Sunday, April 18, 2010

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Alright, well I'm not "old" but I am pretty set in my ways of running and swimming a lot with few diversions. Today was a day of "new things" for me and I'm happy to report that it turned out really, really well. In fact, I feel fantastic tonight.

After many self-induced delays, I hopped on the train and moseyed over to Toga Bike shop on West End Ave and 65th St to pick out some new bike shoes. Being a newb and all I had purchased road shoes and mountain pedals which are a slippery combination for a beginner. I felt like the guy showed me a really expensive shoe that looked pretty and a really ugly shoe for less, knowing that I'd have to choose the nicer one. I was determined to get out today so I sucked it up and shelled out the extra cash and got a nice lil pair of Specialized Motodivas. They feel nice, though I'm sad to say they aren't as shiny as the Diadoras I had originally. :) Yep, I care about the color.

I got back home and suited up in my most ridiculous outfit because thats what cyclists do, and I headed out to join some fellow neighborhood tweeters in Inwood Hill Park for some hula hooping! I walked the bike probably .25 mi to the greenway because I'm a scaredy cat and from my apt to the greenway is a really steep downhill! That was not a good place to test out the new shoes and clip in. Once I got to the greenway however, I clipped right in like a pro and just started riding! I practiced clipping out a few times along the greenway to make sure I had the hang of it, and I felt great! Wow, this was turning out to be kind of fun! As I hit Riverside at the far northern end of the greenway (yep, it just ends) I turned onto the actual NYC streets and repeated in my head "clip out or wipe out" so I didn't get too comfortable riding along and fall over upon stopping. I know the area there so well because I run there regularly and I think that eased some of my anxiety. I rode along Dyckman St and turned up hilly Seamann Ave but didn't have quite enough confidence or gusto to go from a dead stop to uphill so I walked the bike just a little way to the top of the hill. I rode Seamann Ave north past Cumming (Yep, intersection of Seamann and Cumming St) and probably had a big goofy grin on my face because I was having so much fun!

I joined the Inwood Hoopers for some fun and silly hooping in Inwood Hill Park which I haven't done in MANY years! I remembered being awful at hooping as a kid so I was expecting to be sucktastic, but I surprised myself and kept the hoop up for minutes at a time! Wow! It was a blast to see so many neighborhood tweeters brought together for an afternoon in the park for a good cause! Ryan, the son of a neighborhood blogger/tweeter ZG, is selling hoops to raise money for tuition to Berklee Music School camp this summer. You can purchase a personalized hoop on their website, I tried a few out today and they are SWEET!

Sadly, I couldn't hoop all night because life and work-week prep were calling, so I hopped back on my white stallion and made my way home. Since most of my ride there was downhill, the ride home included many uphill sections, right from the very start. I hopped out of the saddle and pumped my way up the hill before I even realized what I was doing! That was really exhilarating to be puffing my way up a hill that I can run without batting an eyelash. I felt even more confident on the ride home and was able to ride in the actual car lane for much of the ride because the streets were quiet and I felt safer because I'm petrified of being hit by a car door opening. I cruised my way back to Riverside and onto the greenway where I played with the gears to find what felt right and was able to pick up some speed without being scared of hitting a bump and dying. With the sun toying with the idea of setting to my right and the wind in my face, I cruised along my usual path with much more speed than ever before and all I could think was "this is so exciting!" I unclipped and walked my bike up and over the overpass that crosses the West Side highway at 181st St because it is quite windy and narrow. I snapped a photo of the GWB in its pre-sunset glory there before walking my bike for a while up the 181st hill (which I normally run so that was tough to swallow) and was heckled by a man leaving a kid's birthday party, he said, "you're not going to let this hill stop you, are ya?!"Argh! I smiled and told him I'm a newbie and don't care for the scary traffic on 181st (it's like Panama city on that street). I did however cruise on up the hills of Cabrini Blvd which was so fun that I decided to keep going and looped all of the way up to Fort Tryon Park before cruising on home. The only word I can use to describe it was FUN. I really enjoyed my new adventure, it was a really different way to see the city, totally different than running and walking or riding in a bus or car and totally different to be moving so fast in the open air.

So it was a successful day in the end... I rode without falling or getting run over by a bus or hit by a door, I kept a hula hoop up WAY longer than I expected, and I CANT WAIT to bike again soon. Goodnight all, thanks for being such a great community of runners, swimmers, bikers, hoopers and friends.


  1. Sounds really awesome Aimster. Your going to be cycling all over the city before you know it!!!! WORD!!!

    And you such a happy hooper!!!!!

  2. Yay for new tricks! Glad it was a good ride. Nice seeing you at hoop jam!

  3. Nice hooping and riding! You're getting good at that cycling gig! It gives me hope I can be like you one day in the distant future!

  4. good~ keep sharing with us, please....I will waiting your up date everyday!! Have a nice day........................................