Monthly Archives: June 2008

Inexperienced Biker

I appear to be a very inexperienced biker.  Back in high school, my parents and I would bike all over; we’d load up the carrier and try out trails, riding entire afternoons.  In college, I went through no less than 3 cheap Wal-Mart bikes.  The first rusted when I left it outside all winter.  The second, I abandoned at a rack somewhere on campus, and it was never seen from again.  The third… and this is when I really was trying to get back into exercising, when I really enjoyed biking around town… ended its life when I tried to go down a gully across from CyRide.  There was a rut at the bottom.  My front tire stopped cold… the rest of us: bike, mp3 player, me… went flying.  It bent the front fork (including suspension) and ruined that bike.

So, I’ve finally saved up and bought a ‘real’ bike.  Well, no $1500 professional-biker type a ride, but certainly not a Wal-Mart bike.  It’s nice and comfortable, and it’s crossover/hybrid tires move a lot faster than the mountain-bike tires I’ve always had before.  After I lamented that the front brake was a little off after I brought it home from Madison, my neighbor (thanks, Travis!) said, “well the back one will slow you down, but the front one is what really stops the bike well.”  Then he helped me get it working again.  Actually, that had nothing to do with the later incident, but Travis deserves a mention, since I got the same identical bike as he.

Anyway, last Saturday, I was invited to ride on Military Ridge trail with Ryan and Niha.  Since I haven’t regularly ridden for several years, I was a bit apprehensive, but I made it across town to their house without any problem, so I figured I was ready for at least a short ride on the trail.  We rode over to Pizza Hut where I got my trail pass (yes, you have to pay up here in Wisconsin).  The trail started just across the street.  I sped up crossing the street (it was a highway after all), but then didn’t realize the trail was so close until I saw Ryan slowing down right in front of me.

I could say I’m used to the cheap junk bikes without really good brakes; I could say Travis’s suggestion put off my fears of using the front brake on my extra-fast bike; I could call it dumb luck.  But overall, it was just pure ignorance and inexperience that caused me to mash both brakes as hard as I could.  The front tire stopped immediately, and I took a face-plant on the gravel road just inches from starting my first journey on the cross-Southern-Wisconsin trail.  Ow.

I cut up my knees pretty well.  I had been wearing biking gloves (Ryan and Niha were calling me such a serious biker) which probably protected my hands.  Later that day I found some cuts on my shoulder and stomach (so that’s why it hurt when I itched there!).  The bike’s none the worse for it; just a few scratches on the shifters.  All in all, it wasn’t that big of a deal; more of an embarrassment than a serious injury.  I’m looking forward to our next ride, where I’ll hopefully get to experience the trail itself.

But to add insult to injury, back home when I was in a bit of a daze (trying not to bleed on the carpet or anything), I slipped going down stairs and lost control of a thermos of coffee from that morning.  Thank goodness we have brown carpet. 🙂