Girl Meets Bike

Melody’s Going Road…

So I bought a road bike yesterday. I get that I just bought a hybrid from Lititz Bikeworks a couple of months ago. I get that this makes me look spoiled and indulged and all of those other unseemly adjectives, and yes, that would be an accurate assessment of me. But listen, when I bought that bike, I told Rob that I wanted it to commute to work and to ride on the rail trail with my kids and that was about it. My hybrid is PERFECT for that. Seriously, I love it so much. But as I started riding longer distances– 30 or 40 miles, I realized that there’s a pretty big difference between a hybrid and a road bike. So I cajoled and whined and begged my husband until he finally said, “Fine, do whatever you want.” To which I replied, “K, bye!” (I’m an a real peach to be married to, in case you were wondering. Or wait, maybe he said “bitch”? I might have misheard.)

(Reluctant) permission procured, I scooted down to “my” bike shop and proceeded to ask 4984528440584058 questions. I messaged Rebecca at 1:30 in the morning with really important queries like, “WHAT ABOUT MY VAGINA?” (She might have more information about my inner workings than my gynecologist, FYI. You’re welcome, Rebecca. Also, I’m sorry.) They let me try out different bikes and taught me terms like “brifter” and “stem” and “hydraulic brakes”, which I now casually throw into conversation whenever possible. I’m super subtle about this– you know, like: “I really like your brifters” and stuff like that. Smooth. I went back and forth with buying something entry level versus buying something with a few more upgrades. I didn’t want to find myself in another 3 months asking Chris to let me buy another bike. (For the record, I have already been told that his name is no, his sign is no. Nah to the ah to the no, no, no.) In the end, Bikeworks was able to give me a really nice bike with some upgrades (like a carbon frame and hydraulic disc-brakes– apparently these are all good but don’t ask me) but because it was a leftover model from 2016, I was able to get it at a much lower price point. It’s from German manufacturer Focus, and the model is Donna– which is just about the most un-German sounding name I can think of. I am currently accepting suggestions for a more culturally appropriate name for this bike. (Frida? Gisa? Gretel von Trappensburg? Jury’s out.)

So I brought Frau Elfriede home last night and took it out for about 24 miles. Here’s my assessment so far: I LOVE IT AND IT’S AMAZING. Also EVERYTHING HURTS AND I WANT TO DIE. The good: it’s quite a bit faster than my hybrid, all without seeming to exert any more energy. I shaved more than 30 minutes off my last 24 mile time, which is pretty amazing to me. The hydraulic brakes are wonderful, and the bike is seriously lighter than a tiny newborn kitten.

But then something happened, or a few somethings. I went from flying along at 25 MPH (which for me, is really fast), all “I’m flying, Jack! I’m flying!!” to practically keeled over on the side of the road feeling like I might actually vomit. Apparently it isn’t quite as effortless as it felt. I have a theory that, in this new leaned over position, my gut is pushing on all my organs and my spleen or something is fighting back because it can’t breathe. Before you say, “Stop! You’re beautiful! You don’t have a gut!”– girl, I never said I wasn’t beautiful, and I DO have a gut. Actually, I think given the position of the body on a road bike, the vast majority of women have a little gut. (Or in my case, a bigger, spleen-killer of a gut.) I don’t know, it’s just a theory at this point. Also, I think I am doing something wrong in the vaginal department. Cause listen, this bike seat is longer and skinnier than my hybrid, and despite repeating my yoga mantra of “engage the sits bones” 73 times, I feel like all 100-and-a-lot lbs. of my body was smooshing right onto my lady bits. And hey, the anatomy of a woman can take a beating (hello childbirth), but this might have been pushing it. Also, by the end of the ride, my neck and shoulders felt like they were going to break off. In fact, I was willing them to break off, God in Your infinite mercy, let it be so. After reading and talking to my bike shop people, we are going to make a few tweaks to the bike, and I’ll also focus on riding in a more relaxed, less squinched-up posture (technical term).

In closing, I take back what I said about bikers not being friendly. The reason they can only manage a nod or a two finger-ed baby-sized wave is because they are just concentrating really, super hard on not vomiting and also on encouraging oxidation to their spleen. I understand and I ain’t mad at you.