Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm Loving the Bike

To finish off my 30 Days of Biking challenge in fine style, Owen and I are heading down to Lanesboro, Minnesota, to ride the Root River Bike Trail and celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. At the moment, though, we are sitting in Tires Plus waiting to get two new tires on my van. That's not so fun, but it's giving me a chance to update you on my 30 Days of Biking experience and tell you a bit about Loving the Bike.

One unexpected side benefit to my 30 Days of Biking experience is that I've been "meeting" all sorts of super bicycling people. I say meeting in quotes because I'm not actually meeting these people in person (though I expect I may at some point in time). Instead, I'm getting to know people via social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook. I've started following the tweets of 30 Day founders, Patrick and Zachariah (aka @patiomensch and @zachamon) and, much to my surprise, they are following mine.

Another person I've met is Darryl, a bicyclist who has a cool website, Loving the Bike. Darryl loves bicycling and is sharing his passion for bicycling with everyone who visits his site. He also shares his love of biking with his family, like I've been doing with mine. Darryl wrote a poem about his son's first ride. It made me cry (my friend, awesome playwright and then some, Brendon Etter, will not be surprised that I cried). Darryl posts a feature each month, Look Who's Loving the Bike, and asked if I would share a story of mine. I sent him a quick story via email, something I didn't think was blog worthy but then Darryl said he liked it so I decided to tweak it a bit and let him post it. (It should be up on Loving the Bike on May 3rd). 

Then I decided to take the short story and make it a longer story, a more complete picture of where I came from with my bicycling experience and where I am going now. I'm posting the fleshed out story here. Read it if you wish. And be sure to enjoy your weekend!

Here I am on my Giant Avail

I'm Loving the Bike
by Myrna CG Mibus
I have never been much of a bicyclist. I bought a Specialized hybrid about 15 years ago and rode it around some but never regularly. Years before I met my husband, Owen, he was an avid cyclist who used to do century rides. He often talked about how much he loved cycling, how he really wanted to get back into it, how fun it would be for us to bicycle together. I appreciated his enthusiasm but never caught the biking bug.
Then less than a year ago I decided I should ride a 30 mile local charity ride, the Jesse James Bike Tour, even though I had almost no experience and the ride was just a month away. Owen decided to do the ride, too, and we set out to train together.
Some people say that the dynamics between partners are severely challenged when one person tries to teach the other a skill. Owen and I have found this to be true. We both fly airplanes for a hobby and used to fly in aerobatic competitions. We’ve spent hundreds of hours together in the cockpit, flying to aerobatic contests and on vacations with our two children, Rose and Ryan. Flying together hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it’s been downright difficult. But we wanted to fly together enough that we’ve figured it out and have been flying together for 18 years.
I didn’t think that riding bicycles together would be much of a problem. I learned I was wrong the day we decided to tackle part of the tour’s route that included some enormous hills. We were biking up the first big hill and Owen, apparently undaunted by the gargantuan hill and excited to be back in the saddle, kept chatting away, attempting to offer encouragement. I, on the other hand, saw a huge hill in front of me and didn't want encouragement, or maybe I just didn't want encouragement from Owen. I wanted to be miserable, to struggle in silence.  The next time he said something "helpful," I told him to eff off. Whoops. Not a very nice thing to say. I might have said it more than once, even (don't tell my mother. I'm 43 but she doesn't know I swear). I told Owen I was sorry but I'm embarrassed to say I didn't do so until the road flattened out and the hills were behind us.
In the next few weeks before the 30 mile tour, I figured out how to ride hills on my own and gained confidence. Owen and I continued to ride together and, through trial and error, figured out how to ride together more effectively. By the time the Jesse James Bike Tour rolled around we had figured out how to ride together without any swearing at Owen on my part - though I will admit to swearing in general a few times when we tackled big hills. We finished the 30 mile ride in fine form and with excitement to do the ride again the following year.
This spring we bought road bikes, a Giant Avail for me and a Defy for Owen, and have decided that biking is what we do.  We have several bike tours planned for the year. We ride together often and joke about the days I used to swear at Owen. We ride up hills, down hills and across flat land pretty well together now, are enjoying our new bikes and the time we spend together riding them.
Our kids, I’m excited to say have caught on to our enthusiasm for cycling. Rose, she’ll be eleven this July, got a new bike this year, a 26” Marin Pioneer Trail that will last her for years to come. She’s already talking about getting a road bike and doing century rides, I suspect, in part, because she likes spending time with her Daddy and because both he and I are now talking about tackling a hundred mile ride. Rose also decided she wanted a cycling jersey so we found one small enough to fit her. It says “Biking Chick” on it and has a picture of a fluffy yellow baby chicken on it. She wears her jersey to school.
Ryan is almost eight and is fascinated with going fast. He just moved from a single speed bike into a gently used Trek MT60 with six speeds. He says he wants a bike with 63 speeds someday though he knows he’ll probably have to build such a bike himself. A year ago Ryan, wouldn’t wear his biking helmet. Now that Owen and I ride with helmets all the time, Ryan wears his helmet without complaint and even wore it one day on a walk with our dogs.
I’m happy to report that I’m Loving the Bike now, that working through challenges has helped me improve myself and love my family more. That we are now a family that’s passionate about bicycling and will likely be riding together for years to come!


Loving the Bike said...

What a fantastic post and I am so honored to be included in this post. You are an amazing writer and have such a beautiful way of stringing words together.
I am so happy to see you loving the bike and sharing that love with your family.
Like you, every single day I am so happily surprised by the incredible people I meet via our website, Facebook, and Twitter.....these things have opened me up to a world of great cycling people and friends.

Thank You.


Manfred said...

Lovely to read of your cycling history and experiences!! I love my bike too and am trying to get Anne onto hers a bit more often so we can cycle together... I will send her a link to your article and hopefully it will provide some inspiration :)