Loving the Ride

By Carissa

I may have moved to one of the biking capitals of the nation, but until recently cycling never captured my heart.  When I bought a road bike last year it was because my husband and I thought more family bike rides were in our future and neither of us owned a bike.  He chose a Schwinn Cruiser for comfort (think padded seat and wide handle bars.)  I chose a Fuji Roubaix road bike for versatility.  I could use it for a family ride or head out on the road with a girlfriend.  
Purchasing my bike last summer
I knew I liked biking to an extent because I had been spending a lot of time at spin class. Biking on the road however, is completely different.  The difference scared me enough to avoid it.  Everyone I talked to about clips said a fall or two was part of the learning process.  My bike sat in the garage for an entire year while my husband lamented the money we spent to purchase it.

This spring when I got the bug to train for a triathlon, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to face clip-in pedals and cycling outside of spin class.  In June, with my stomach in my throat, I set out on my first real ride.  My spin buddy Kim and I were going to tackle a 35 mile ride.  Neither one of us knew how long it would take or how it would feel.  I had padded shorts. Kim did not. I had a road bike. Kim had a mountain bike with road tires.  We were both nervous as we rode off.  

The previous weekend I rode 30 miles on the trainer.  Thirty-five miles would be new territory for me but I felt confident I could cover the distance.  Kim hadn't been doing any riding outside of spin class nor did she have experience with a longer ride like this. I offered to turn around whenever Kim wanted, but she resolved to stick by my side the entire distance. Our route took us on the Cascade Lakes Highway outside of Sunriver, Oregon.  It was a beautiful warm day and the sights and smells of the high desert were a delight to our senses.  We returned sweaty, sore and ecstatic.  We conquered our fears and had a fantastic time doing so.
Kim and I returning from our ride
The following weekend I had the opportunity to join my biking friends, Christian and Danielle, on a 35 mile ride through Oregon's wine country.  Once again I was extremely nervous.  Could I even keep up with these experienced riders?  It turned out to be a beautiful and educational ride.  Christian and Danielle taught me about fueling, riding with a group (hand gestures and lingo), using the gears on my bike, and riding in a pace line.  One of my favorite moments on the ride was when a raccoon scampered across the road ahead of us, oblivious of our presence. 
Danielle and I after our ride
Last weekend Danielle and I did a 32 mile route that her husband mapped out for us.  This was the first time I took a route from home into the more rural landscape west of where I live.  The thrill of the ride left me with an endorphin high that lasted the whole day.  Danielle and I coordinated the ride at the last minute and I’m so glad I didn’t need to stick to my original game plan of riding solo.

I find comfort in riding with Danielle.  If I fall into position behind her I can copy her riding.  In this way I am continuing to learn.  Now if only I can figure out how to take the downhill like she does!

I never thought I'd be falling in love with cycling.   I love the challenge of a steady climb and approach the downhills with caution.  My clips no longer make me nervous and the thought of a weekend ride doesn’t send my stomach into a tailspin.  When I see another biker I watch them with interest and envy, wishing I too was biking.  I'm really doing it - cycling and loving the ride.

How about you Sole Sisters?  Do you have a bike sitting forgotten in the garage?  Maybe you should  pull it out and find a Kim or a Danielle to enjoy the adventure of biking...through life together.


  1. I've been going through the exact same experience! I bought a bike last fall, but started training for a marathon shortly after. I didn't start using it until about 2 months ago when I decided to leap into triathlons. The first few rides were so stressful for me! I remember coming back home crying after just biking down the block because it was all so stressful to me! I didn't think I'd ever get comfortable with the clip pedals, navigating traffic, and just being on the bike. But as I keep at it, I'm finally starting to love it! I even did a big bike rally this last weekend with 800 other people. It's such a great feeling to conquer something that we were originally so scared of! Way to go!

    1. Hi Beth. I'm so glad you shared your biking experiences. I love that you can appreciate how far you've come with your comfort/enjoyment. It is indeed a great feeling to conquer our fears and incentive to push past whatever other challenges feel scary.

  2. Okay, I really wish that we lived closer now. I could use some cycling buddies to teach me the ropes. My longest ride has only been 25 miles, but I hope to tackle 30 this weekend. My original intent was 30 this last Sunday, but Ragnar wiped me out. Clips also petrified me, but it only took 1 fall to get the hang of them. Glad your are enjoying your bike as much as I am enjoying mine.

    1. I wish we lived closer too! After running for so long I have a zillion running buddies but my biking buddies are few. I hope you have fun on your 30 mile ride this weekend. I'll be doing the same. :)