Monday, March 23, 2009


I just had an interesting weekend. This is a change. Normally my weekends are filled with volunteering on Saturdays, studying, trying to get my couch to have a permanent butt shaped indentation on the left cushion. I was in a miserable mood on Friday, and the outlook for the rest of the weekend was grim. Luckily, Candy came to the rescue.

I think that in every group, there's a planner. A motivator. Someone who gets the group moving. I'm usually that person. Except for when I'm busy. Or I don't feel like it. And then I don't plan anything and it's rare that I get to see my friends. (Yes, Craig. I'm looking at you.) Surprisingly, even though I love being the planner and the motivator, sometimes it's nice to have someone else take the reins. My mood was rotten enough this weekend that I probably should have stayed in and been grumpy to myself, and there was no way I was going to be able to plan something. But Candy and I saw a movie last week and had discussed taking a bike ride together on Saturday. We left the specifics up in the air...we would call each other around noon and decide what we were going to do... Honestly, had she decided that she didn't want to go and not called me, I probably would have shrugged it off and slept all day long. That's how grumpy I was.

But Candy is a planner and a motivator. When she called, I got my lazy butt up, got my bike into my car and headed over to her house. It turned out to be exactly what I needed and was the best decision I made all day.

Let me start at the beginning. When Candy did call me, the boy was over. We were in the middle of a very heated game of MarioKart*. When that ended, and I had firmed up plans to leave, it occurred to me that A) my bike probably had spiders all over it from being stored in the garage all winter and B) the tires were most definitely flat. The boy said that he could understand how I needed help with the spiders (see the progress we've made?) but that I'm a big girl and I could air up my own tires. I played the "I'm a girl" card until I realized he definitely would not help me, and then began trying to figure out what gas station I could stop at to put the air in the damned tires. The boy, realizing that I was going to do it without him and that I really didn't have any idea what I was doing, got exasperated and pestered me to ask Candy whether or not she had a bike pump. (He was muttering something about "popping the tires" and "never hearing the end of it.") He pestered me until I called Candy and found that she did, indeed, have a bike pump. The boy was satisfied that Candy and I could figure it out from there and left us to our own devices.

What he didn't know was that Candy had never used the pump without assistance. I was obviously not any help to her as the only advice I had received from the boy was "Make sure you hear a hissing sound before you pump." Um, I won't go into the details about putting air in the tires with a bike pump. I will only say that it probably took a lot longer than it should have taken, it involved tools that it probably shouldn't have involved, and I was genuinely laughing about 2 minutes into the whole experience. We did eventually figure it out, though, and put air in the tires of both bikes.** All that was left was deciding where to go.

I'll be honest. After seeing this post, I really didn't want to put Candy through what I imagined would be the trauma of relocating her bike in that manner. I wanted to leave from her house, but she lives farther north than I ever have, and I wasn't sure what was near to her. I seemed to remember her taking a rather lengthy bike ride recently. She reminded me of this. I asked her if she was willing to do that again, and she agreed. I'm not sure why, but she agreed.

I should probably take this opportunity to remind you that I'm the girl who just randomly decides to do silly things. Like one day deciding to run the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon when I had never run further than three miles before. Or one day giving up high fructose corn syrup for Lent when I love me some Coca Cola. We can now add, "decides to go on a 15 mile bike ride after not having ridden a bicycle in six months, and not having worked out in at least three." Sometimes I don't seem to have the gene that makes me think things through.

But the verdict? It was SO fun. I think most of the fun initially came for me because I didn't have to worry about a thing. I'm not as confident on my bicycle as I probably should be (that's a whole 'nother post) but Candy was pretty sure that I wasn't going to die. I had no idea where I was going, but I trusted Candy. I would have followed her into a brick wall, I think. I learned this when she initially pedaled through some grass to get to the bicycle path. Um, going back to the whole, "not too confident on her bike," thing, Emily generally likes to stay on concrete. But Candy made it, so I followed her and I didn't fall off, and I didn't die. It was a monumental achievement. We rode at a steady pace that allowed us to have a fun conversation, and she only scared the bejeezus out of me one time on the "roundabout of death." I actually stopped traffic on this roundabout, people. Like, cars that weigh thousands of pounds had to stop and let me on my bike go around the roundabout. Candy, being braver than I, had already gone and I hesitated just a bit too long. My plan was to let the cars go, and then follow Candy. Unfortunately, I was sort of already IN the roundabout. So the nice mom with her kids wouldn't go before me, even though I was stopped and I waved her on. So I had to go. Did I mention that we were making a left-hand turn? Which means I had to pedal 75% of the way around the roundabout? With a trail of three cars behind me? I was embarrassed as hell and fearing for my life all at once.

Luckily Handel's was really close and the deliciousness made the fear go away pretty quickly.***

Getting back on the bike after eating delicious ice cream was not fun. But I don't think the fun conversation ever ran out, so I was able to keep my mind off of the mounting pain in my rear end. The only obnoxious point of the entire ride came near the end when we were riding side by side on a rarely-trafficked country road (with a llama farm. It had a llama farm, people. This was not a major highway.) We were having a pleasant conversation when a honk almost made me pee my pants (scared little bicyclist that I am.) Shortly after the honk, what looked like a teenage girl and her boyfriend (brother?) sped around us and drove off. It was one of those times that I kind of wish I had something to throw at her. Or at least wish I was confident enough to take one hand off of the handlebars to flip her off. Alas, neither of those things happened.

We made it home without further incident, and that was the end of our adventure. At least, until Candy sent me a text that night asking if my legs hurt. They didn't, but I was drinking wine, so I probably wasn't a good person to be asking. I did know that my butt hurt, though. Even THROUGH the wine. When I got up to go to bed, it wasn't that my legs hurt, exactly, it was more that I didn't really want to be standing on them. The next day all the pain was gone. From my legs. My butt continues to hurt.**** Ouch. I think I need a new bicycle seat. Either that or a sign that can adequately communicate my feelings should someone honk at us next time.

*He won. Didn't help my mood any.
**There was never a hissing sound, btw.
***And probably gave me back all the calories I had burned and then some
****Which is a suprise considering all the padding I've got back there


zlionsfan said...

I wouldn't recommend flipping people off on Marilyn Road. No matter what, you suffer, even if you have every right to be on the road and you're doing everything properly. There's nothing that says that some jerk teenager won't cut you off.

I'm assuming the Roundabout of Death is the one by my house?

punkinmama said...

Does ice cream not have HFCS in it? It tastes so good, I can't imagine it doesn't. That stuff is in everything!

Yes, a whole post on bicycling/exercising, and I focus on the ice cream!

Jaclyn said...

There was a llama farm? I'm so jealous!!

Candace said...

I am glad that you had fun...I know that I did. Ice cream and great conversation always make my day better. We will have to do this again, perhaps next time even more friends will join us.

ems said...

zlionsfan: The roundabout of death is not by your house. That one was easy as we were already coming south on Cumberland. The roundabout of death was on 126th. I think. Maybe. Candy might have to clarify. You know how I am with directions.

punkinmama: Um, I took the day off from lent.

Jaclyn: The llama farm was immediately following horses. It was a nice road to bike on, except that it had no bike paths.