On fear

I'm starting to come around to the idea that I should get back on my bike sooner, rather than later. (It's kind of a moot point, because my bike still isn't repaired/replaced, but still.)

I've fallen off horses dozens, or maybe even a hundred times. My falls ranged in severity from slow-motion tumbles where I landed on my feet and the horse stopped, and some were pretty bad: the time I fell off mid-jump and fell about 10 feet (from the height of the horse's jump) into a concrete-bottomed water jump. Another time, at a sale barn in Florida, I was bucked off an angry pony who turned around and kicked at me.

I know I was fortunate to have never gotten hurt (I've never broken a bone), so every time, I followed the old adage and "got back on the horse. Most of the time whatever salty horse person was hanging around the fence would encourage, or even order me to "do it again" -- jump the jump again, or whatever I was doing just before I fell off.

I credit most of any "mental toughness" I have today to that do-it-til-you-get-it-right training mentality. I remember shaking and surging with adrenaline, climbing back on, then circling around to attempt the thing that had just thwarted me. Usually this time -- the time just after the fall --  I could do it.

I can hear my 15 year old self stubbornly insisting that I need to get back on the bike again right now. My present day self knows this is different -- I didn't fall, I was struck by a car. But still, I know as soon as my bike is fixed/replaced, and my body is back to its normal level of functionality, I'll have to get back on.

Here's what I'm thinking about to try to get ready for it:

Replacing gear

I think my softshell jacket, lobster claws, and helmet saved me. I would have been even more torn up by the road if it weren't for those gloves & jacket, and the helmet, judging by the big crack down the front, saved my life. 

Getting my bike repaired (or replaced?)

I know this is maybe minor in the scheme of things, but I will be so devastated if my bike isn't fixable. It's an old steel racing bike I bought from a roommate who didn't really ride it. I've put thousands of miles on it and I'm so attached to it. 

Finding a new route

For a while I'm going to take a different route to work. Unfortunately, I had chosen my route because of the bike lanes, and there aren't other routes with bike lanes. My solution is pretty embarrassing: I'm going to just ride on the sidewalks. No one uses them between my house and my job, so whatever. This is a temporary solution until I feel comfortable riding on roads.

Staying out of traffic for a while

I'm going to hit up the Tobacco Trail (a long, mostly empty greenway) for a chill ride with James before I ride in traffic..

Not going clipless anytime soon

I mentioned a while back I was curious about going clipless. After this, I will need time to get back to my former level of comfort of the bike before considering next-level ways to attach myself to my bike. 

Dreaming about big rides

I mentioned that I told a friend I'd ride the NYC Century with her next fall, which I still plan to do. I was also reading about the 8-day Blue Ridge Parkway ride, which sounds sublime:

"If you have ridden some portion of the Parkway, you know what to expect: rarely a steep climb, but many loooong climbs (up to 5 miles without a break).  So you’ll want to prepare for this tour, to fully enjoy those climbs.

The descents are a dream, since the grade and curves were plotted for the typical automobile of the 1920s and our bikes zoom down them as if on rails. You may find that you rarely touch your brakes — except to check out the exceptional views." (via)

I'm not signing up for this, or anything else like it anytime soon, but it's a good reminder that I love/d riding my bike, and these adventures await me on the other side of my fear.

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