Tour de Palm Springs – My First Bike Ride! – Part 1 (I Don’t Really Know How to Ride a Bike…)

February 11, 2012

Aurora De Lucia posing with a helmet by a bicycle at the Tour de Palm Springs 2012

I came into this weekend not knowing how to ride a bike.

My dad says I tried when I was little, but I guess I fell and my nose started bleeding. And I was not having that.

Even back then I was a stubborn fighter, demanding an example of a time when riding a bike would be a skill applicable to anything I wanted to do in life. How can you argue with a five-year-old’s logic when it’s rock solid like that?

So, riding a bike is never really a thing I’ve done. But I was already doing the half marathon, and I found out that if you did the half marathon plus a bike ride of any distance, you got a special brick award. We all know how I am about awards.

On the way to the bike race, I’m thinking “I rock spin class at the gym. I’m very coordinated. Obviously, I got this…”

Then, once I get to the bike rental booth, I’m looking at this huge thing (vehicle, machine, mechanism?) and just thinking, “uh… oh yeah, bikes are bigger than people… Sheesh.”

At this point, I’d already come out to Palm Springs, gotten to the starting line, registered for the bike ride, and paid to rent this bike. This ride was on like Donkey Kong (even if I did have to get on a big contraption (which yes, I know is the point of a bike ride)).

Aurora posing with a sign that says Howard Hughes lived here, outside of Howard Hughes' house, at the Tour de Palm Springs 2012
The sign says Howard Hughes lived here. (The Aviator is my favorite movie.)

I wheeled the bike toward the starting corral area and sat on it, trying to figure out how this whole balancing thing works. It was kind of a mess.

I ran into this mom and her young daughter – Jeanette and Johannah – also doing the ride. I asked what the things on my handlebars did. They said something about making pedaling easier or harder. I spilled the beans that I didn’t know how to ride a bike. (Huge shocker to them, I’m sure).

We talked about the extra brick bling for the weekend. Johannah said she was signed up for the 5k, but was thinking about doing the half marathon. Of course I was all, “well, if you’re gonna do 3 miles, I guess you might as well do 13, right?”

As the race drew closer, the family wished me the best of luck, saying they hoped they’d see me at the finish (to make sure I made it out alive).

When the ride started, I wondered how I was ever going to make it five whole miles. I was wobbling left and right, not having the best control over where I was going.

Cheerleaders cheering by a big balloon banner at the Tour de Palm Springs 2012I crossed the start line toward the back, trying to stay out of everyone’s way. Surprisingly, after the crowd thinned a little, I could balance!

I was shouting “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” to strangers who all probably thought, “Why is this grown up lady shouting about how she can ride a bike? We can all ride a bike. Duh.”

I’m so unfamiliar with bike rides; I never had a feel for how many miles I’d done. At any point in the ride you could’ve said I’d done one, or four, or ten, and I’d be all, “Oh, okay.” There were no mile markers on the course (I guess that’s just how bike rides work, yes?) But, I was so concentrated on not dying (or at least crashing), that I didn’t focus too much on how far I’d gone, or how far I had to go.

Tomorrow, we’ll see if I finished alive!

(Spoiler alert: Probably, if I’m writing this. Find out definitively tomorrow.)

2 thoughts on “Tour de Palm Springs – My First Bike Ride! – Part 1 (I Don’t Really Know How to Ride a Bike…)”

    1. Sort of crazy, lol. But there were four booths set up, and three were completely out of bikes by the time I rented mine. So, at least I wasn’t the only one who did it. 🙂

      (The people I stayed with thought I was crazy as well. When I was telling them about the race, they said, “why didn’t you just ask to use one of ours?” It literally hadn’t dawned on me that I was staying with people who might have bikes of their own. I mean, who in the world could possibly own a bike? lol!)

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