Last year Matt bought me a bike for my birthday. It was right around the time I get incredibly sick and decided to have my surgery. I remember him telling me he wanted to get bikes, one for him and one for me. My first thought was, me – on a bike, I picture scraped bloody knees, possibly a broken elbow, nose, maybe some staples in my head. Much a surprise to some of my friends I used to be a major biking sleuth, for three summers I went to Bible Camp (yes Bible Camp) and did a two day 80 mile trip. I learned more about myself physically on those bike trips than any other type of physical activity in my life. I tested the boundaries of my body, I blistered, I baked in the sun, I chaffed, I cramped, but I pushed my body to the limit. It was spiritual in a way that I am sure the Bible Camp didn’t expect but I reminisce on those memories when I think about my brand new (ridden less than 6 times), shiny, beautiful bike sitting in the garage. My new version of testing my body is walking around the grocery store without (fingers crossed) not getting winded.
Matt and I are doing a lot of walking, and one fine day we thought we would test the Amanda being on a bike theory. I would love to say it went flawlessly. It didn’t, but somehow I still learned a lot about myself. We walked down the garage and with every pace on the concrete I wanted to turn and run. Not because I didn’t want to get on the bike, but because I was terrified of failure. Matt was smiling and on any average day I would willingly poke the eyes out of anyone who stole his smile away and at the moment I thought I was going to have to turn on myself. We get to the garage and pump up the tires. I swing my leg over the bar and immediately felt this buzz running through me. It was like I was kinetically connected to the bike. I mounted that sucker and took off. It was shaky at first and my ears told my brain that there was a serious misfire happening and I forced myself to ignore it. We took off. The wind whipping through my hair, my eyes were watering and I welcomed it. My legs started to burn from their lack of use and I just wanted more. We talked throughout the ride and it got more and more familiar. It was comforting.
We got closer to home and the fear kicked back. Now that I had myself in motion I was afraid to stop. I knew the sea legs were going to be bad and I didn’t want to wreck the wonderful bike ride. I dismounted and immediately was shaking. Matt was worried. He said I looked shaky and I laughed it off. My brain was saying, you do know you are still on the bike right? It took a while to adjust to not moving. Matt showered and was propped up on our bed, smiling. I sat down and we talked.
I told myself I had two ways to look at my bike ride and I felt both ways about it at the time. My first feeling was, damn Meniere’s Disease, what a friendly reminder I am sick, I am not normal, typical, average – that is really all I want. Can’t even take a nice bike ride without being sick afterwards. But, my second feeling was, I have to challenge myself, I took a big step. I didn’t let the feeling of discomfort keep me from getting on my beautiful bike. It may have not been perfect, but hell, is it fair for me to expect perfection in my life? No, it isn’t.
I will get on my bike again and again.