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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I don't like riding my bicycle. The handlebars are weird to me and my seat is adjusted so that I sit higher than the handlebars. It had to be set high to accommodate my long legs, but leaning down on the handlebars makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable. Then there's like a million (24) gears which takes a relaxing bike ride and turns it into a Mensa test of lever pushing.  I feel wobbly on my bike and slow. This doesn't really make sense to me at all because when I was a kid, I went EVERYWHERE on my bicycle. My best friend lived probably two miles away. She was also the nearest kid. My bike gave me independence and the ability to go see Steph when ever I wanted. The only rules were to stay off the main busy road and not to go as far as the highway.

Once I got a drivers license, I spent less and less time on a bicycle and by the time I got to college, I didn't even have a bike anymore. There's been a really long stretch of time between riding my bicycle everywhere and not really ever riding a bicycle. I became comfortable with using my two feet to walk to places instead of using two feet to pedal to places. Then I met Michael who is all about bike riding. I bought a used bike (his ex-wife's actually) so I could go on bike rides with him and I can count on one hand the number of times in two years that I've gone bike riding with Michael. I made a scrunched up face when Sean suggested I rent a bicycle while we were in Portland. Sean walked with me the first day to the conference and said "nope! I'm riding my bicycle the rest of my time here." After the afternoon sessions on that first day, I walked back across the Steal Bridge and right over to the bicycle rental place. They set me up with a seven speed cruiser and a helmet and off I went. 

Sean and I rode our bikes to different food trucks for lunch every day. We rode out to cool restaurants in the evening. On my last morning, I rode my bicycle all along the Willamette River. I did complain a lot about the hills. That first morning, we rode our bikes up to the Waffle Window for breakfast. The ride was a gradual incline over twenty blocks and at one point I looked at Sean and said "I am not going to make it." I made it and once I realized I didn't have to keep up with Sean, who rides all the time, I was just fine. There was one day where I found myself riding back to our condo and I thought  "I could totally do this ALL OF THE TIME!" Sure, I was still complaining about hills and my butt hurt from the seat, but I was getting places.  I realized that I could do the same thing at home. I live 3.2 miles from work and most of the way to work is downhill (going home will be a pain). There's really not much of an excuse for me to not ride a bicycle to work.

Monday night (it was raining Monday), I got my bike down from it's hook in the garage and Michael made sure there was air in the tires. Tuesday morning, instead of rolling the scooter out of the garage, I rolled out my bicycle and pedaled my way to work. I struggled. I felt like I was going so slow. I am a sloth on a bike. Of course this is in comparison to what? There were no other bicyclists on the road. I was comparing myself to the passing cars, who were going way faster than me because, well, they are cars. Then I thought, at this pace, I was for sure going to be late for work and I started to get really frustrated that my body could not make this bike go any faster. Then it dawned on me. It's not that I am out of shape, it's that I'm out of bicycle shape. I just haven't ridden enough to know how long it should take me to get anywhere. I may be going slow, but I'm going and as long as I keep pedaling, I will eventually reach my destination.  

My new mantra just might be "I am a sloth on a bike".