This past year, for my birthday Todd gave me a fancy new road bike. It's awsomely fancy. Like, in a totally girly way. It's white, with black flowers -- yes, FLOWERS -- painted on it, with some red accents. Awesome. I was very excited that the salesman talked us into an actual "girl" bike. I mean, yeah, I'm tall enough to ride a men's bike, but I'm totally a girly girl at heart.
So, now that I have a real road bike, Todd was determined that I learn to ride in clips. (For the non-bikers, this means your shoes are clipped in to be attached to your pedals.)
Now. Let's just get it out there. I often fall down. I trip over things. Recently, I fell off an ottoman -- for no apparent reason. I have -- no joke -- wrecked a STATIONARY bike. So, this clip thing is no small deal.
What ensued was a series of what we now fondly call "low-speed crashes." These are the ones where you glide slowly to a stop, realize you can't get your foot loose, and have time to analyze exactly where on your body you are going to hit the ground, the curb, or whatever happens to be nearby. Low-speed they might be, but they hurt like the dickens, and leave some impressive bruises. They sometimes result in persons-who-are-definitely-not-me sitting on the same curb and having a good cry.
But, to my surprise, I learned. And learned to actually like the clips. And now I even go on solo rides in the neighborhood. As in, by MYSELF. Up HILLS. It's shocking. And a little scary. Sometimes cars like to go by really fast, and sometimes TARC buses like to share a lane that really isn't big enough to share. I'm generally a very meek and accomodating bike rider; I like to just stay out of everyone's way and try not to be noticed. I leave the road rage to Todd, he's WAY better at it.
Today, though, I went for a ride just as all the parents were lining up their cars for pick-up at the elementary school near my house. I was cruising along, enjoying the brisk air, feeling proud for riding my bike all alone, when some dadblamed mom whipped her car out of the line, directly in front of me, causing me to swerve, yell, "HEY!" and frantically reach for my nonexistent horn to beep at her. I finally managed to unclip and come to a screeching stop, and I opened my mouth to yell some of my best ex-public defender curses at her, when I realized there was a whole school's worth of elementary school students staring at me.
So I contented myself with an inward fist shake, and blurted out, "Thanks a LOT!" As I rode away, I half-yelled, "SOME people need to watch where they're GOING!"
She never even turned around to see my first ever biker's road rage. And I guess as rages go, it was pretty lame. But when I finally stopped fuming, it occurred to me -- Todd's going to be so proud.