Tuesday, March 24, 2009

scenes from my life

My mother wants me to be careful with this whole bike project--you know, because of Lance Armstrong's collarbone, of course.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I've told myself I need to take one break day each week when I don't get on the bike. Not sure whether there's science behind the idea, but it seems to me that a 24-hour hiatus makes sense. Today's a good day for it. And yet, it's all I can do not to rush home, throw open the garage, drag out the Townie and start pedaling!
The news of Lance Armstrong's broken collarbone means more than it would have a week ago. Not much, still, but more. Again, ouch.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

first spill

At least it was minor, and there were only two people watching... But, ouch, scraped ankle. Apart from that: Another lovely day at the park! I am working on making full circuits around the field without stopping. Also, moved the seat up to its proper height, which is a little scary, but definitely feels better when I am riding. Got cheers from a few park-goers who were bemused to see the old lady learning to ride her bike. Also: Now understand why Carolyn wants me to get the gel-shorts. Ouch, again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

the world is changed

Victory! (Phase one, at least.) I know how to ride! It's not a pretty sight, fairly wobbly, but I did a small circuit around the Palisades rec center without any falls or other serious embarrassments.
Now I can confess that I have been very nervous about this project, no less so after the launch, when I really felt like there was no way I would actually be able to do it.
For the record, here's how I got pedaling (with thanks to sensei Jon): I began with coasting on the grass, and when I felt balanced enough there, I moved to the paved path. That's where I really got the hang of moving the front wheel around to keep balanced. Finally the physics began to make sense! Plus, I saw how there is upper-body work to biking, which I hadn't appreciated before.
Once I was seriously gliding, I went back to the grass and tried getting my feet to the pedals. That took another leap of faith, but the balance practice gave me enough stability to do it. I hadn't planned to go back to the pavement after that, but since my husband and daughter were still occupied on the playground at this point, I figured I'd give it a shot--and presto! And fun.
Now I know why my friends who bike are so darn happy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

no rest for the weary

Totally exhausted at the end of a big week, but I still will be going home to work on balance. Planning to spend the weekend in and out of various Palisades-area parks. How long is it going to take to get up and running? Anyone?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the launch party

It's safe to say that not everyone I work with realized that I don't, really truly, know what I'm doing. Now, they do. Or, as my boss was heard to say, "Well, Sara, you sure showed us that you don't know how to ride a bike!"
Once the breathing exercises (right) were finished, it was time for the main event. Literally tens of people showed up to watch me tire myself out without even touching the pedals, much.
Thanks to Jim and Jeremy for providing the balloons and, puzzlingly, strawberries; Katie for being the best campaign manager a gal could ask for; Jon for his kind and gentle coaching (and reminding me to breathe); Diego for being my partner in crime and shopping; and the whole ADA gang for coming out to watch me coast along the grass between the loading dock and garage A.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

it's here!

Just got the call from Bennett at Big Wheel Bikes. My new Townie has arrived in the store! Suddenly this all feels kinda real....

Origin Story

For most of you, riding your bike around the neighborhood was a normal part of growing up. Not me. Neither of my parents knew how to ride, and since they were busy getting divorced around the time most kids I knew were getting training wheels, I don’t think it ever occurred to them that I might need a hand in this department. A couple of friends tried to teach me to ride in college, but it ended badly: I have a sad scar on my knee to show for it, and not much else.

So why am I learning to ride a bike right now?

1. To raise money for people with diabetes

It’s an ambitious idea, but one that seems to resonate with others. Over the course of 3 months I intend to learn to ride a bike and then train to ride in the June 14 Tour de Cure fundraiser in Reston, Va.
Having worked at the American Diabetes Association for the past 2 years, I know firsthand that this organization is doing crucial work to support research, education, and treatment for the millions of people affected by diabetes. By supporting my ride, you will be doing your part to help fight this terrible, life-threatening disease.

2. To get back in shape after falling out of love with exercise

One of the other things I’ve learned at the ADA is how important exercise is for managing my diabetes. The better my muscles are working, the better they can help my body use glucose, which is the big issue in diabetes. Yay, muscles!
I’ve also come to believe that for those of us who are not natural athletes, a good motivator for exercise is finding something new to do—even if it means reinventing your workout time and again. The excitement of learning to ride is pushing me forward (even though, frankly, I’d rather be reading a book).

3. To be a role model for my daughter

Soon, it will be time for Edith to learn how to ride a bike. And yes, her dad could teach her without my help. But I want her to have the example of an active mom—and one who takes on big challenges.

Doing the impossible

It’s worth pointing out that at this very moment, the prospect of getting on a bike and pedaling forward seems impossible. I just don’t understand how anyone does it! And the physics of bicycling, while intelligible, are fundamentally alien to me. Think for a moment about something that feels impossible in your life. Yep, it’s like that. But I also know that, with the help of friends and family, I can do this.