On Sunday I drove a car by myself for the first time in my life. It was exhilarating! It was scary!
We just started doing back-to-back training (bike) rides on Saturdays and Sundays, as we prepare for our mid-August, two-day, 188-mile event — and I’d found that BART didn’t leave from Berkeley early enough on Sunday morning.
So, with Sara out of town, I was in the position of having to self-drive myself to Pleasanton (about 45 minutes away).
I put on the bike rack, secured my bike to it, and started on my journey, following the loud instructions of the Lady in My Phone. A few minutes into my drive, I found myself, confusingly, in the middle of the street surrounded by temporary barriers. An older, African American man knocked on my car window, and I rolled it down (feeling great pride in my having pressed the right button, mixed with embarrassment that I’d obviously done something wrong). “We’re setting up for our Juneteenth celebration,” he explained. “This is the one day of the year you can’t drive through here!”
I said, “May I just say two things?”
“One,” I said, “this is my very first time driving a car by myself. And two, wow, do we need a Juneteenth celebration this year!!”
He smiled and moved a barrier so I could drive through.
I followed the Lady’s directions and — amazingly — ended up at the correct parking lot in Pleasanton. I pulled into a parking spot under a tree, put the car in park, turned it off, and got out. I think my legs were shaking. I was elated and relieved — and then I remembered that I still had a challenging bike ride ahead.
The ride went pretty much okay. Below I’m posting click-on-able maps of both of my rides last weekend. I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with my blog reports on my weekly training rides! I was kidnapped by my own brain and held hostage for several months — but now I’m back. (I have done all the training rides.)
After Sunday’s bike ride, I realized that — for the first time — I could change into dry clothes after the ride … since I’d arrived in a car, rather than (as before) just on my bike. It felt quite civilized to change — kind of like a grown-up. I drove back home without incident (other than many internal thoughts of wild surmise, ecstasy, and, finally, relief).
In the couple of days since then, I’ve started to look around at the other adult-aged people in the world with the feeling that, just maybe, I might indeed belong to their tribe.
Perhaps this coming weekend (with Sara still away) I will drive myself to a ride or two again. One of them may involve parallel parking, which I don’t yet know how to do. (I’m Googling it.)
If you’d like to donate towards my big ride this season — 188 miles from Seattle, Wash., to Vancouver, B.C., on Aug. 15 & 16 (no car-driving involved!) — just click here.