I am afraid of a lot of things.
Mice, squirrels, bats, frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, spiders, tornadoes, public speaking, driving in Washington D.C., plumbing invoices, and bicycles.
And today I am going to pick out a bike.
Ever since I quit the gym (did I mention I quit the gym?), I have done zero cross-training. I realized recently that I don't even walk. I run a lot of miles, but I never walk anywhere. I think this is very weird.
So I decided that I want to get a bike for my birthday next month because my biathlon in running and typing cannot be good for my body. I'm weak enough in the pool that I'm actually learning in Henry's Waterbabies swim class, so I figure a bike is my only other option.
But bicyclists always seem to be courting death by vehicular manslaughter, and I have a haunting memory of trying to bike a hill once as a kid and actually stopping involuntarily halfway up because my legs just. couldn't. push. the pedals. And it should come as no surprise that I am not mechanically inclined, so managing a bike scares the daylights out of me.
Can I give you an example?
The last time I rode a bike was 5 years ago when we lived in California. Brian and I went for a ride because we quickly learned as new residents that this is what residents of Sonoma County do on Saturdays after they go to the farmers market but before they go to a wine tasting. I pulled out my Montgomery Ward two-wheeler (without the training wheels, I'll have you know) and we rode out to the park.
When we got back, I told Brian that the whole thing was curiously scary because I just had this irrational feeling like I couldn't slow down. He gave me a suspicious look and hopped on my bike to ride it in the parking lot of our apartment complex.
When he got off, he came to me with the kind of pity you give to someone who is charming but frankly kind of dense. The kind of look I gave to Henry the other day when he insisted that the continents are in the sky.
"You have no brakes, Kristina."
Now do see why I am afraid of bikes? It's not really because they are legitimate instruments of death.
It's because I'm stupid, and I'm afraid of the kind of trouble my own small brain can get me into when I ask the guy at the store where I put my mouth to blow up the tires.
Check out the race results for the exquisitely organized and rewarded 8 on the 8th race for bloggers. It's why I'm letting myself pick out my birthday bike today.