A Little Rusty
Susie here! Mother of two hilarious children, wife of a firefighter, proud and dedicated Strider employee. I purchased my first bike when I was 17 years old right after I graduated high school. It was the most beautiful turquoise Gary Fisher bike I had ever seen and it took me almost all summer to pay off my lay-away at our local sporting goods shop. I rode it to work every morning on my one mile commute to the daycare center where I worked. I was proud of it. I was a cyclist. I thought.
Fast forward 15 years…
My beautiful turquoise bike had seen better days. Not because it had a million miles on it but because it had been neglected. College, marriage, family, moving, life in general got in the way. I was no longer a cyclist, just a lady with a rusty turquoise bike that was pretty cool once. The day I started at Strider more than one person said “don’t forget to bring your bike in, we go out and ride at lunch.” “Oh I don’t know how to Mountain Bike” I said, looking around at all the mud-caked but somehow still shiny 29inch beauties hanging everywhere I looked. The great thing was though, that no one judged me. No one cared if I had a fancy pantsy bike and serious lack of any sort of biking ability. They cared about going out, breathing hard, getting dirty, sometimes bloody (although they didn’t tell me this when I went for my first ride) embracing nature, and riding, because it’s fun.
So on my second day, I loaded up ol’ turquoise and attempted to leave the paved path I was comfortable with. And let me tell you, I was so NOT comfortable. Every rock I tried to avoid I hit, “look ahead of you, you’ll miss them, trust me.” the guys would say. And eventually I did and they were right, I missed them. “Trust your bike!” they would say. And eventually I would. When I did hit the rocks my tires would roll over them and I didn’t crash like I thought I would. And eventually I rode without fear and bombed down the most amazing trails fast (well fast for me, I have yet to get bloody or catch any air under my wheels.)
A few weeks ago I ran into a girlfriend right at the bottom of the trailhead. She was heading up the hill for a hike and I slammed on my breaks and beamed at her. She looked at me and sort of cocked her head to one side and said “Susie, I have never seen you look this happy!” I didn’t even realize that I was grinning from ear to ear. Biking is fun. She was right. I was happy. My soul was free and I didn’t have a care in the world. I was a cyclist again. Not that I ever stopped being one; I was just a little rusty.