The Bike Test

In my 2009 year in review post, I said the following: “Stay tuned for stories of me falling on my bike. I’ve also decided that all romantic suitors should go through a “bike test” to see how patient and kind they are (they need to be if they’re biking with me), so there might be some hysterical stories there.”

Ugh.

I hate when I’m right.

So I’ve been casually dating a guy who just happens to be an avid cyclist. Did his first century when he was like 13 (he wanted pizza in another town) and does the Dirty Dozen (a bike race up 13 of Pittsburgh’s steepest hills, including cobblestones and a brutal 38% grade) a few times a season for fun.

Back in January when he said something to the effect of “We should go for a bike ride this spring” I agreed, not paying too much attention, since we were in the very early stages of dating and lots can happen. Yeah, well, turns out I really like smart people (he’s a Ph.D.), who are nice (he got me these flowers last week and brought me dinner when I was laid out from my ER visit), athletic (see above re: Dirty Dozen) and have super cute dogs, so he stuck around until now when he again invited me to go on a bike ride.

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I try to tell him how bad I am on a bike.

I tell him how I fell into Lucas on our ride last fall. His response was that if Lucas was as good of a cyclist as I talked him up to be then he’s probably had people fall into him before.

I tell him that I fall more often than not. He tells me we can work on drills.

I tell him I’m scared of riding on the roads. He tells me he knows some quiet routes and if we want, we can drive to them to bypass the city traffic where we live.

There is no scaring this man off. I start to question whether a Ph.D. is an indication of intelligence, because I’m pretty sure any smart man would have run for the hills by now (oh yeah, he runs, too. Probably up Canton Ave. For fun).

So we go for a bike ride. He’s accommodating to some odd requests I have about where to start. He points out some things about my form kindly enough that my incredibly vulnerable bike self doesn’t feel exposed, but instead hopeful that there is someone who can help me get better. He doesn’t show off or speed ahead. I’m actually having a really great time until I pull a Kat. I go to make a turn from the road into a parking lot; I didn’t notice some gravel and my tire slid out and I wrecked. I didn’t fall hard but the gravel shredded me. I got up to see little rivers of blood pouring out of a cut in my hand, dripping off my fingertips onto my bike and everywhere. I am one of the least squeamish girls I know and I am horrified to hear myself squeak “Ewww. Ewww. I’m really bleeding. Gross.” shaking my hand for emphasis, which only sprays dripping blood. Gross. I couldn’t have put this poor man through a better test of kindness and tolerance if I would have tried.I promise I wasn’t trying.

He gets my bike out of the road and grabs some water to wash out my wound and manages to stop the bleeding. I stop a convertible to see if they have any first aid supplies which they thankfully do; the woman who helped me was so nice. Once I realize my bike and I are in more pieces than not we continue on our ride. He asks to stop at REI which is on our way home and while I watch our bikes he gets me a first aid kit! Too nice, really. While we were stopped, we took a break at Hoffbrauhaus to grab some pretzels on their deck that overlooks the water.

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Mmmmm.

So he totally passed the bike test; he proved himself to be patient and kind. After what I felt like I was an enormous fiasco I was pretty sure I’d done a good job of scaring him off. Really, avid cyclists don’t want to date girls who can’t ride a bike. Maybe this one likes projects because this morning we took his dog to the dog park, hit up brunch and he happened to mention that he thinks we’ll be able to get me more comfortable on a bike this summer. Which I think means he’s willing to ride again. Which means you should stay tuned for more mishaps!

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