I went on the road for the first time today. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I found that I was not nearly as scared as I thought I would be. I did not perceive it to be nearly as dangerous on the part that I rode.
I had to ride just over a mile to get to the bike trail, which is a great conduit for shooting across town to where I needed to conduct my business. I hit a new speed of 31 mph on a hill. I had to get in a turn lane and make a turn at a caution light. I rode up to the traffic light, and crossed the four-lane highway. I was first at the light, and the truck behind me followed me through the intersection without trying to pass me or kill me. I had to make an immediate left when I crossed, so, I stayed in the middle of the road and the truck following me just eased on around. I went down a dirty, rocky path for about 200 yards until I got to the bike path. I got on the path and went about 6 miles to where I had to get off, and go to the Post Office.
When I headed to the Post Office, I had no problem on back streets, I was pretty sure that the cars were used to seeing bikes. Now, for the punch line. The hills were very real away from the bike path. I had to hit my highest gear on the cassette and just barely pumped over a couple of them. I thought, "Now you are going to get off that big crank, fat boy." But, somehow, I managed to take the hills while still on the 53-ring in the front.
After leaving the Post Office, I went to the bike shop, to get my stem looked at. It has a small creak coming out of it. They could not find the problem, so ordered me a free, new replacement stem. The old one will go back under a warranty exchange. I was concerned that my bike shop would have to eat the stem, but I was assured that this was not the case.
On the way back to the path, I headed to the first 4-way stop, and this guy in a car pulls right up beside me at the stop sign. He made me mad, the way he did it. Before I could catch myself, I cursed him very loudly and asked him if he could see me sitting there. I hate to say it, but I really frightened the poor guy. He kept his eyes straight, and hands glued to the wheel. After I went through the intersection, he came behind me and passed me with a very, very, wide berth. I made it to the bike path and headed back home. I did not want to go back down the muddy drive, so, I went a mile further, and took a paved route. I crossed the four-lane with no light, but no cars were coming, so I peddled right across. Then, Oh God, the mother of all hills I had to climb to get back home. I estimate that this hill to be at about a 30 degree angle, yes 30 degree. I hit the small crank right away, and on the way up, I was in the lowest gear, on the low crank, and I still almost fell over. I really don't know how I made it. This hill was about 3/4 of a mile long. I was so tired when I got up, I rode the last 100 yards or so which was level, on the sidewalk. Yeah, I wimped out and had to get on the sidewalk, but I managed to do it without stopping or putting my feet down.
I pulled into my driveway and it was just a fraction over 20 miles total. The most terrible 20 miles that I have ever gone on a bicycle. The last thing and I swear this to be true. My heart was beating completely out of my chest, I was dripping sweat, I was drenched from head to toe in sweat, barely able to stand, and my son says, "Daddy, can we go riding around the neighborhood?" I had to let the little guy down today. Best -