I’m an Oklahoma anomaly in many ways beyond my meat-shunning. One of them is my distaste for sports. Nearly every Okie has a favorite team of some kind, and even the mostly indifferent root for either the Sooners or the Cowboys (or occasionally the Golden Hurricane, but that makes even me giggle). I do not. I actively do not care. For the most part, I cannot stand watching sports. Somehow I hooked up with an amazing guy who also can’t stand them. He’s a former football player, and I once waved a pair of pom pons, but that’s an image for another time.
Despite this fact, between the ages of 4 and 17, I managed to participate in six different physical activities: gymnastics/acrobatics (briefly), swimming, soccer, cheerleading, dance (ballet, tap, jazz), and basketball (yes, I’m 5’3″). In that time, I did all the normal kid things, too, including bike riding, trampolining, and being a spaz. Upon entering college and engaging fully in dorm life, my desire for movement of any kind dissipated. Sure, I made some half-assed attempts at working out, but mostly, I studied, ate, and played Set with my fellow nerdy/awesome friends. I gained and I lost weight intermittently, and I still managed to graduate at a healthy size.
Now as a 20-something, health has become a major interest of mine. I read lots of books on it, constantly try to eat well, and enjoy the weight loss that has accompanied my almost squeaky-clean lifestyle. My one sticky area, however, remains fitness. I thrive on routine, but building one is proving difficult. Knowing my own limitations, I try to surround myself with a large of variety of fitness opportunities. I take the stairs up to and down from my fourth-floor (windowless, cavelike, meat locker) office; I try to make a weekly yoga class; once or twice a week, I slip into the gym.
As part of this routine-less routine, earlier this summer, I bought a bike from the Saturday Flea Market. His name is Marcello:
Isn’t he a sexy beast? Born in 1966, he made all my vintage-bicycle dreams come true. And at $75, it was meant to be. I couldn’t wait to ride him around all the time. I even bought some accessories:
Helmet, bell, basket, and mirror (that came with him). Check out the decidedly non-vintage spinny bell:
My Oklahomie readers know where this ambitious story is going. We had a brutal winter by our standards this year (including snow in March, what?!), so that meant the summer needed to compensate by melting our skin for two months. Marcello and I got very little one-one-one time (mostly me on him, though I won’t deny the reciprocity) before the sun took up residence in my town. We had nearly a month of above-100 temperatures and the brutal Great Plains humidity that accompanied it. Marcello sat sadly, lonely, in the spare room/office/craft space/general storage area.
I woke yesterday to discover a gorgeous 75 degrees outside, so I dusted off my blue baby and went on the longest ride of my adult life: roughly 3.5 miles. It felt great! It felt awesome! I sweated and smiled and mostly ignored the pain in my rear end. In fact, I got so ambitious as to declare that I would ride him all the way to the Cherry Street Farmers Market — my Saturday morning destination — today. It’s about a 6-mile trip there and back. I figured if I could pedal 3.5 miles yesterday in one shot, I could certainly do 3, take a break, and then do another 3. So what if I’d never done it before? Never even ridden with anything more than my keyring in the basket? I was up to the challenge.
And you know what? I did it. I did it. I can’t freaking believe it. I may have walked the last four blocks of the trip out (the hills on 15th will kill you, especially if your bike has only one speed), but I didn’t break down and call a cab as I feared/prepared for. The reward: 172 calories burned, +10,000 confidence points, and a bag of tasty, local produce. Here’s the spread:
In a basket.
On my self-healing cutting mat. Yum.
Grapes (more in the bag – for my mom), basil, chives.
(Blurry) new potatoes and green beans (my favorites).
(Slightly less blurry) cherry tomatoes.
I will share what I make with the goodies soon.
How did I feel after my accomplishment?
Sweaty, mostly, and proud — but not prideful. Would you like further proof that I have no actual pride or dignity? This is what a helmet does to unwashed, super-fine hair, bobby pins be damned:
SEX-AY. You’re welcome.
And in case you’re interested, I had my Nano on shuffle, so this was my ridin’ dirty play list:
- Train — “Free”
- The Rolling Stones — “I Just Want to See His Face”
- Vampire Weekend — “Horchata”
- Ben Folds Five — “Brick”
- Fiona Apple — “Get Him Back”
- Taylor Swift — “You’re Not Sorry”
- David Bowie — “Young Americans”
- Busta Rhymes feat. Rampage — “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check”
- Iron & Wine — “Sodom, South Georgia”
- Portishead — “Mysterons”
- Peter Gabriel — “Secret World”