Hitting the road

When I was a wee thing, I was one of the least athletic kids in our neighborhood which was filled with soccer stars, hockey players and kids who could do a cartwheel or throw a ball far.

I? Could read really fast.

But, along with reading, I could pedal a bicycle and, on our bikes, we were all equal. From Toughskins to short-shorts, banana seats to 3-speeds, a pack of kids would fly around our quiet “figure 8” neighborhood for seemingly hours, until the street lights went on and we had to go home.

When I became a gawky teenager without a boyfriend, I would hop on my blue ten-speed and venture far beyond my neighborhood, making a big “O” though town. I didn’t feel so gawky on my bike.

I picked up again after college, riding on weekends and on summer nights, through the streets of Providence, from the north side all the way over to the East Side where I’d ride next to fast-moving cars who would just barely move over to pass me. It was then that I rode the MS150, a tough two-day race which, at that time, took me from Rhode Island to Connecticut, up through Massachusetts, to Vermont and then a skip over to New Hampshire. I did it totally alone, expect for the hundreds of other riders, but I’d long since grown comfortable by myself on a bike, just swooshing along.

Over the next twenty years, I’d ride here and there but when I decided to jump into mountain biking, I almost lost my enjoyment for two wheels entirely. All of a sudden, I was biking with other people, people who were so much better and less fearful than me. All of a sudden, I was uncertain of my abilities and anxious at the top of any incline. I became that scared, nervous, unathletic me all over again.

I tried to like mountain biking but didn’t. And then I had babies, three of them in rapid succession, and biking, mountain or road was not on the agenda.

So, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic tonight after getting my butt on my bike twice in the past few nights. I love how quickly everything zips by. I love the feeling of wind on my face and arms. And I love that I feel strong and quick and capable on my bike.

Just don’t ask me to pop a wheelie.


  1. Luv.

  2. This month, after some prodding from your nephew, mom broke out daddy's old bike– the sparkly green 1970's Schwinn he bought when we lived in Milwaukee. It's been 25 years. She rode up and down our street over and over again. I don't know what made me laugh more– how much fun Oma had, or how my little guy kept yelling at her to wait up when she zipped off.

  3. Ummmm….ok and why won't you do the tri? Oh yeah the swimming. Well we can hang on the kayak together because I have no clue how I'll do the swimming. Did you realize I was going to make this comment about why you aren't doing the tri? 🙂 Really though…I've been adding biking a bit to my routine and I do like the change but I don't know how to shave some time off. It takes me an hour to do the 10 miles that I have to do and that is working for it. So I hope to shave some time off…any tips?

    And I think you might be able to get Kerry to do the swim portion for you.

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