A Love Letter to Bike 37 (& a Note About Our Eventual Breakup)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Class registration opens at noon every Monday for the next week's classes, & there I am, ready to sign up within those first few minutes. I've even added a note to my Outlook calendar: "REGISTER FOR CYCLING CLASSES."

It's not because I am so committed to cycling (not yet, anyway) but because if I'm going to go to cycling classes, I need bike 37. I took bike 36 once, & that was fine-ish - but what I really want is bike 37.

Bike 37 is in the back, in the dark. It's so dark back there that I almost can't see the gauges on the bike to be sure I'm setting it to the right specifications. It's so dark that I can barely see myself in the mirror next to me, were I to look (which I try not to). It's next to the fan. And it's so far back, set in the very right-hand corner of the room, that I have a perfect view of the rest of the class - of the instructor up front but also of the more experienced riders all around me.

They're the ones who can "up & out" when the instructors calls on us to, raising their butts off the seats. They're the ones who can do push-ups from the handlebars while they're up & out. They're the ones who can keep the beat & stay with the pace & follow the choreography. And some of them are the ones who leave class hardly looking like they've broken a sweat.

Me? I can't keep up. Not even close. And I always, always leave class looking like I used a full compact of blush across my face. It takes hours for my regular complexion to return.

I choose bike 37 because I can see everyone, but no one can see me. I choose bike 37 because it feels like the only safe space in the room for someone like me, someone who isn't there yet - & who might not be there, wherever there is, any time soon. I choose bike 37 so I can try my best to keep up but fail without anyone's eyes on me.

And I choose bike 37 because someday, I won't need bike 37 anymore.

Someday, I'll move up a row. Maybe I'll move closer to the center. I don't have any grand delusions of being a front-row person, not ever, but I know that I'll get closer, someday, than bike 37, which is as far away & as closed-off as humanly possible.

Someday, I won't choose bike 37. And when that day comes, I promise to look to the back - but casually, because I know that whoever's back there doesn't really want to be seen - & to give a little smile, a little "You won't always be on bike 37" nod to that girl, whoever she is. In solidarity.

I choose bike 37 because it's the safest place for me right now. And because when it finally feels like I don't need that safe place anymore? Well, that's how I'm measuring my own success.

Bring it on, bike 37. I love you, but please just know: This is not going to be a long-term relationship. I intend to make sure of it.

1 comment:

Shibani said...

I love this post. And you’re right - you won’t need it, and that day will come sooner thank you think ❤️

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