Thursday, August 31, 2006

Am I a real bike rider now?

So according to my friends who ride their bikes a heck of a lot more than I do, I went through a bike rite of passage yesterday. My friend Bill claims that it must happen in front of a large group of people containing many attractive members of the opposite sex, but alas mine was mostly a solitary experience.My rite of passage looked a lot like this, without the fire...

Anyways, what does Bill know? Last month, one week before the last triathlon he did, he drove into his garage, forgetting that his $2500 carbon fiber bike (I don't even know what that means, but it sounds fancy) was on the roof. It would have been fine probably. But his first reaction was to back up. So after driving his bike into the house, he then backed up over it.

Anyways, I have been riding my road bike for my three mile commute to school lately. I just got clipless pedals for it in July (can you tell where this story is going yet?). The bike store guy apparently has superhuman strength and cranked those suckers down so hard that I couldn't get them off to put on the old pedals to make riding to school easier. They are more comfy with my bike shoes so I have been taking this opportunity to get used to navigating the throngs of ipod-listening/cell-phone-chatting/why-bother-looking-when-I-cross-a-street undergrads while clipped into my pedals.
My fugly building: the ceremonial site

Anyways, I am finally pretty confident with them... I don't fear my dirt alley or sharp corners anymore... I "scrape the mud off" when I pedal. Well yesterday, I was running late. I pedalled my butt off to get to school. Finally I arrived to the building where my office is and I am slowing down and crossing the grass to the bike racks when I realize...

"$%#$^ I am still clipped in!"

There was this moment of "Can I still get out of them?" followed by resignation that I was going down. It seemed to all happen in slow motion and then a


I fortunately landed on the grass and was wise enough not to try and break my fall with my arm, so the only thing bruised was my ego. If this had happened five minutes later when classes got out, I would have indeed fulfilled Bill's prophecy. Fortunately, only a few souls witnessed my moment.

I flopped around for a moment or two trying to clip out while on the ground and then I gave up and took off my shoes. Then I had to clip them out with my hands - a girl walked by me with a knowing smirk while I sat there in my socks trying to unclip my shoes from my bike.

I would feel like a real bike rider, now that I have suffered this humiliation, except that:

1. The reason I am riding my road bike to school is that I have a flat on my hybrid bike and I don't know how to change it. Theoretically I know how to change it. I just haven't done it. And I insist on trying to do it myself before bringing in people who actually know how to do it. But I have been too lazy to take the time to sit down and figure it out.

2. The reason I was running late? I had to run to the bike store on my way to school. Why might you ask? Because my tires desperately needed air and I couldn't figure out how to fill them up with Presta valves. I got to the bike store and it took longer than expected because apparently I put my front tire on backwards the last time I took it off to stuff my bike in my car so I got a lesson in the proper way to put my tire back on (it still seems to me that it shouldn't matter which way I put the tire on).
Thanks a lot, Mr. Presta Valve, for making me have to walk into the bike store, yet again, looking like an idiot.

But in good news, I have discovered how much easier it is to ride my bike when the tires are actually inflated properly!


Lisa said...

totally awesome as that story was, this totally reinforces my love of half-assed biking. Bike clips? special tires? what? I'm happy riding my $100 assbike, while listening to my iPod or talking on my cell. ;)

Lisa said...

ps: way to be a badass

Danielle said...

Hehe, well Lisa, my bike only cost me $60 :-) And I don't have special tires, just regular old road bike tires, but apparently there is a proper direction to put them on... And I only got the clipless pedals because I thought I would do a tri at the end of the summer and I thought they would help me go faster so at least maybe I would finish second to last instead of last :-)

The Running Red Sox Fan said...

Now THAT'S funny!! Great story.

Bolder said...

doing a face plant while clipped in is definitely a rite of passage...

figuring out how to work your various valves -- yup.

let's see, how about changin' a flat when stranded?

Joe said...

bolder, i learned that one the hard way -- 45 miles into a 70 mile one way ride. some stranger heading the other way happened upon my sad soul and helped me. i learned pretty fast.