|Bodypainted cyclists. Source|
We've signed up for a rigorous bike ride in the summer - 60 miles a day - through the South of France. One of my 50th birthday (yes, it's whole year of celebrating) things. It's in 10 weeks. Just one problem. I didn't actually own a bike. And another problem. I haven't really ridden a bike since I was 12.
So first step: I bought all the guff. Oh the bicycle shorts! They bring out the babe in you. As in baby - it's like wearing superpooper diapers. They bring out the animal in you. Elephant knees anyone? "I'm so depressed about my bloopy legs now!" I wailed to my friend Lisa, who replied: "The clothes for cycling are not cute. If you want cute - take up golf."
Armed with bike, helmet, glasses, arm warmers, I drove out to Lafayette, a green and lush land just ten mins through the tunnel from where we live in Oakland. I parked in a lonely street and whoomped onto my bike. Crash! Whoomp back on again. Eventually I had my two feet in the toe-clips. Then smash, crash, splat, me and the bike were eating the road. It turns out when you stop, you need to know how to unclip your feet.
Up again and giving a cheery wave to the two lots of contractors working opposite: "First time! I'm okay! Don't worry!" Thumbs up from the workmen.
An hour and two huge crashes later I was still riding up and down the same street and the workmen were tired of giving the encouraging thumbs up.
I managed to head out to the real roads and cycled for another hour. One more tremendous crash which forced the bike seat sideways. If you think cycling is uncomfortable, try riding with the seat turned sideways.
I took the bike back to the store to get fixed. "I crashed a lot!" I wailed to the girl at the bike store. "Oh, it's not bad - you're not bloody" she said. Then the staff gathered around - I needed to practise, practise, practise my toe clipping for hours in front of the TV. So that's what I'm doing. Good news is I'm all caught up with SpongeBob and the new season of Mad Men.
|Me doing heel clips training with SpongeBob|
I headed to Walnut Creek (not without driving home and taking a shower - you see I have made cycling into the biggest carbon footprint sport in the land.) Greeted my friend Lisa in front of the new Neiman Marcus. Lisa had seen these gold wing-tipped shoes (see - essentially golf-inspired shoes) on a blog but couldn't track who makes them...this was our challenge.
|Via: ReasonsToBreathe Has anyone seen these shoes?|
We formed a small but experienced Pelaton of two and entered the store. There was swerving, there was scooping, there was checking back and surging ahead but ultimately each corner was covered. I've finally hit my stride. There's stores in France right?
|Lisa and I finding recruits for the peloton|
|Lisa fearlessly leading our peloton of two|