Cycling, week one

I’ve been on three rides since my last post.  Two were at the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail.  I was riding at the western (Gainesville) end, which is quite hilly for the first four miles or so.

My first time out, I went out to the Alachua Lake overlook, which is about 2.75 miles from the trailhead.  I was planning on continuing on, but I was having problems shifting so I just rode back to my car.  (I took it to the shop later.  I’d accidentally installed the base for my U-lock over the shifting cable.  Oops.  Easy fix, anyway.)

Second time, I rode out to the five-mile mark before turning around.  It is so, so, so beautiful out there.  There are different micro-ecosystems you pass through:  a forest, views of Payne’s Prairie, a sawgrass field, a hammock… and that was just the first 5 miles.  The trail is 16 miles long.  Next time (tomorrow, most likely) I’ll drive out to Hawthorne to try the eastern end.  It’s supposed to be flat, and I want to see how far I can go.  Eventually I would like to be able to ride the whole thing, all 32 miles of it, in one go.  I think it won’t take me too long to get there.  I mean, I can already do ten miles, and that’s the hilly part, and it was only my third bike ride so far.

My last ride, yesterday, was near my house.  Eight miles total.  Before I got a bike I was terrified to ride on roads, but yesterday I started on the sidewalk and then noticed how nice and wide the bike lanes were, and how little traffic there was…  Definitely easier than riding the sidewalk.  Although I wouldn’t do it in the dark, even after I get my lights for it.  Not that brave…

Right near my apartment is a scenic road a lot of Serious Cyclists like to ride on.  They all ride at the same time I like to ride or walk, so I’m used to seeing them every morning just after dawn. They ride the GHT, too.  They all have road bikes and are stick-skinny and go really fast.  I don’t want a road bike, I don’t want to dress all in Lycra and weave through traffic, but I can’t help but feel like a kid on a tricycle.  I got a basket for my handlebars, to carry my water and stuff in, and it’s very practical, but… kid on a tricycle.  Ugh.  I’m going to get a serious-looking commuter bag instead so I don’t look like such a dork.  Not as convenient for me as the basket, but I won’t feel as self-conscious…

Anyway.  I’ve ordered a pair of inexpensive padded shorts, because the only thing stopping me from riding every day is that my vulva gets sore every time I ride.  It’s getting easier, but if the shorts work I’ll buy a couple more pair so I can ride daily.  This morning I went for a walk, like I did every morning before getting the bike, and it was so boring in comparison.  I’m definitely hooked on cycling.

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