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IMPATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

21 March 2002

They seem so graceful. There is such fluidity of motion. I've been watching them unconsciously for years and never really paying attention.

They are bikers. Those people who are always to be found on the streets of this City of Bicycles. Students casually pedal past our house, arms crossed in front of them, as they steer the bike with their knees. Racers whiz by, cornering sharply and fitting through small spaces effortlessly. Mothers pull yellow trailers behind, with happy children playing inside. I watch these people every day, but never really noticed them.

Walt is a biker. I see him sail off on his bike in the morning, swinging his leg effortlessly over the bar as he settles in to his seat for his ride to work. When he comes home at night, he hops off the bike, quickly whips out the bike lock, locks up the bike and comes into the house.

It's the sort of thing you never think about. Until you start to become one of those bikers yourself.

The leg does not swing easily over the seat. There is no fluidity of motion here.   I do not start off gracefully as I pedal down the street.

I was particularly aware of this yesterday when I rode my bike up to the Weight Watchers meeting. I was feeling rather smug, having successfully maniuplated the three streets up to the major intersection, where I would have to cross by the light. I stopped the bike, pressed the button to change the light and when it changed, traffic came to a stop as I tried to pedal across the street. But my toes kept getting caught in the pedal and I could not, for the life of me, get forward motion going.

I console myself with the knowledge that many people went to work or school yesterday with happy smiles on their faces because they were treated to the sight of me trying to cross the street on my new bike.

There is, I am discovering, more to riding a bike than...riding a bike. When I got to the Weight Watchers meeting, I confidently placed the bike in the bike rack and I went to lock it up. Only first, I couldn't figure out how to get the lock off the bike to begin with, and then I couldn't figure out how it locked to the bike in the way that my friend Gene at Alameda Bicycle had shown me. For additional safety, you lock the kryptonite lock (Superman-safe, obviously) to a chain and the whole thing to the bike rack. But I'd forgotten to cut the plastic ring that came with the chain, so I was just working with the lock itself. I couldn't believe how long it took me to figure out how to attach the lock to the bike. I felt like a real dunce! (It wasn't any better unlocking the bike either. There was the awkwardness of not knowing which end of the lock locked, figuring out how to get it off, and then, realizing I didn't know how to put it back where it was originally, so I ended up just putting it in my carry bag for the ride home.)

Following the meeting (didja notice?--another 1.4 lbs gone!), I took the long way home. It was a beautiful spring day and I figured that I could travel on quiet streets to get back home. I will admit to some panic when unexpectedly encountering cars (or the big garbage truck that was backing up in the bike lane while another car was approaching in the opposite direction). I am very aware that I am definitely not street-safe yet. Still, even that knowledge couldn't put a damper on the experience. I was actually doing it. It was a warm day, I was riding my bike, I figured out how to shift gears (though I haven't a clue what you are supposed to use which gear for, but I found one that I liked better) and I was almost sorry to get back home again. Unfortunately, however, Dr. G expected me to show up at work, so I couldn't do what I really felt like doing--which was go just go on and on and find some blossom-lined street to ride under.

I thought about the bike ride during work. I thought about how I felt and how excited I am starting to feel as I begin to add physical activity to my life (I've spoken so long about the "e" word, that I won't even refer to it as "exercise" because that sounds like work--and, in truth, the physical activity I've been doing lately has been...I don't believe it...fun).

Suddenly I realized that I am impatient. The weight makes my feet hurt and my knees hurt and my lungs work harder to get breath. I want the weight gone now. I want to be one of those folks who sail effortlessly down the street, street-safe, and able to ride miles without thinking about it.

I thought about riding my bike downtown to the theatre for my movie class tomorrow night. But when I was driving downtown yesterday, I looked at how narrow the bike lanes are there, and how many cars are around and decided that I definitely need more no-cars-allowed experience before attempting that.

This whole thing is still in its infancy. But I am suddenly chomping at the bit, wanting to be a part of this world. I hope that will help me continue on with the eating and physical activity program. (This morning I did not want to be at the club, but I went anyway and when I left, I was glad I had gone.)

 

Quote of the Day

A skinny person should not be complaining about their perceived fat areas to someone my size. But really, did she think I was going to offer her sympathy on her teensy weensy little tummy pooch? I have more fat than that under my chin fer cryin' out loud.

--Lisa D (Lobotomybabe)

One Year Ago
Who Invited All These Tacky People

Two Years Ago
Videotapes and Webcams


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