“Did you bring your padded bike shorts?” My uncle asked as he was giving us the rundown of how we were about to spend our Saturday morning. “No.” No, of course we hadn’t brought our padded bike shorts because we don’t own padded bike shorts. We had driven down to Austin to escape our small apartment for the weekend and spend some quality time with my aunt and uncle.
My uncle was so excited to take us ‘trail biking’ that he had even rented Bryan a serious bike. Serious in that it retailed for over $3,600 sans pedals. I, on the other hand, was going to try to use an older model they had in their garage, even though it weighed about as much as both my uncle and Bryan’s bikes combined (or so I was told). I also didn’t have the luxury of extending my legs fully without risking a seat-displacing incident, something I decided could only end badly upon further review. We drove about twenty minutes to a trail park. When we pulled in, the whole lot was full of spandex bike suits with logos and matching gear. I asked if I had to wear a helmet and my uncle laughed. I didn’t see the humor in it since I figured we’d be casually winding our way through some forested path.
As it turns out, the no bike-shorts thing really counted for something. The bike trails were a mixing maze of single-paths (think 1.5 feet wide) that first challenged me with the delicate task of not hooking my handlebars on the encroaching trees. Trying to keep up with my uncle on the uneven terrain, I did my best to keep my wheels along the smoothest patches possible. In doing so, I almost chipped my left foot off two or more times leaving it on the southbound petal and- while missing the tree stump with my bike wheel- I would catch the whole stump with my left ankle bone. About five minutes into our two and a half hour no-turning-back-because-there’s-only-one-direction-ride, I had scrapes, preliminary bruise foundations, raw-rubbed palms, and a behind that was starting to feel it’s fair share of bumps. To say that we encountered BMX-styled drops and hills is an understatement to me. I was instructed that before these nearly fifteen foot drops that were at best equivalent to a 70 degree angle, I was to lean back on the bike and sit low- almost over my back tire. I was also never to use the front brake, or I would find myself in the ER. I kept thinking that I didn’t have good enough health insurance for this spectacle. And the mere fact that I could press the wrong brake and end this journey was too much on my conscience, let alone riding on a giant trike. So, I would let my uncle cruise on up ahead, leaving Bryan and I to debate which drops we could handle, and occasionally walking our bikes down the steepest side and running them back up the other side.
When we got home, I was hurting. The mix of fear, anxiety, exhilaration, and physical jostling had brought me to my knees. Not only were my seat bones sore out of their minds, I had also been wearing Nike jogging shorts that only furthered the cause of friction. I would liken it to rubbing sandpaper on your valuables while simultaneously taking a small crow bar to your bum. Things got so difficult (i.e. sitting at the dinner table), that I was provided with Gold Bond by my gracious hosts. I’ve never used a product by the company Gold Bond before in my life, and I tried my best to do with it what I was supposed to, all the while muttering to myself about the bike shorts. It was sort of a conversation we didn’t discuss much after that.
When we left yesterday we thanked them for a wonderful weekend- biking included. I couldn’t wear denim for two days. I wasn’t sure what to do with the product, so I hope they smiled when they went into the guest bathroom and saw the Gold Bond waiting for them on the counter. Ouch.