Saturday, December 31, 2011

Biking for Bruises

          
          I hadn’t been on a bicycle in twenty years. And now I have proof—a bruise the size of Nebraska on my left thigh. That old adage, “It’s as easy as riding a bike?” For a five-year-old kid, maybe. For  me, not so much.

            We’d decided to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and spend a few days at the beach. Since we don’t have access to any beachfront property, the best we could do was take the RV and park it near the water. Half Moon Bay had just the site we were looking for, located only a short walk to the beach. And just down the street was the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where we could sneak in, have a drink, and watch the sun set over the ocean while pretending to be rich.

            After arriving in the early afternoon, we couldn’t wait to see the local sights. The only problem was, we didn’t have a car. While we like having a portable condo to take on these mini-vacations, we can’t exactly drive it around town, so we brought along our bikes for transportation.

            When the kids were in school, I used to ride my bike all the time—down to the library or the grocery store or café. I’d pick up whatever I needed (as long as it was lightweight, easy to carry and wouldn’t spill) and be back in time to greet the kids. Back then I could even ride with no hands—and no helmet!

            But obviously some time has passed since my trick-riding days. After hopping onto my bike at the RV park, seconds later I found myself lying on the pavement, entangled in the bike, my leg throbbing. My thigh soon looked as though it had been hit by a meteorite, when in fact I’d been betrayed by my own planet Earth.
“Are you all right?” called one of the many nearby RVers who had witnessed the humiliating scene. I jumped up quickly, brushed myself off, and said through the pain, “I’m okay! I’m okay!”

            To prove I wasn’t a bike wimp, I remounted the bike and slowly made my way out of the park. Ten minutes later I arrived at the Ritz, huffing and puffing like a lifetime smoker at high altitude. And that was after spending most of the ride walking my bike up the small inclines while pretending to stop and take in the stunning view. 

            A woman who had left the RV park at the same time as I had—on foot, mind you—passed me several times during my oxygen-recovery breaks, and eventually beat me to the hotel. I complimented her on her athleticism; she asked me if I needed an ambulance or a defibulator. When we returned to the RV, I admired my humungous bruise in the mirror, swallowed some Ibuprofen, and took a two-hour nap. Later that afternoon, my husband suggested we take another bike ride, this time to a nearby restaurant for dinner. I showed him my bruise, which I hoped would provoke sympathy, but instead brought about mocking laughter and childish name-calling.

            That’s when I called a cab.

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