I am brand new to the world of road cycling. My only previous cycling experience involved me riding my Walmart mountain bike as a kid on family camping trips. It’s not that I ever had anything against cycling. I guess I was just never properly introduced, that is, until I started working for a cycling apparel company. From there, the cycling world opened up and I wanted to get to know it better. I figured it would help me in the workplace and I would be getting some exercise out of it too. But I’m not going to lie, road biking is intimidating when you’re first starting out, and it still intimidates me to a certain degree.
I knew I didn’t want to attempt it solo, so I convinced my husband to buy a bike with me. He had the same amount of experience, so at least we could learn together. And boy is there a lot to know. I was clueless when it came to bike lingo, I didn’t know a thing about bike mechanics, and never had I had I ever worn cycling apparel. I still have a lot to learn about these things, but luckily YouTube offers a buffet of instructional videos. We finally received our bikes and I bought some cycling shorts from work (Petunia bottoms – so comfy!), and we were ready to hit the road.
You would think for our first ride together, we should have taken it easy. Maybe a casual ride along the coast, in and around our neighborhood, or just some place with not a ton of traffic. But no, my dare devil of a husband wanted to ride up Rainbow Canyon Road. Rainbow Canyon is pure uphill, with hairpin turns, and speeding cars. Oh, and lots of potholes I came to find out. Before I ever thought of becoming a cyclist, I can remember driving that road in my car thinking, “I would never ride a bike on this.” But my husband was so confident it would be fine, and I thought maybe I was over exaggerating things in my head. So we did it anyway.
It started out okay, and then progressively got more and more difficult. My legs struggled to push through it. I was so scared of the cars that zoomed past me. I was trying to stay as far right as possible, but the road was so uneven and riddled with holes that I had to move over. I think the adrenaline from all my fear is what kept my legs going, because we actually made it all the way to the top without stopping! But then the downhill…Ten times more frightening than uphill in my opinion. Falling on a turn into oncoming traffic would be tragic. I had no other choice, but to take up the whole lane and go my own pace. My husband did the same. Cars were stacked up behind us by the time we got to the bottom, but we didn’t die! We rejoiced at the bottom, packed up our bikes and went on with the rest of our day.
This experience could have turned me away from cycling, but it actually did the opposite. If I could get through Rainbow Canyon, I could ride anything. The adrenaline rush was insane, and I felt so accomplished afterwards. The lesson I learned from this was to never let fear stop you from trying something new! You might just love it!