I’m still in shock.
I can’t even believe that I’m walking upright, or at all, for that matter.
I don’t know what the HELL I was thinking when I agreed to this but I was clearly under the influence of pure stupid.
I COMPLETELY and TOTALLY over-estimated my abilities.
And I’m really glad that I did.
In January, it seemed like a REALLY good idea to register for the New York City 5 Borough bike tour.
Even though I didn’t have a bike.
Or really even know how to ride one.
For some awesome reason, I actually believed that in the months leading up to the ride, I would
- a) Get in top shape
- b) Find a bike
- c) Ride it every single day … even though it was still snowing in Montreal the last week of April.
- a) Ate a lot of take-out
- b) Came down with the plague
- c) and some kind of debilitating migraine disorder
- d) forgot where my gym was located all-together
By the grace of all the higher powers that be, I was fortunate enough to be gifted a BEAUTIFUL bicycle
A beautiful bicycle that I fell rather quickly in love with.
A beautiful bicycle that,
thanks to my procrastination, global warming, and being located in what might as well be the North Pole, I rode ONE TIME before leaving for New York.
One time. For one hour. On flat land.
Can I just I tell you that as it occured to me, while waiting at the starting point, what I was about to do…
As the fear started to set in…
As the butterflies started acrobatting in my guts, and my heart started beating a trillion miles a minute…
I just kept chanting to myself “If 12 year old kids can do it, I can do it” and “If Sheryl Yvette can do it in heels and fishnets, with a 0-speed bike, in under 4 hours, I can do it in sneakers, in under a day”
The first half was really fun and exciting, and romantic even.
Especially riding through Central Park, and Harlem.
Central Park, like in the movies…
Photo by Joe
where people screamed at us “Get the F@#k out of here!” and an old woman waved her cane and rapped at us “Keep your eyes on the road. Keep your eyes on the road. You know you’re doin great. You know you’re doing great. Keep your eyes on the road…”
The third quarter of the ride was getting kinda tough.
The last quarter, I actually was starting to think I might not finish it.
And I was getting discouraged.
But I did it. I made it to the very end. I don’t know how, but I did.
Zero training. Zero know-how. Zero skills. And only 8 speeds on my bike.
I actually did it. I could barely sleep that night, on account of the pain and exhaustion in
my jello-legs and aching knees.
I still feel, 2 days later, as though somebody followed me on the entire tour, kicking me in the butt with steel-toed work boots on.
But I did it. Oooooh yes I did.
Now that I’m a pro, I have compiled a list of essential tips for NYC FBBT first-timers and beginners. You’re welcome.
If you are planning to bike 40 miles in under 4 hours,
- Eat breakfast first.
- Ride a bike more than once in your life before the day of the tour
- Don’t be (an ass) proud (like me) and try to impress the members of your cool cyclist posse, who were charitable enough to let you come along for the ride, by biking up every single bridge if you’re not used to it. You’ll only use up all your energy and be left with very little (if any) to finish the ride with, and possibly spend most of the last stretch panicking about whether or not you’ll make it all the way through brooklyn without stopping for CPR and a knee replacement. Or two.
- Don’t let your friends spray you in the face with water, to cool you down while you’re riding, if you are wearing sun-glasses (or any glasses for that matter).
- Stay hydrated and well fueled before and during the ride.
- Be aware.
- You are surrounded by riders of all ages and skill level. The most challenging thing about this bike tour is being able to predict what the people around you are going to do. Especially if those people are from the Zen buddhist center. Because they are so wonderfully mindful and zen, that they aren’t paying attention to anything but being present. Which is awesome.Unless they keep zenfully cutting you off and almost crashing into you.So basically just be a Bike Tour Ninja.
- Don’t let the Staten Island Ferry police bully you into carrying your bike to the third floor, or you might not get to meet these guys.
- If you stop to eat at the festival. Try the Beet Burgers. OH MY GOD THEY ARE SO FREAKING GOOD.
- And most importantly
- Wear a super awesome outfit that you love, that makes you feel like a superhero. And if you dont’ have one, wear a super-hero outfit.
- and… Reward yourself afterwards. Preferably with the great company of your bike tour posse, on the waterfront, with a view of the sun setting and the Statue of Liberty raising her torch in a toast to your awesomeness.