my son is close to a foot taller than I am, and also that I was fat, clumsy, and could barely make it up a flight of stairs only months earlier. No matter how bad of an idea it was, it started.
I rode that thing the first day all the way to the East End, 9 fucking miles though I didn’t even attempt Seaward Hill, I simply walked until the land got flat enough for me to roll across it with what strength I had. I had to stop several times, and walk. The odd .05% grade would do me under. Near the end of the ride, as I approached the gate at the end of the street, an elderly chihuahua came waddling furiously down the street after me, its sparse yellow fangs glistening in the dappled midsummer sunlight, and I in the lowest possible chainring, breathing like a teakettle and freaking right the fuck out, thought oh god this is how it ends this is just so fucking undignified.
But I outrode that short, fat, decrepit house pet, and I got to the lawn and I laid down needing the ground more than I’d ever needed a thing. Fuck. About 15 minutes later I dragged myself inside, through the shower and scrubbed with Dr. Bonner’s minty hemp wonder soap and *nobody thought I could do it*. I surprised the fuck out of them all. I no longer surprise them, but I suppose that’s my own fault. Heh.
Well. I never captured that feeble beast on camera, the second day I rode it I had gotten a front-wheel-removing ride home the night before, and no one would help me figure out the problem so I rode it. With the brakes on. For miles. Then I stopped in front of a car dealership where there were guys in blue shirts standing around chatting out in the warm morning air, and I stopped the bike on the sidewalk where they could see and started intently inspecting various things I had no idea what, and they came over and helped as best they could with absolutely zero knowledge of bicycles (as they admitted and I now realize was very, very true) they got the brakes partially released so that I could ride the rest of the way in a relatively less fatal amount of pain. I’m ashamed these were my coping skills and shit has surely changed since, but that evening I borrowed a car again, this time it wasn’t my dearest love the red Mini which I was a little bit in love with, it was the sturdy toyota so I could go buy a bike. My friends put up with a lot of my shit, I tell you what.
So the deep blue Schwinn was a pretty damn decent bike for $250, well not excellent for that amount of money but I believe it represented the best choice I could have evaluated at the time.
So I continued to bike commute 18 miles a day, 6 days a week, in ugly-ass fat girl clothes. I lost weight rapidly but starting from where I did, it took a few months; then my family left me, my dog got sick, and I got run over by an SUV.
. I was living alone on my own for the first time in my entire fifty one years, ever. I didn’t exactly hit the ground thriving. For awhile the neighbors thought someone was here, hurting me. No, that was just me, exercising my demons.
This installment of the whole story goes in all the categories, except the ones I have no idea what I was even thinking with. Fuck this blog/whatever is old. No I won’t delete (any more) embarrassing early attempts at whatever this is. No I will not. I stand by my lameness.
No one’s reading this anyway. Not for a long time. Years and eras, really. Except BFG. I dread the day one of us never makes it back here to say hi. Either way it’ll suck, man. You’ve been there all along. Much respect, and infinite gratitude.
This isn’t even for posterity. Shit if I don’t pay this blog bill this disappears first.
So I’ll leave this one at the crash (more or less) and come back to it momentarily.
That was then, this is now: