by Dan Gibson
True story (unfortunately): Two weeks ago, when I got on a bike for the first time after a six- or seven-year hiatus, two teenage girls in my neighborhood laughed at me from their porch.
Wait, that's not even really the full truth. They came out of their house, presumably after seeing me struggle with even basic gear changes and the art of balance on the street in front of their window, then they laughed at me. They didn't even really make much of an effort to hide it.
Hey, it probably was funny, so how mad can I be? At the time, mad enough to try to appear casual while pedaling away from them, but now that a week and a half have passed, it's not a big deal. I probably do look sort of hilarious on the bike, considering I'm significantly overweight and suck at bicycling.
So, why the heck is a guy who generally dislikes physical activity as much he loves carne asada burritos for lunch and spends all day sitting at a desk staring at a computer on a bicycle to begin with? A good question and one I've been asking myself every time I try to ride a few miles on that infernal thing, but since my wife works at the local nonprofit Tu Nidito and one of their biggest fundraisers each year is El Tour de Tucson, I'm going to ride 42 miles as the slowest person in a pack with half of Southern Arizona. This might be the last thing I ever do, but hey, if I can raise some money for a program that helps grieving kids in the area, it seems worth pushing myself a bit.
While I struggle to push myself to a distance of ten miles this weekend (and try to block out my mind the fact that I still am, at my best, still less than a quarter of a way to the distance I'll be riding in November), at least, I can think of Aaliyah, the kid that I'm "riding" for and how Tu Nidito helped her when she lost an older brother. What she's gone through is a lot harder than some fat guy trying to ride a bike 42 miles by far.