Ding ding

D.C. has this wonderful program called Capital Bike Share. The essence of the program is that you can pop your credit card into the machine, unlock a bike & ride the bike as long as you want. When you return the bike, your card is charged for the time used. The best part is that you can return the bike to any location throughout the city.

Saturday afternoon Mom had to run an errand. We'd left our car at the hotel in Crystal City; with the blossom festival we figured parking would be a nightmare so taking the Metro would be far easier. To get to the errand, Kara suggested we rent bikes. We all agreed enthusiastically. Thus ensued around 30 minutes of chaos and laughter.

I have never been able to ride a bike. It's always been rather difficult for me. Saturday was certainly no exception. I initially forgot that when riding a bike, you're not supposed to peddle full strength the entire time. Instead, you're supposed to coast some of the time. So after about 10-15 minutes of serious uphill peddling, I was completely spent. At which time Kara informed me... that we had at least 6 more blocks to travel.  So I stood at the light at the intersection panting like I'd just run a marathon. Once I got my breath, we started off. This time I remembered to coast. The ride was significantly easier; I made it through the whole rest of the trip without having to stop.

It got better. And by better I mean significantly more worse. As I discovered there was a direct correlation between my inability to ride and how hard Dad & I laughed. At one point, even a stranger on the street joined in the laughter. This is probably because I almost steered directly into a metal planter box. But whatever. The point is that you know you're bad at riding bikes when strangers begin laughing at you. Thankfully I've learned to laugh off my foibles over the years.

Not every stranger was laughing though. In the middle of a 6 lane intersection, we were stopped at an island waiting for traffic to clear on the other half of the street. We got a break and I attempted to get started again. Starting a bike has always been the hardest part of the ride for me. With the added pressure of not wearing a helmet & being stuck in the middle of a 6 lane intersection in downtown D.C., I was really struggling. I kept wobbling, colliding at one point in time with a light post and at another point with a construction sign. Dad was laughing so hard he couldn't ride either. Finally my right shoe fell off and I couldn't seem to get it back on my foot. This prompted a stranger to announce that I was going to get a ticket before glaring angrily and storming off. Once again, Dad and I dissolved into laughter.

Never fear, I did eventually recover my sparkly ballet flat (not the best bike riding shoes but in my defense I had not anticipated any bike riding) & cross the intersection sans injury. Well, except for the around 6 bruises I accumulated during the course of the ride. Most of these were gained from my attempting to start the bike. Oh and the sore abs from all that laughter.

Needless to say I do not foresee a Tour de France win in my future.

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