Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pink Cycling

"Babe, I want a new bike.”
“You mean you want a road bike?”
He nodded. “Okay, we can go take a look at some.”
“And it has to be pink!”
He gave me an amused, but very knowing glance. “Okay, if that’s what you want. Might be kind of hard to find, though. There probably isn’t a high demand for good quality road bikes that are pink.”
“I don’t care; I at least want to try to find one.”
“Okay, we can look.” He smiled again, knowing his wife all too well.

It all started about a year and a half ago. I’d always enjoyed riding my bike as a kid and also as an adult on rare occasions, but in February of ’07 I decided to challenge myself and train for a 65-mile cycling event. For years I’d wanted to physically challenge myself to something I never thought I’d be able to do, and believe me, I never thought I’d be able to do that. Especially when the furthest I’d ever gone on a bike before was 20 miles and I took a 2 hour break at the halfway point. So I gave myself 6 weeks to train and the day of the event I excitedly started off on Old Faithful, my blue mountain bike that I’d had for almost a decade. How clueless was I?? I had no idea how ridiculous it was to attempt such a feat on a heavy bike designed for rough terrain. At the time I didn’t even know the differences between mountain and road bikes, except, of course, those scary super skinny tires. I’d at least had enough sense to put road tires on my mountain bike before the event, but they were the fat ones because I was scared to try riding on the skinny ones after years of fat, supportive tires. The day of the event was long and exhausting but I’m proud to say that I finished and enjoyed myself most of the way. That, after all, is part of the reason for doing something like that, right? The picture above is me after the ride enjoying a well-deserved beer (and I don’t even like beer). Note my lack of real cycling apparel. :) But none-the-less I felt invincible. Especially when the next day came and I wasn’t even sore. That was when the above conversation with my husband occurred.

We went bike shopping that very day and did not find anything pink in the road bike sections of the two stores we visited – the only pink was on the kid’s bikes and the adult beach cruisers. Those cruisers were so cute I was half tempted to buy one of those instead. But after a lot of searching my hubby finally found me a great bike on the internet that was shipped here from the UK. I’ve had it over a year and I love it. It is PINK. The first time I took it out I was so excited, and it was only once I was on the road that I realized just how conspicuous I was. But I started getting compliments from lady riders and interested stares from some of the men. But I don’t really care what people think of my bike, or if they think it means I’m not a serious cyclist. I’m not a serious cyclist. I just ride for my own enjoyment when I feel like it and I’ll train for an event when I feel like it.

I did another 65-mile ride this spring (yay, it wasn’t just a one-time fluke!) and actually have a couple of cycling jerseys and a pair of real cycling shorts (butt pads and all!) so I’m slowly adding to my collection of cycling gear. Right now I am training for a 75-mile event… which is in 5 days. Wish me luck!!

P.S. I’ll try to post a picture of my pink bike soon.
P.P.S. I bet chili dogs and training don’t mix… oops. :)

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