Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, July 28, 2008

Of downhills

I haven't ridden my bicycle since I had my mishap last year, which involved huge scrapes, a swollen knee and a completely obliterated wire basket.

Today, I aimed to dust my bicycle off, and get right back on it despite the heat and my worries that I will have another mishap on that steep hill I can't avoid if I really want to have a nice and fulfilling ride.

Of course, dusting off sounds a lot easier than it actually is, because a lot more than dusting was needed. I focused on the basics, like making sure my brakes were functioning, air in the tires, the chain... you know, things everyone should check before going on a bike ride. From my limited knowledge of how a bicycle is considered operatable, I found the tires to be a little deflated, so I took care of those. The brakes seemed to be functioning properly, and the chain wasn't offtrack. There was some dust that I took care of, but other than that, I was ready to go.

When I first started bike riding as an adult, I was still a little paranoid about another nasty fall I had taken on my bike about 20 years prior. I was afraid of downhills, eager to squeeze those brakes and slow down as soon as I felt my bike picking up speed. If the hill was too steep, I would get off my bike and walk it down. I was like this for a while, until my paranoia disappeared with taking the same route each time I rode. I developed so much trust for those hills I started speeding down them, enjoying the wind blowing through my hair and even steering the bike with one hand.

Today's ride was like starting all over again, though the fear factor and paranoia were a lot milder than the last time. I was slowing down on the hills, using both hands to steer, and really getting familiar with my brakes. The hill that caused me to fall last year was scary, but I tried to remain as calm about the speed picking up as possible, and I made it. I got to enjoy biking all over again today, despite the bit of fear I had left over, but I have a feeling it won't be long before I'm enjoying the wind blowing through my hair as I speed down hills and enjoy nature on my bicycle.

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