It's not about the house.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Don't Believe In Peter Pan*

The registration form for my motorcycle-driving class asked me whether I could ride a bike. As in bicycle. I imagine it asks everyone, but I took the question a little more personally than perhaps it was intended. I mean, I haven’t been on a bicycle since I was in high school, for crying out loud, which was nine months shy of a quarter-century ago, so--

Oh my god.

I am very, very Old.

Hey, did I mention I’m getting hit on by boys that weren't even born the last time I was on a bicycle? Hot ones? As in, like, Underwear-Model Hot? Yep. One of ’em went so far as to text me a topless picture. (Oh, like you wouldn’t give your cell phone number to an Underwear-Model Hot 28-year-old. It isn’t like I gave him my address, for god's sake. Tell Jiminy Cricket to get back in his box.) I’d love to share the picture with you, but even Underwear-Model  Hot 28-year-olds are Private People, after all. Besides, if I showed it to you, you’d pass out, and then you’d miss my funny, funny story…

Now where was I?

Oh that’s right: I’m Very Old.

I did take my trusty blue ten-speed to college with me in 1986 because they said I could, and spent the next four years moving it from one dorm basement to another till I graduated, upon which point I’m pretty sure I left it there. Haven’t had a use or desire for one since. Not sure I’d be able to do it anymore if I tried. I mean, I know they say it’s like riding a bike and everything, but a quarter-century is an awfully long time. Except, you know, in Underwear-Model years …

But that registration form asked a lot of questions that I had to answer “no” to. Did I own a motorcycle? Had I ever been on one? Not even as a passenger? Could I at least drive a stick? Didn’t I have a learner’s permit yet?

Christ. By the time I got to the last question I felt like such a loser I just impulsively checked the box that said “Yes. Yes! I can ride a fucking bicycle, okay?”

Then the course material came in the mail. And in the course material it says you have to be capable of balancing on a bicycle or you’ll be sent home in a dunce cap with the words “I’m a Pussy” tattooed on your forehead.

Don’t you think they could have mentioned this before they took my $350?

Fortunately, I seemed to remember having seen a bicycle kicking around this house somewhere when I was cleaning, and since I think I’d recall having carted it off to the dump, I was pretty sure it must still be kicking around. Probably in the basement – because, again, I think I’d notice something as incongruous as a bicycle in the bathroom.

And sure enough, when I remembered to look for it two weeks later, there it was! Right next to the standing freezer, behind the rocking chair, covered in sawdust and with tires almost as flat as Debra Messing.

Hey, I’m sorry for the bush-league boob-joke, folks, but seriously…

…that girl is frigging concave, for crying out loud.

Fortunately again, the little store around the corner (which I really don’t go to all that much, because it’s for sale, so the inventory is spotty and odd at best, and at worst musty and stale. Except the beer. They always have Old Thumper. Speaking of which—hang on one sec, I’ll be right back.

Okay, sorry. This ought to go a little smoother now) has an air pump I’d just noticed the other day. So I dusted off the bike, called Dad to ask him what the pressure should be in the tires (his answer? “I don’t know, what does it say on the tire?” Der. Thanks, Dad), and pushed it the quarter of a mile to the store. Where I filled them to the manufacturer-recommended 40 lbs and then realized I was about to mount a bicycle for the first time in 25 years right in front of God and truck drivers and the clerk who sells me Old Thumper and everyone.

I said a quick “Oh Elvis who art King” under my breath, threw a leg over, and…

It really is just like riding a bike!

I was a little wobbly at first, sure, but I was careful to mount up behind the 18-wheeler so nobody saw, and I had my sea legs under me in a matter of yards. Whee! Easy!

You know what’s hard, though?


And there’s a lot of ’em around here.

Well, not real hills. It’s more that the whole area is kind of moguly, with lots of gentle sloping up and down (I may never have been on skis in my life, but yes, I do know that moguls are small bumps; I’m extrapolating a metaphor here, people, work with me). And this bike is not a real bike – it’s what I think they call a touring bike. The kind that always reminds me of the Muppet Movie.

Whichever Muppet Movie that scene's from. 
They’re all the same.

Point being that it's only got one gear. And it’s just a little bit too small for me. And I couldn’t figure out how to raise the seat. So the uphill-parts, with my knees around my tits, were ass.

The downhill-parts were fun, though!

I rode almost 8 miles on that first day, and had so much fun that I went 13 miles the next. Then my morning workout started sucking and I like that too much to risk it, so I quit. Maybe I’ll pick it up again someday, but in the meantime here’s a summary of my recent Tour de Maine in five quick points:

1. I can still ride a bicycle. So the pussy-tattoo-threat level holds at green. For now.

2. A bike is like a horse: whichever way you turn your head, that’s where it goes. At least (as Dr. One Friend pointed out) to someone who doesn’t so much know what she’s doing yet. So until you do, it’s best if you keep your mind on your driving, keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead.

3. But how the fuck are you not supposed to look at peacocks!? I shit you not: peacocks. In somebody’s front yard. Fortunately (again), they were across the street from me, so when I swerved, I swerved into the middle of the road instead of off it. And fortunately (again) there were no cars around.

4. Hey, Dad, remember how you said you wouldn’t worry about me if I rode Mom’s bike?

5. Oh, what the hell:

It not as if his face is in it, anyway.

*But I might be getting ready to accept him as my own personal savior...


12ontheinside said...

I've been trying to convince myself into getting back into shape by riding my bike which I bought a couple of years ago and have ridden exactly twice. The second time was the killer - I just about died of unfittness.
And bys, eh - you'd think he'd have cleaned the mirror before taking that photo ;)

12ontheinside said...

Bys = Boys. I can't ride a bike, can't spell either.