The Biggest Little Things

Progress is sometimes hard to spot, but this weekend, I got one of those rare tangible signs.

As “workouts” go, it barely registers: six miles on a bike, three out and three back.

As a symbol of growth, though, I’ve rarely seen bigger.

A year ago, I didn’t own Penelope yet. I had barely started bike shopping. I was scared — really scared — to even ride out of a parking lot. I couldn’t imagine yet that I’d ride up the big hill at Wildflower, or make it across the Golden Gate Bridge, or climb 1,000 feet of Legion of Honor repeats before work.

And I really couldn’t imagine doing what I did on Saturday, which was this: Get on my bike in the dark, turn on my lights, and ride in traffic to get to a friend’s party.

Big whoop, right? Using my bike for everyday transportation.

But that’s a thing I haven’t done much, a thing I still don’t say I do. My favorite routes are basically closed to traffic; I love triathlon biking because it feels protected. City riding is still a different beast, and city riding at night has been a threshold rarely crossed.

But taking the bus was going to take forever, and driving was just dumb. So we rode.

It was a cool, crisp night, and I’ve rarely felt the park so still. I was slow, and cautious, and I unclipped a good half-block before I really needed to every single time — but I made it there and back, under my own power.

Under my own power. That says it all.

I am not as fearful as I was a year ago. I’m stronger. I trust myself more. I still get scared, and I still have limits, but I’m also less terrified of what might happen if I push against them.

All this from a little six-mile ride?

Well, yes. But there wasn’t anything little about it.

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One thought on “The Biggest Little Things

  1. inaomi says:

    I love this. I remember reading when you were going through the process of buying your bike and now look at you! Much inspiration for me who still have yet to learn how to ride mine (I know…).

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