When I think about my childhood and all of its memories, they feel fuzzy and confusing. Probably because it was a confusing time. Every day I grew a little bit more into myself, even if I wasn’t feeling quite ready to do so. Every day I had to try something new, learn a new skill or experience a new feeling.The only thing I knew for sure was that things would change the next day.

I remember being 11 years old and biking with the neighborhood kids.  We’d race and use the bikes to get to the local candy shop. Once I had two wheels, it was rare to catch me on foot, unless I was going to school or with my parents. I loved my bike. I had not ridden one since I could drive, but I was always convinced that I would remember how.

Just like riding a bike.

Then one day, I decided I wanted to get a road bike, like the ones used for triathlons.

I remember it as though it were yesterday. Straddling my new, never-used before two-wheeler bike, both shiny and promising. The helmet I was embarrassed to wear, but knew I needed because I was told I had to wear it. I picked up my left foot ready to push down on the left pedal and fly off across the Ashokan reservoir.

I didn’t fly. I fell sideways, because my 31 year-old body forgot that it had to balance itself. I guess I remember it like it was yesterday because it WAS yesterday.

I looked up and cleared my throat of the lump that had formed deep within. “Hey, maybe we can lower this seat a little?”

The man-friend looked at me with the look he gives me when he is trying hard to not say, “Are you kidding?!”

“I know it’s not the “right” way, but maybe until I remember how to ride a bike, I could lower the seat so my feet can touch the ground?” I know he loves me because he did it. It went against every ounce of everything he believes, but he lowered my seat and made my bike both less efficient and less scary.

I picked up my left foot again and went a whole few feet without putting my feet down. I suddenly wasn’t so sure I could do this. It took me about a quarter mile of getting a few feet, then stopping, moving a few feet, and then stopping before I remembered the skills I had used so often as a child. I got used to the steering (much more sensitive than I remembered!) and the breaking (much more efficient than I expected!) Within a few minutes I had the BIGGEST grin on my face.

It’s love.  Me and my bike.

Yes, baby. You can raise the seat now.

Now, this is no kids bike, by any means. It’s a road bike, meant for speed and fitness, so it’s a bit of a different animal. I’ve never owned a bike with gears, and I certainly have never pedaled a bike above 20mph or up GIANT hills. I cannot wait. I only did a short ride over the weekend, due to a cloudy sky and the fact that I wanted to get a run in before it rained, but I am excited to go for a longer ride next time.

Toe clips, though, is an idea that will take some time to get used to.   Maybe next year.