I miss my bike. I’ve logged a remarkably low number of miles this summer, especially compared to last year.
It’s a result of a confluence of factors. I’ve been traveling, both for fun and work. I’ve had a lot of other activities – comics conventions, relatives visiting, and parties. On the weekends I didn’t have anything planned, we had rolling thunderstorms. And of course, there’s been multiple mishaps with my bike. In the beginning of the season, the lock on my bike broke, leaving it stranded in Bethesda, and lately I’ve had a slew of flat tires. I’m still terribly slow at fixing flats, so I need a good half-hour of daylight to get it done. I thought I had fixed the most recent one after I pulled out a tack, but then it flatted again less than a mile into the ride. Perhaps most importantly, I wasn’t training for anything. Last summer, I had two different major rides for which I needed to maintain a minimal level of fitness. This year, nothing was motivating me except my own desire to get on the bike.
Until now, it’s been a low-level frustration. I’ll occasionally think, “Wow, I haven’t ridden in forever.” Or if I’m feeling guilty, “I’m a terrible cyclist for taking so long to fix my bike.” In fact, I haven’t written about it because I’m a bit ashamed. Perhaps the Bike Blogging Police will take away my license.
But in the past few days, it’s developed into more of an existential ache, like something is physically wrong. I’ve felt more tired, even though I’ve had the same level of sleep deprivation as usual. I haven’t had enough exposure to nature. Even though I walk to the Metro every morning, I’m not awake enough to appreciate the natural world. My base level is more grumpy and stressed. Even yoga is less enjoyable, less meditative. I have bicycle withdrawal and the symptoms are only getting worse.
So I’ve committed to fixing the problem. This week, my bicycle will be enjoying some quality R&R. I tried to drop it off this weekend, but they were full up, so we’ll do it on Tuesday instead. I hope that will resolve the fact that I haven’t been able to put the bike in its hardest gear for about a month. They’ll also be able to repair my tire problem, which just inspires groaning every time I think about doing it. I know I should learn to fix flat tires more efficiently, but when you’re actually revved up for riding is a terrible time to practice.
I hope I can go for a bike ride again soon. Now, I realize that you appreciate the benefits of biking the most when you aren’t doing it.
Have you gone through a period when you haven’t rode and missed it terribly? What got you started again?