Not so much.
Don't get me wrong, I still loved cycling, but I had a hard time adjusting to the bike culture here in America. Bobby and I did quite a lot of weekend biking last summer. We volunteered with a no-kill shelter, and every time we walked the dogs on the weekend we would bike there. We went on excursions for Mexican food in nearby towns with friends. Bobby rode his bike to work every day during spring and summer. And we would ride bikes to our Monday night yoga classes. I would bike to the gym on my own, as well, and I'd take friends out on the trails when they came to visit. But in general? I was very intimidated with cycling in America. In Japan, there were bikes everywhere. Mothers would be on a bike with a baby in front and a baby in back, no helmets in sight. It was a very common thing in the culture of the city in which I lived, and thus bicycles were something that drivers were used to accommodating. On top of that, in Japan, bicyclists used sidewalks. America, on the other hand, favors the bicycle lane approach. Let me tell you, there is a big difference between cycling on a wide sidewalk and cycling in a thin bicycle lane with cars whizzing past you going 50 miles an hour.
Another difference was that I had to get used to my new bike. It's a commuter bike, not a cruiser bike. When I first rode it, the wheels felt so incredibly thin and flimsy, as though every rock in my path would send me flying to the pavement. Eventually, with all the riding we did last summer and fall, I got used to it, but I was still timid when I went out on my own, and I would often avoid cycling and take my car when I could have taken my bike. Last winter, as we put away our bikes, I told myself that this summer I would be more confident on my bike, and bike more often. I just had to get over my feelings of awkwardness and my lack of confidence, and do it.
So that's what I did. A week or two after we got back from Texas, Bobby and I were set to meet up for lunch. It's 4 miles from our house, half of it on the bike trail, half of it on the street, and I have to cross traffic to go left twice. It was no big deal, and I felt incredibly lame for ever letting it bother me.
|Bobby with delicious food and my sweet pink tire'd bike|
I think that's my favorite thing about riding my bicycle. I'm connected to the experience of getting somewhere. I feel the sun on my arms, I'm sweating a bit, I'm grateful for breezes. The smallest hills, unnoticeable in a car, are very noticeable on a bike. I notice the landscape more, since I'm in it and going slower. I'm manually adjusting to the slightest changes in the terrain as I work through my gears. Stop lights are not annoying, they're a break after that hill kicked my ass. If I need to make a left (bike lanes are to the far right, so one has to cross traffic to make lefts) and there is a lot of traffic, I can simply slow down in my bike lane, wait for it to break up and pass to the left easily. Shortcuts are easy to take, and wrong turns are just occasion for a bit more exercise. As soon as I hit "publish" on this post, I'm going to the library and the grocery store, a 10 mile round trip that Bobby and I made a few weekends ago together, and one that I've made several times on my own since then. I am currently having a love affair with my bike and spring.
But don't worry, I won't turn into this guy...