a word from our sponsors a bit about me. I am an obsessive knitter--I've been knitting since January 2006 (more or less), and obsessively knitting since--well, that's harder to pin down. It probably began when the Yarn Harlot came to Oklahoma--one of my local librarians knits, and she went, and was talking about it, and I discovered the blogisphere, and obsessive knitters. From there, and after discovering socks (you can make a whole project for $20!), it was a downhill ride, and oh! such fun! (I'll talk about my current projects later.) I've picked up two more obsessions over the past year, too, making my life one with healthy, balanced obsessions ;-)--violin and biking. I've always loved music and singing, and whenever I display it, I am told that I have a very nice voice, but I had no formal music training before last November. I've been learning violin since then (yes, as my first instrument; I can't do anything the easy way), and I'll talk more about how that began later. Bicycling began--either this time last year, or around September--when I began talking about wanting to ride a century the next year. When I still wanted a bike, and to be fit enough to ride centuries (100 mile rides, FYI) in December, Mom decided I should get my bike.
And here we come to the crux of the matter, the spur to begin blogging. I began to ride, a bit, in January, but for the most part gave it up for the indoor exercise bike after I aggravated my respiratory system into some nasty coughs. I also admitted to Mom that I wasn't comfortable enough on my bike to ride well, and she said, in the acute way moms have, that I needed practice, and a riding partner to ground me in the basics. The weather is finally nice enough that we can borrow Dad's truck, drive down to River Parks, and spend a good portion of the day biking, getting comfortable with our gears and our bikes generally--we'll make a Friday date of it. But meanwhile, let's try out the bikes on the least busy portion of our nearby streets.
So yesterday, Monday, we go and try out our bikes on a non-busy street and the quiet rec center parking lot off it. And I discover that I have been avoiding turning, and also that when forced to turn, I don't do it well (no doubt why I've been avoiding it). As far as I know, I have never properly turned on a bike--I remember biking a lot when I was six or seven, and going fast, but I have no clear memory of turning, apart from taking the entire street to do so after riding really fast down the steepest drive in our neighborhood. For the most part, I seem to remember, I stopped, manhandled the bike around manually (which was one of those anvils in bike form called childrens' mountain bikes, and was a lot more stable than the beautiful, sleek road demon I have now), and then tore off as fast as possible. So. Whenever you learn a new skill, there are bumps in the idyllic path of knowledge. True for math, knitting, and turning a bike. Start with the fact that turning a bike is completely counter-intuitive (even if you know the principles of acceleration, and have taken Physics--they're the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you want to do), and combine it with my tendency to slow down when I'm trying something new (both physically and mentally), and you have panic attacks, short vision, and wipeouts. Let's just say that I was blessedly aimed at curbs bordering grass both times I wiped out.
Oh, you wanted more detail? The first wipeout, on Monday, was avoidable--I had nearly completed a good, sweeping turn, but I couldn't go past the curb at the speed I was going, so instead of pedaling hard and letting the bike stabilize and just miss the curb, I squeaked, froze, and ended up sprawled in the grass. The second was avoidable also, but I would have had to start earlier--I turned into the parking lot too sharply, and was headed straight at the curb down into the park. Once again, instead of keeping my turn and pedalling (so that it was just possible I might have avoided the wipeout, but then again, I might have fallen on the parking lot), I panicked and this time slammed on the brakes. I cannot express the brilliance of this. I damaged myself quite a bit more on the second wipeout (fortunately, Mom had bowed out of this ride and wasn't actually witness), and apparently it looked quite spectacular, because a party down in the park sent a delegation up to check on me. Toll from the first--a small bruise that I only noticed when I was trying on a sock, afterwards. Toll from the second-- an impressive bruise on the shin that included a blue knot early in the proceedings, a scraped elbow complete with grass stains, and a jolted neck and shoulder that are both much better after an application of ice, thanks for asking.
Okay. The knitting's going to have to wait. I'm gonna shower--I hurt all over again (but less so) after this recital.