On any given Sunday three or four years ago, you would have been guaranteed to find me curled up on the couch half-watching half-sleeping through a movie with an empty box of KFC on the floor next to me. Not a pretty sight, but that was me. Absolutely hung over.
Now I don’t drink anymore, I try to be as productive as possible on my weekends. This has involved swapping frothies for fitness, which is absolutely something I wish I had have done earlier in life. But as I said yesterday – another time, another day for that issue. What it really came down to yesterday morning was finding myself up at 6.10am on a Sunday (still too early for a weekend no matter how productive you want to be) and packing my bike into my friend’s Suzuki to head off on a good ol’ fashioned bike ride.
Maybe that’s where it started to go wrong. Maybe I should have just stayed in bed. Sally had looked up the distance along the rail trail between Fish Creek and Foster and told me “it’s only 7.5km”. We decided we could fit in the 15km return trip before meeting a friend for her birthday celebrations at 9am.
Disclaimer: my boyfriend and I bought each other bikes for Christmas two years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bike. But I also live in what is possibly the hilliest town in Victoria, and our house happens to be at the top of a hill neither of us can even ride our bikes up. We have to get off and push. So despite enjoying an easy peddle through the neighbourhood, it’s unfortunately not something I dabble in regularly.
First things first – to get my bike in the car, we had to take off the front wheel. No problem there. Reattaching the brake when we got there though? Ummm. My boyfriend kindly told me over the phone I should have paid more attention while he was disconnecting it in the first place, but bike mechanics just don’t make my list of top 10 interests. We tried and we tried. Upon a second phone call to the boyfriend, he suggested looking at the rear brake to see how it was connected. Where would I be without his wisdom? Probably still stuck in that car park trying to get my bloody bike working.
Fifteen minutes late, but good to go.
Around 1.5km into the ride, I noticed a distinct jingling noise in front of me; coming from my front wheel in fact. I then realised during all the front brake hullabaloo, I’d actually forgotten to screw my front wheel back on and it was just sitting there in the forks, but not actually bolted in. Oops. Upon further inspection, I realised the nut used to hold the wheel on had also fallen off somewhere along the way. Double oops.
I had all but written off the whole ride, imagining us packing our bikes back up having gone next to no where, kicking myself for not just sleeping in instead, all whilst I pushed my bike along and trying to see any glimpse of the nut. Then about a kilometre back…I bloody well found it.
To cut a long story short, it then began to rain, so we gave up on the whole ride, packed our bikes back into the car (not without more issues around not being able to get front wheels back off again) and left.
BUT. Not being complete quitters, we headed BACK to the rail trail after brunch for round two. It was successful, if you consider Sally misreading the map and what we thought would be a 15km return trip actually turning out to be a 26km round trip a good thing. Not an “oh dear my butt is going to hurt for days” kind of thing.
Butt…I mean, but…all in the name of fitness!
A few important things I learned during this comedy of errors that was worth not sleeping in for?
- How to reattach a bike brake
- How to double check you’ve screwed everything back into place before you start riding
- How to fit two adult mountain bikes into the back of a small Suzuki
- That my little legs are capable of peddling 26km in under two hours
- I have a butt made of steel
- When things go wrong, at least you have a good story to tell. (I did already know this one, but a refresher never hurt anyone.)