Bi­cy­cle dis­as­ter

Sackville Tribune - - OP-ED - Steve Bartlett The Deep End Steve Bartlett is an ed­i­tor with Saltwire Net­work. He dives into the Deep End Mon­days to es­cape re­al­ity and his se­ri­ous need to ex­er­cise. Reach him at sbartlett@thetele­

You never for­get how to ride a bike, they say.

It’s funny, “they” never re­mind you how bleepin’ hard it is to ride up a steep hill.

A moun­tain bike has been on the wish list since April 1993, the end of my care­free univer­sity days and the begin­ning of ef­forts to pay off a $1,343,234,123.03 stu­dent loan.

It’s a pur­chase that was never made be­cause other things took pri­or­ity, like pay­ing off said loan and grown-up things like cars, mort­gages and craft beer.

Each spring, the Cana­dian Tire flyer in­cludes a re­minder of my moun­tain bike fan­tasy when it plugs sweet deals on two wheels.

The sight of those Su­per­cy­cles al­ways makes me hum a Queen song: “I want to ride my bi­cy­cle, I want to ride my bike.”

On Fa­ther’s Day, my wife made that pos­si­ble by ty­ing some rib­bons around a moun­tain bike and plac­ing it in the drive­way.

It was an awe­some, un­ex­pected sur­prise.

On Fri­day evening, after a busy work week, it seemed like a great idea to un­wind by tak­ing the bike for a long spin on the old rail bed just up the hill from our home.

My wife, who bikes there a fair bit, ad­vised me it’s a bit of a push to get up the hill to the track but added that she has no prob­lem do­ing it.

I didn’t ex­pect any trou­bles ei­ther.

But just 100 feet up the hill from our house, my quads were quak­ing and des­tined to det­o­nate.

Se­ri­ous mus­cle da­m­age was likely a few ped­als away and push­ing through wasn’t op­tion.

And, as if the sit­u­a­tion couldn’t be­come more crit­i­cal, “RRIIIPPPP!”

My shorts tore open.

I hope the neigh­bours weren’t watch­ing or record­ing on their iphones.

It was time to abort the mis­sion of rid­ing on the old track. But I couldn’t re­turn home 60 sec­onds into my first bike ride since the Mul­roney gov­ern­ment.

I de­cided to cruise qui­etly down­hill past the house and find a flat stretch of road.

Thank­fully my wife didn’t see or hear me speeding by.

Imag­ine her rib­bing if she did: “Steve, your seven-year-old son can do that hill” ... “Do you want me to put the bike in the clas­si­fieds now?”... “I should get a baby car­rier and you can ride on the back with me.”

Within a few min­utes, I was en­joy­ing a spin down a flat street.

Fi­nally, the feel­ing I’d been wait­ing for – the fresh air ... the free­dom ... the ... “OUCH!” ... the freakin’ pain!

There’s some­thing else “they” don’t re­mind you about – how much your butt hurts after an ex­tended pe­riod of time on a bike seat.


Be­tween my throb­bing thighs, torn trunks and aching as­set, this decades old dream was a dis­as­ter.

It was time to wave the white flag and walk the bike back home, a 20-minute hike that felt longer than a ro­man­tic com­edy star­ring Ryan Gosling.

Around the cor­ner from home, to save face, I got back on, ped­alled into our drive­way, col­lapsed on the couch, and won­dered if there were any Adiron­dack chairs on sale in this week’s flyers.

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