A year ago my friends rode their road bikes from Seattle to
Portland. Why it ever occurred to me that I could accomplish
such a feat is beyond me. I hadn't been on a bike since I was 12.
And now, here I am 20 years later, considering riding my bike
200 miles in only two days. Am I out of my mind?
But I'm going to make it happen! What better adventure?!
So the other day I went to buy a bicycle. I'm still surprised that
the store owner didn't turn me away when I walked in and said,
"I don't know anything about
bikes. What do I need if I want to ride the Seattle to Portland?"
A little bit of background. The Seattle to Portland (or STP) is
held every summer from, obviously, Seattle to Portland. There
are 9,500 people every year that turn out for this event. Some
people even accomplish it in one day! (But maybe that's for next
year) The 200 mile ride travels through the beautiful pacific
northwest on side roads: trees, hills, mountains, valleys: it's all
there and absolutely breathtaking.
So back to my story...
At first the shop owner thought I would be just another person
wasting his time, but after just a few minutes he realized that I
was the real deal; some crazy person who was actually going to
buy a bike to ride from Washington to Oregon with no
experience and only 4 months to prepare.
So he told me that the best way to start was to buy some cycling
shoes and head to a spin class where I can practice clipping and
unclipping from the pedals. Huh! Your shoes get clipped to the
pedals? Ok. I can do this. I start small. He sells me some shoes
that can clip into the "clipless" pedals. What!? I'm still a little
confused by this, but pedals that don't have straps that clamp
over your toes are called "clipless" even though the bottom of
your shoe "clips" to the pedal. But I digress.
Off I go to spin class with my new shoes. Seems relatively easy. I
can clip-in and clip-out. I can find the pedal without looking. I
have no problems and I think I am a pro. I am ready to buy my
But if you could see the little pieces of macadam that are still
stuck in my knee…and elbow…and shoulder…you would know
immediately that I am not a pro. I'll fill you in on the painful,
embarrassing details next time, but I wanted to give you a little
taste of what this column will bring over the next few months:
The learning curve and mistakes of a
living in Tacoma, Washington ready to take on the world! Now
please excuse me, I have a date with some neosporin and
Learning to Ride a Bike at 32
The Beginning - Deirdre Gurry