Today I got back on my bike for a short little ride around the local park. I need to start riding again. Walking is a great workout, but I want more. I like the wind in my face, I like seeing things that are too far to walk to. Did I mention that I like the wind in my face? I think I was a dog in a previous life…one that liked to run a lot or maybe ride in the back of a pick up with my head sticking out the side. On the practical side, the sooner I am back to my pre-fall shape, the sooner I can train to be a bike tour guide. I would love to have another way to earn some money.
I think the saying goes, if you fall off a horse get right back on. I couldn’t do that with the Jurassic Park model of my cast, and I don’t think it would have been safe for anyone else either. But I have had the cast off for a little over a week and thought I should do at least a small ride to get over the post-fall jitters.
It has been over a month now since the accident, so my bike has just been sitting in the living room collecting dust. Leif took it out on the terrace while I got ready and oiled the chain and checked out the brakes and tires and such. He will probably deny this, but I’m pretty sure I saw him cleaning all the dust and dust bunny remnants off the frame and spokes. He likes a clean bike, I’m pretty sure he would have really liked to actually wash it with soap and water.
I tease him sometimes about his passion for cycling, but I shouldn’t. Yes, he really loves more than almost anything to be on a bike. But he also wants the people around him to enjoy cycling and this morning he was very patient and thoughtful. He knew I was nervous about getting back on my bike after such a hard fall and spending so long off the bike. So he took the time to check everything over and then we walked our bikes to the gas station so he could fill the tires for me. He took one last look into my eyes and asked if I was ready.
Well, no…but I said nonchalantly, “Sure, let’s go.” It was like riding with my own personal body guard. He rode directly in front of me and pretty much cleared a path. For this I was grateful. Typically on any ride in Florence there are certain things you need to watch out for. Dogs standing 10 feet away from their owners, but still attached to a leash that blocks the bike lane. Elderly shoppers dragging one of those rolling shopping bags with one errant wheel that throws it randomly around the sidewalk. Groups of joggers that part like the Red Sea for the aforementioned elderly, but refuse to yield to bikers the use of the bike lane. Tiny bikers-in-training who get off balance, over-correct and veer into your path with a look of terror on their face while their parents glare at you as if you planned to run their child over. Anyone of any age texting while walking.
These are the things he protected me from today…although it was threatening to rain so there weren’t as many people on the street as usual. We rode slowly at first. It was a good thing he was there to watch the people and traffic for me, because today I spent a lot of time watching the road in front of me. I broke my elbow, but the my hand and wrist were trapped in a strange position in the cast as well so there are a lot of movements that difficult and/or painful yet. So I didn’t want to hit any holes or sticks or rocks or anything that would jar my hand and arm too hard this first time out.
Leif led the way around the park, dinging his bell to warn pedestrians to move and choosing the smoothest places for me to ride. We made it home without incident, and I am already excited to get out again tomorrow or the next day for a little longer ride. Maybe even on the road….I love to live dangerously.
It’s a pretty uneventful ending to the story of my broken elbow, but you know what? I think that’s the best possible ending I could ask for.