Girl Meets Bike

Raw Talk from a Newbie Cyclist: A Series

Forward – You know how when you decide to do something, you have this idea in your head of how it’s going to go? In your head things go smoothly. Everything’s easy peasy sunshine. But then there’s reality, and reality is much different. This series is one fabulous woman’s account of her very real, very funny foray into cycling.

Meet Melody Strayer who, along with her husband Chris, owns the area’s most creative, amazing, event company, Stray Productions. We met when Melody and Chris became our neighbors at Rock Lititz. We realized we LOVE Melody when she decided to give riding a whirl, and then posted about it on Facebook. She was hilarious. She was honest. She shed light on what it’s like to be a beginner in a sport that doesn’t really come with lots of instruction. While her writing is wildly entertaining, it’s also informative. We just knew you’d love it, so we asked her if we could post her stories here. Luckily, she said yes.

So here goes, chapters one and two of Melody’s (mis)adventures in cycling. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more!

Ride #1 

So this is me wiping sweat off my brow, and let me tell you why. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to ride my bike to work today. I blame this entirely on my new friendship with Rebecca Branle who’s always fresh and smiling and riding bikes like it’s child’s play. And listen, I know I’m fat. But I am not like “My 600 Lb. Life” fat. I don’t need someone else to bathe me or fetch me 4 meat lovers pizzas while I am laying in my reinforced bed watching reruns of the Ricki Lake show. For the love, I ran an entire marathon a few years ago. It is literally less than 3 miles from my house to the office.

But this is what happened: about 1/2 of the way here, I realized- hmmm, this is actually a little hillier than I imagined. No problem, surely one of these SIX WHOLE GEARS I have on my 10 year old $75 Walmart bike will help me scoot up these hills like Lance Freakin’ Armstrong. Turns out they really don’t. You guys, 2 miles into it I thought I might actually die. Some cute little girl in her spandex with flashing lights on her $3000 bike passed me and smilingly said, “Good morning!” Listen, lady, I CAN’T SPEAK RIGHT NOW. DO YOU SEE THIS HILL?! Ok fine, it’s like a little slope-invisible to the naked eye. But damnit, I see it. The sweat underneath my goodwill backpack containing my laptop and lunch ran down my back and into my underwear. Holy crap, I might actually have to stop and push my bike. No, there’s too many people who would witness my defeat. Must keep going. GOD, WHY AM I SO FAT?!?

I see the big black building that signifies my finish line. I cross the busy road without incident and coast down the paved parking lot and up the ramp beside our loading dock. I can’t go in like this, all trembly and half dead. I can hear the guys laughing at something on the other side of the door. I park my bike and wait until my breathing starts to return to normal. It doesn’t and I am going to be late, so I start to walk inside on my jelly legs, completely embarrassed that a 2.5 mile bike ride almost stopped my heart. My face is glistening and I am pretty certain my paraben-free coconut oil based deodorant has worn off. I struggle to open the door and push my bike inside. David sees my struggle and holds the door for me. Tyler, my new very favorite person in the universe exclaims, “Wow! You rode your bike all the way here?!” Yes Tyler, all two grueling, stupid, fat miles.

This is the dumbest idea I ever had in my entire life. And I STILL HAVE TO MAKE IT HOME. Somebody call an uber.

Ride #2

Remember last month when I tried to ride my 12 year old $80 Walmart bike 2 miles to work and I almost had a massive coronary attack?

So listen- everyone was super nice to me. You were all, “aww, exercise is hard. Keep at it, friend!” Or “that’s not sweat, it’s sparkle!”

But here’s the thing: I know what you were actually thinking. What you WANTED to say was something like, “for the love, fatty can’t even bike 2 miles. This is exactly the reason my healthcare isn’t affordable, cause I have to pay for this heifer’s blood pressure meds and diabetic socks.” It was really not nice of you to think that, and it wounded me deeply. God makes people in all sizes, asshole.

But YOU GUYS WERE ALL WRONG ABOUT ME. Hey, I’m fat- but it totally wasn’t my fatness that was the problem. Or at least not the WHOLE PROBLEM. It was my bike. And I am not even lying about that. I bought this bike* from my friends at Lititz Bikeworks and I rode 20 miles this morning and I didn’t even have to call my husband crying to pick me up.

I would like a public apology from all you skinny people who were judging me in your non-coronary-plaqued heart. Fat people have feelings too.

Now if you’ll excuse me while I stock my brand new orange pannier bag with some snacks…

*Melody bought a Fuji Absolute 1.9. It’s a flat bar road bike (or a fitness/hybrid bike) that’s perfect for road and packed gravel trails. She also bought a super cool orange pannier bag that’s perfect for carrying snacks (and laptops, if that’s your thing).

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