Adventures in Cycling, Part 1?

I rode Coco today, for the first time.  I didn’t fall.

That’s the good news.

There’s bad news, though.  I don’t think I can do it.  I don’t think I am able to physically ride a bike, and I am not sure why.  The whole experience felt wonky – like I was going to fall any second.   The bike seems like it weighs a ton.

Yes, cruisers are heavy bikes.  That was my first mistake.  I should have, when I had the money, gone to a bike shop and had them trick me out.  But I didn’t.

I went to Target.  Big, big mistake.  Oddly, I did actually pick out a lighter adult bike, what I would have called a 10-speed back in the day, got on it and actually rode it a foot or so without falling. Ok so I almost crashed into the bike display, but I didn’t fall!  But that’s not the bike I chose.

No, I went online and picked a “pretty” one.  A cruiser, as it was advertised as a leisure-type bike, for older ladies and so on.  “That’s me!” I thought.

I had visions of myself riding leisurely down to the store, basket on the front, smiling happily on a sunny day.  Of course, in my version I also have a sun dress on and a floppy hat, ala 1940s movies, but that’s not gonna happen.

Back to today.  I got on Coco, not an easy feat as the whole bike in general seems massive to me, and swinging my leg over was a bit tricky, but I did it.  Pedaled down the sidewalk, then the street, and noticed that my knees were way too high, coming nearly up to my chest.  That didn’t seem right.

The sidewalk was treacherous, with cracks and so on.  The street is smooth but it is a bit slanted towards the sidewalk.  And there are cars, though not many today as it is Sunday.

Felt a sharp twinge in my middle back – oh no!  Kept pedaling down to the park, the park that doesn’t have bike paths, and turned around in the parkinglot and rode home.  By this time, my middle back had a stabbing pain in it.

I don’t get middle back pain, ever.  So, great – new thing.  Lower back, however, feels fine – that’s the good news, as that’s where the disk issues are (or at least, where I thought they were).

Nancy came out of her apartment and adjusted my handlebars, and watched me sit on the bike.  I raised the seat up so that my toes just barely touch the ground.

She said I didn’t look stupid.  “Just another old lady on a bike.”  Heh.

And still, my knees feel as if they are way too high.  I don’t know what else we can adjust.  The highest position still has my knee at a higher-than-90-degree-angle to my body.  It doesn’t feel right.

Meanwhile, the training wheels got loose and we had to tighten them up again.  The good news there is that, at some point, I wasn’t even using the training wheels unless I tilted to one side. That’s probably why the bike felt wonky.

The bad news is, I will have to keep adjusting them – I don’t think they were designed to lift off the ground like that.

As usual, this thought ends with, “I feel like crying”.

I don’t think I’m riding this bike correctly, and I don’t know what to do about it.  The pain, I can live with.  And I wasn’t winded but I felt really weak.  Weak in the arms, weak in the legs…heck, the bike is heavy but not that heavy.

The old days of whipping onto my bike and speeding down the street are long, long gone.  I can accept that.  But I saw a woman the other day who was at least 10 years older than I am, riding what looked like a BMX-type bike, without any extra wheels, and doing just fine with it.

Why can’t I do that?

I read a news article about some guy who is riding across the US on a regular bike, again with no extra wheels, and he weighs 400 pounds.  

Why can’t I do that?  I don’t weigh anywhere near that – I only need to lose about 50 pounds.

So it’s not age, and it’s not weight.

I don’t know what to do.  I am considering donating the bike to a church or something.

My mobility options are decreasing, and it’s scary.

Those people you see in Walmart, who use the electric carts and are massively overweight? Don’t judge them, they may have started out the way I did.

Ill, overweight, and unable to exercise, this is perhaps how they got where they were.

I do not want to end up that way.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  It’s like my body will not do anything I tell it to do.  It’s beyond fatigue, it’s a weakness, an inability.   And I am no quitter.

In fact, this has become so scary that I will now do just about anything to correct it, if I only knew what was wrong.

I might try again tomorrow.  At this point, I really don’t know.




3 thoughts on “Adventures in Cycling, Part 1?

  1. charlies5169

    Don’t get discouraged after one attempt. It’s a work in progress. You’ll get it. And you probably will have some muscle soreness at first. You’re using a lot if muscles you haven’t used for a while.

    Just set some small goals for yourself, maybe an extra half mile every two weeks or so. It’ll come. No need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself.

    In the meantime, just enjoy it for what it is. You’re outdoors, and getting exercise.


  2. Victoria Post author

    Thanks for the support – I know I can always count on you!
    Thankfully, my muscles are not a bit sore – my back is hurting, but I suspect that just a new disk issue, and I know that exercise doesn’t injure that further (so not worried).
    You know me, I don’t quit easily. It’s just scary to feel so weak. I keep forgetting I am not 25 anymore, and can’t just jump back into exercise as easily as I could back then…or at 35…or even at 45. Time does take its toll, I suppose.
    I continue to be worried about the bike not seeming to “fit right”. It’s for people my height (5’3″), so it’s not a question of being too tall, but it does feel as if the bike in some ways is too little, especially with my knees. But I really don’t know.
    I’ll try again tomorrow morning. I don’t think I rode very far at all today.



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