Cynthia McKinney: ‘How my first day of bike training trained me’

Found at OnTheWilderSide. By Cynthia McKinney.

Well, I do want as many of you as possible to participate in some way in our cross-country bike for peace. Some of you will ride, some of you will support, some of you will pray/chant/meditate for us and keep the positive vibrations with us while our core group is out there on the road. Well, if my first foray into training is any indication, we’re–or more specifically–I’M–going to need all you have to share.

I’ll start with the weather–a great day for a ride, although it started a bit cold, so I waited for the temperature to rise a bit. It did and so I got ready for a great ride. It went downhill from here.

I studiously bought all of the appurtenances of cycling: fancy bike rack for the car and since I have a girl’s bike, the bar that fits across the bike to keep it on the rack; the camelback; the heart rate monitor; had my bike tuned up at the local bike store; had all the latest gadgets put on it, etc. It was too cold for my special bike shirt–of which I’ll have to purchase quite a few more ’cause I can’t imagine wearing the same one for two months!!–and why are they so expensive? So I wore my regular clothes in layers.
Unfortunately, it took me a while to figure out how to take the bike bar off the bike. Well, I should’ve known it was not going to be so smooth. I bought a fancy TREK cycle ops so I could practice-ride indoors and I NEVER got that contraption to work, so that’s why this was my FIRST training session for the big ride. The cycle ops is still in my bedroom waiting for me to load it up, take it to the bike store, and maybe THEY can put the darn thing together.

Then, the camelback was so complicated, I chucked it for a regular plain old water bottle which kept getting caught in my unstrapped pantsleg, along with the fancy airpump lodged just above it. Even though the heart rate monitor was brand new, it didn’t work, so I pulled out my instructions, read them carefully, and figured it must be a dead battery. Now, I’m on my way to the store to get a battery. The fancy odometer/timer/speedometer was the next fiasco. I think I finally got it programmed after I completed the ride!! Hey, I thought the bike store would make sure all the settings were right!!! So, I pulled on my new biking gloves and by this time was ready to actually get on the bike.

Then came the mapping fiasco–since the bridge was out and I had to take a detour. I had studiously chosen to “cheat” a little bit by selecting a route that was relatively flat. That was a good thing. However, the detour was anything but flat!! I found myself rather quickly calling on the Ancestors for help to get up the first hill. By the third hill, very long and very steep, I decided that I needed to retry this in the morning, taking into account the detour, and come up with another route. How am I going to cross the Sierra Nevada if I can’t make it up a hill?? For the documentarians, this might turn into a comedy as well as an adventure! On the real ride, I know I’ll have great moral support, experienced yet considerate riders, plus the mapping has already been done. You can see the route here, including rest stops and everything:

My first outing fiasco was compounded by “bicycle unfriendly,” plus too much, traffic. Tomorrow morning, I will try again. New route, new battery in my heart rate monitor, odometer/speedometer settings all correct, appropriately layered clothing, tires filled with the right amount of air, and the will to make it to my destination this time.

Stay tuned. This promises to be a doozy!! And anyone who wants to ride with us, put the riders up overnight, make a donation to support our project plus the videographers who will be with us, please just let me know. I’ll be doing updates regularly of my trainings and you’ll be able to mark my progress as well as our progress along the route. It promises to be great fun, especially if we can keep our sense of humor. Hey, with me on this ride, we’re going to need it.

So, now I queue up the Young Rascals, “It’s a Beautiful Morning,” in my iTunes playlist and anticipate my full ride tomorrow. I almost can’t wait!! I hope you will enjoy this adventure with me and your suggestions are most certainly welcome!!

Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

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