bikes and tights and freedom

Posted: February 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

Yesterday was a rare thing:  G and I both had the day off and neither of us had any meetings, appointments, or other demands on our time.  It gets very long between such days; this one felt like getting out of jail or something.

We used part of our free day to get out for a bike ride.  G  unhooked Wilma from the bike trainer for me and hauled her up out of the basement.  We scrounged up the bake rack for the car, which I was pretty sure I had thrown away last fall, having decided the straps might be getting old enough that we should probably replace it.  Yay for having the good sense not to toss it until  a new one is in hand!

I’ve wanted to show G the Duck Creek Bike Path since we were first dating.  Somehow it never worked out – we’ve ridden all the other local bike paths together, but that one just kept not happening.  So we loaded up and headed out for Davenport.

It was a pretty short ride – I think we were out there for only about 90 minutes.  It was a humbling ride for me, demonstrating to me how far out of shape I am currently as compared to back when the Duck Creek path was part of my regular regimen.  The incline of some minor little bridge that has never even come close to stopping me before defeated me, and I had to get off and push my bike to get to the top.  Based on my lack of stamina and strength, we avoided all the best hills on the path, just riding basically the easy section.  I decided right away as I was pushing my bike up that little incline not to be discouraged, but just to mark this as where I am today, and aim for getting better til I’m back to conquering things I see as “real” challenges.

Even with that very small difficulty – MAN it was good to be back out there on the bike!  The day was beautiful.  The fresh air and sunshine were medicine for me as they always are – I woke up this morning feeling better than I’ve felt since I can’t remember when.  The folks we met along the way were the smiling-and-saying-hi sort, which has always been one of my favorite things about the Duck Creek path – along the other QC paths, people are much more likely to ride on by like I’m invisible or something as I smile and call out good-morning to them.

There’s always the question of what to wear when I bike.  Yesterday morning was chilly enough to call for some thought on that.  In the end I found an old long-sleeved running shirt to wear under a giant hoodie with a scarf and gloves – and my winter-weight running tights.

This was a first for me – though they are so comfortable and the compression feels so good that I love to wear them at home and/or under my dress pants all winter long, I have never worn my running tights outside of my house without something else over them.  That’s because I’ve been deeply ashamed of my thighs since I was 11 years old and weighing all of 96 pounds but already suffering cellulite and the unfortunate rubbing together of the tops my thighs where one is supposed to have a “thigh gap.”  Also I’ve definitely heard the chorus of voices both in my head and out there in the world that like to talk about what people shouldn’t wear, shouldn’t be seen in – “No one needs to see that,” and other such unkind sentiments.

Pretty much everything else I wear for biking hikes up as I pedal, so that the bottoms of my pant legs are up around my knees fairly quickly, and each time I stop for a drink break I have to carefully pull them back down, and really that can’t look a bit better than tights, can it?   Anyway, this wasn’t about looks.  That wasn’t the point.

I felt wildly rebellious walking out the door in my tights – I may have sent my daughter a text telling the voices of condemnation what they could do with themselves using my favorite colorful word.  I gotta give credit where credit is due – that book I am reading has done a nice job of getting me started on talking back to the ugly, condemning voice of my own body hatred and starting to put it in its place instead of letting it be in charge.  Oh, I wouldn’t say I’m at “freedom” on this point by any stretch of the imagination, but the decision to work toward appreciating my body at its current weight and fitness level and not withholding that for some later day when I look the way I think I am supposed to look – it’s been a good decision thus far.

The tights worked out great.  They looked especially ridiculous because I was wearing my chamois shorts under them, but I opted to disregard that fact and just enjoy how they felt and how they worked.  They didn’t hike up even a tiny bit.  There was no worry about them getting caught in the chain – something that’s happened more than once with my looser clothing.  They were so comfortable for riding.  The compression helped too, I think.  I’m pretty sure I’ve just established my new normal for what I wear for biking, and anybody that feels like they shouldn’t have to see that – well, they are cordially invited to look away (see, that’s nicer than the f-bomb, right)?

Pressing on toward freedom.

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