I like a good bike ride as much as the next person. If by good you mean “along a beach,” or with a purpose, like to get ice cream.
I do own a decent bike, and Nick and I completed a (short) triathlon a few years back (for the record, not that it matters at all, not even in the least, I totally beat him). But still, I haven’t viewed biking as exercise or a fun excursion, but rather primarily as a mode of transportation. From home to the nearest Starbucks.
And yet, now that our six year-old has mastered riding her two-wheeler sans training wheels (cue trumpets and confetti cannons), it has become our “thing” to take family bike rides.
Annie’s two-wheeler mastery is annoyingly timed because, about a month ago, I injured my hip/hamstring/glute and have essentially been unable to do any of my usual forms of exercise… but I am allowed to bike. And since I’ve been going stir-crazy (not to mention having gained five pounds in three weeks because, hello, that lemon pound cake isn’t going to eat itself), I’ve hesitantly decided that cycling is better than nothing. Hence, when the girls rode to a birthday party down the block, I decided I would do a more challenging bike ride 30 minutes before the party’s end, then swing by and escort them home.
It was a beautiful day and I was feeling good. When that half-hour was up, I cruised to the birthday house a few minutes early so I could check my phone and jauntily confirm just how far I’d traveled and how many calories I’d burned. And that’s when I did the double take: 6 miles in 30 minutes. SIX. MEASLY. MILES. I’m not so good with The Math, but I’m pretty sure that 6 miles in 30 minutes means I was biking a 5-minute mile.
The man who won the 2011 New York Marathon ran a four-minute and 47-second mile. He ran faster than I biked. FOR TWENTY-SIX STRAIGHT MILES. (Hell, to even qualify for the 2013 New York Marathon, you need average a 6:18 mile.) We don’t have to discuss the calories I expended on my apparent “jog” around the park, but let’s just say it didn’t exactly cover the lemon pound cake.
I scowled as I put the phone away, but tried to congratulate myself for getting out there and at least doing something. Just moving made me feel better than I had in weeks.
And then I got off the bike. And suddenly remembered the other reason I don’t like cycling.
I walked into that party looking like I hadn’t spent thirty glacial minutes on a bike, but several agonizing days on a pony. A big, wide, angry pony. Thankfully, I’m friends with the party hosts, so I was able to hide my awkward gait from the other pick-up parents by limping behind the party table and helping to clean up the cupcake-decorating supplies.
At last, table cleaned, I could put off the inevitable no longer: we’d have to ride home. On our bikes. While carrying party bags and favors and Ella’s leftover cupcake.
The entire experience was so traumatic, I decided that it warranted some therapy.
My therapist’s name was Peanut Butter Tracks. I highly, highly recommend her.