Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Falling off my bike and learning from it SoL 7.15.14

Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

"It's like falling off a bike", nope, wait, I think the saying is something about "it's like riding a bike".  But this story is different.  It's about falling off a bike and getting back on.  It's about reading being hard, but keep trying.

So... as I mentioned in this post I fell off my bike last week.  Let me first back up a little and give you some background.  Back in 2008 I was a "recreational" working out type of person.  I went to some aerobic classes, did some running and swimming, went to spinning and lifted (raised?) weights (small ones).  But the people at my gym were hard-core fitness people - marathoners, Iron Men... and they were all very nice people.  I decided to be like them.  I originally wanted to try a tri, after all, my strength is the swim.  My friend, who I had coerced to join me on this endeavor, said no swimming.  We decided on a half marathon and if you're going big like that, might as well do it right and do your first 1/2 at Disney!  Well, 3 marathons, 11 half-marathons and I don't know how many 10ks and 5ks, my legs hurt.  I don't want to not train for something, after all, that's where I get my goals from, so I decided to go back to that originally idea and try a tri!  As I said, swimming is my strongest of the 3, so I feel confident there.  Biking, well, I'm good at spinning so I should be ok, right?  Then I went to the bike shop and saw the bikes with their little hard seats and their little tires (seriously, have you seen how skinny road bike tires are??).  My first thought was I would get pedals that have the cages so I can slip my shoes in and out, but all of my tri friends convinced me clipping in is smarter and more efficient.

Fast forward to now.  I've gone out on my bike 3 times.  Not much.  But I've learned I'm scared to death of traffic and I'm really scared of the clipping in and out part.  I can get my shoes in and out of the clips, it's the timing that is hard.  It's easier to clip out when your foot is on the down pedal cycle than up.  I've learned that I like to coast with my right foot down, but when it's time to stop, I like to put my left foot down on the ground first.  All of this takes coordination that I haven't mastered just yet.

Last Wednesday I went out on the road for the first time.  I focused so hard when we came up to traffic stops, but I was still not coordinating everything just right.  As we approached my house at the end of the ride, I decided I was going to focus really hard at getting my left foot unclipped first and putting it down on the ground.  The funny thing is when you concentrate on one side, you tend to forget the other side.  Which is what I did.  I did everything right on the left side, but when I tried to put my right foot down it was still clipped in.  And you know what happens when you have just the slightest bit of momentum going and one of your feet gets tripped up.  You go down.  It was the proverbial slow motion - I could see it happen before it did.  There was that "noooooo" moment and then I was on the ground. The good thing is, I'm fine.  Bumps, bruises and a sore ego.  I have a ginormous purple bruise with a nice circle in the middle - figured out that's where the bottom of the handlebar hit me!!  Some road rash on the knee, bruise on my hand, sore tricep.  It's all healing now.  But I always learn from my mistakes.  

1.  With biking - you can't just concentrate on one side.  You have two sides and they both matter.  With reading - you can't just concentrate on figuring out the words or just paying attention to what the story is about.  They work hand in hand.  You need them both to understand the story.

2.  With biking - I'll get better at this.  I need consistent practice.  I know after I do it enough times, it will be muscle memory and become something I can do without thinking about it.  With reading - a reader needs to read.  The more you read, the easier it gets and the better you become.

3.  With biking - sometimes you fall.  But get up, do it again, don't give up.  With reading - reading can be hard and it can try your spirit.  But you try again, don't give up.

I'm going back on my bike tomorrow.  I will encourage all readers, whether it's hard or easy, to do the same!


  1. I am so scared of those pedal clips! I am glad you are okay. I love the way you connected the experience on your bike to reading. "You have two sides and they both matter" made me chuckle. Good luck in the training for the tri. Inspirational!

  2. Clip-in shoes/pedals does make it tricky, especially when you have to stop quickly. You are lucky you didn't break a bone when you fell. I broke a bone in my foot from and easy fall (no bruising or scraping of skin, not even grass stain). I did not have clip-ins on that ride.

  3. I know about those clips and falling. It is hard. I commend you on not giving up. It will get easier and what a great model you are for anyone who struggles!

  4. Perhaps these are the reasons that I do my biking inside! How to correlate that with reading? Obviously I am not as cleaver as you! So glad you are okay! Good luck with all your training. Where is your first tri happening?

  5. Love the description although I'm not sure now I want clip-ins, Michele. So glad you're just a little bruised, in & out, but the best thing is how you connected to the reading-so true, & coordination is tough for some students, isn't it? Thanks, & good luck on more practicing!