Grace on wheels
One sunny afternoon a couple of weeks ago, after lunch with a friend, I had a sudden urge to do some exercise. You will know that this is quite a rare occurrence, so without hesitation, or let’s be honest: much thought – I decided to jump on my bike and cycle from my flat to the centre for my private class that afternoon.
I skipped down the stairs feeling very sprightly, so sprightly in fact that I forgot my helmet, and so had to “skip” back up the stairs for it.
I got to my bike and found that some idiot had attached their bike to the bike parking in such a way that it was nearly impossible for me to untangle three bikes and locks to get to mine. This involved several minutes of “Shits” “Bollocks” and dropping a bike on my foot and scratching my leg with another. Not a great start.
Undeterred, I got on my bike, whizzed down the drive and out onto Toorak Road. Nice and easy as the first part was downhill. Off I went, feeling pretty pleased with myself and marvelling at how easy it was and wondering why this thought had not occurred to me before. Until I tried to slow down to a stop that is, and quickly realised I only have one working brake. Shit.
I joined St Kilda Road, a fairly large one that involves trams, got something very wrong and ended up in the wrong lane. Opps. Nevermind, I thought to myself, people are kind here, there are loads of cyclists in this city, I am fine. Next problem was some traffic lights, where the “bike lane” put me in the middle of the road, and with no curb to my aid, I remembered the second reason I hadn’t done this before: I can’t touch the floor without the pavement. Double shit.
Undeterred still, I continued and arrived in the centre, quite sweaty for my class and with some fabulous helmet hair. Good job Grace.
The ride home reminded me of another reason why I hadn’t done this before. My bottom hurt. A lot.
Still, a nice long bath and glowing sense of exercise done helped, and I got up the next morning with the INGENIOUS idea of cycling to work!
How wrong could I be????
As I got on the bike, with a full backpack of lunch, students’ work and a change of clothes, I remembered the slightly uncomfortable seat. Anyway, the first part of the journey is downhill, and apart from the dodgy brakes, I had no real problems until I started the incline. This morning it seemed impossible. Had someone made it steeper? I joined St Kilda road, trying my best to closely follow another cyclist and the route through the cars he took, but goodness, these people are fast! Had a little wobble at the traffic lights again, with no curb side balance help and then proceeded along the bike path into the city. I felt a little embarrassed when simply every single cyclist whizzed past me. Every single cyclist seemed to also be making almost no effort to travel at such speed, which for me was flat out. Every single cyclist also seemed to be male and wearing cycling clothes. I mean these were serious cyclists!
I got to school and it took me 20 minutes to stop sweating. And even then I didn’t quite manage it. My students were very amused when I informed them of how I had arrived at school and even more so when I pointed out just how difficult it was for me to sit. Well, it was pretty hard to hide.
Cycling home that day was as funny as it was painful. My legs decided not to work anymore and my bottom was so sore, my bag felt twice as heavy and I honestly cycled so slowly I was pretty much going backwards.
It just didn’t appeal to me to get back on it the next morning, and funnily enough hasn’t appealed to me since…