Newark, CA

Training for the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles AIDS/LifeCycle ride

-Ellie-

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Photo by Amar Puri

A few years ago I participated in Semi-annual Taco Day II ride which took place in Newark and was a lot easier than the last one, hopefully in part because of the hellish spin classes I’d been taking.

The ride was also different because it was my first time riding with clip-less pedals and cycling shoes. You have to insert the shoe into a slot in the clip and the two essentially lock together, which can be very helpful on a hill because an upward pulling motion is added to the usual pushing part of the rotation. When you have to stop the bike, you twist one foot out of the clip and just lean to that side.

Sounds easy, right? NO. If you don’t lean enough or apparently still can’t ride a bicycle, you will simply tip over on the other side, unable to do anything about it since your other foot is still clipped in. I fell five times. Five. Times. Four times on the same side of my body, twice in gravel when I was already bleeding. 

It was embarrassing. I’m used to being the youngest rider and the noob on these training rides, but skinning my knees/shins/everything didn’t hurt as bad as my ego did. When I fell the first time on the driveway before we started the ride, the other riders said, “There, you got it out of your system. Everybody falls.” But by the 4th time, some riders were saying, “Well, not everyone even does the ride with clip-less pedals…” Ah.  

Bright sides: the ride was absolutely beautiful and not too difficult or hilly. And at the end it was taco time! A pretty great motivation to finish the ride, I’d say. Some of the newer riders, myself included, got a coupon for a free bike fit, which I needed. Yay! It was also interesting hearing fundraising tips from someone who is raising $20,000 for the SF AIDS Foundation.

While I do think this is the kind of thing you get better at (not falling, yes), I have to start working on my pedal stroke and making the most of the full revolution for cycling shoes to even be worth the practice. Until then, I’ve got an ice pack on my pride.

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SF Bay Area (formerly OC) writer, mindfulness educator, and life coach. Passionate about public safety. Big fan of improv, funny lawn ornaments, and truthiness. IG: @bigsisterco | https://bigsister.co

Oakland, CA
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