My (Ridiculous) Night Biking Adventure

I should have known better. I called my mother and said “I’m going on a 14-mile bike ride after work.” She said “You’re going to die! ” about five times. I really should have listened!

My awesome roommate and I really don’t hang out enough, and she invited me on a night-bike ride with a co-worker and some other folks who get together on Friday afternoons and ride around White Rock Lake. The website they have said it was a social ride, and that it’s a leisurely pace, and I knew a 6-year-old was going to be involved, so I thought hey, I’ve done the Tour Dallas several times and loved it, and that’s 20, so 14 should be nothing. Well, apparently for these hard-core bikers, what ensued WAS a leisurely pace for them. But these are the kind of people who have $500 head lamps on their helmets, not my kind of leisurely. Sure, I have bike shorts and running socks, but I wear my boyfriend’s helmet and ride my roommate’s bike, so I’m most assuredly NOT in their category. I know this now.

Anyway, I huffed and puffed up the first hill (which I was told there was a bypass for, but none of the scouts remembered to tell anyone that – all of a sudden, there was just a hill that we were half-way up). I put my bike in the lowest gear and trudged up slowly, but I’ve been working for 12 straight 12-hour days and haven’t really been hydrating OR reading the headlines proclaiming record-setting heat this weekend, so I was just caught totally unprepared. Anyway, I got to the top, but I was starting to black out a little, so I got off the bike and sat down. I’m kind of a lazy exerciser, so I’m not used to getting to this point! I know it was over a hundred degrees, and this is a very advanced group of bikers, but I felt rather stupid having to stop after the first hill! My awesome roommate stayed with me and poured water on me (thanks Rebecca!) and told them to go on ahead (I had about 40 restless bikers about a hundred feet ahead, staring back at me – quite intimidating), and when my temperature went down and I drank a little water, I felt much better. Also, she switched bikes with me – I was riding her husband’s bike, which is way heavier than the one she was riding (which is actually the one I usually use, anyway). That helped.

We caught up with the group after a little while and bypassed the rest of the hills, and the sun started to fade over the water, and it was quite nice. Until the bugs came out en mass as the sun set. You had to keep your mouth closed so bugs wouldn’t fly in, and the rest of the bikers had plastic glasses on to avoid that, but we didn’t know, so we just kept making spitting noises and trying to avoid them the best we could. There were so many that it literally felt like raindrops. My allergies have been really bad this year, so breathing through my nose is not the easiest thing lately, so I kept having to use my hand to cover my mouth so I could breathe well, which made me swervy. I’m glad I didn’t fall off. Come to think of it, that was the only victory of the evening.

Then, of course, it was dark, and the bugs got worse, especially in those back areas we had to go through to bypass the hills. If you know me well, you know I’m quite clumsy, so between the darkness and having to keep my head down to avoid bugs in the eyes, I was at a real disadvantage when it came to potholes, cracks, and turns. The bike I was on had a light, but it really didn’t give off much, so unless the headlamp guy was in front of me, I couldn’t see much at all. I almost rode straight into a 8-foot-tall pile of rocks in a construction area, and only at the last second did I see that the trail made a jerky move around it. Okay, so that was victory #2. If you can call it that.

I had a great time talking to my roommate and her sister-in-law, because despite the fact that we live together, we really don’t get to hang out enough. And she was totally awesome to ride slower with me and make sure I was okay. But other than that, the evening was a complete disaster! The scouts of the group actually left a guy on the trail (the only person who was as slow than me!) who took a wrong turn (they found him an hour after we got back), so at least I wasn’t the major pitiful-biker story of the evening. I’ll take second place.

So anyway kids, the moral of the story is, drink lots of water this summer and for goodness sake, don’t go night biking without a really bright headlight and some goggles.

This is me on the Tour Dallas, a DAYTIME ride.

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