Today we went on a bike ride… and I mean motorbike not push bike…. I don’t pedal 😂 We haven’t been out much together and when we do I usually take the lead. When I first passed my test I went out riding with a group. MrH didn’t like that and so I went alone. The second year of riding, I had a hysterectomy in the July and so I was unable to ride for 3 months afterwards. By the time I was recovered the weather had turned and the group I went out with were putting their bikes away for winter. The following year I bought my new bike and then had my back problem flare up a month later. I spent the best part of that year on bed rest … so no riding that year….Last year I was working full time and wanted to go out with MrH but we just didn’t seem to manage it…. either the funds weren’t there or we had other commitments….
This year…. well I think we’ve gone out twice. We were supposed to be going to Scotland but we decided to put it on hold yesterday. This is for two reasons primarily.
1. I don’t think my back will allow me to do the necessary miles comfortably. We can’t really afford to get 800 miles from home and find I can’t continue.
2. We haven’t been out riding enough. We need to get used to riding together long distances. There’s a skill to riding together, road positioning and other none verbal cues.
Today we got up and went out to a cafe for breakfast. The place we went is 50 miles from home so it’s a 100 mile round trip on nice “A” roads. I usually lead as I know the route and I have a skill for directions. Having been somewhere once I can find my way back home and back there again. Once I plan a route I can follow it from visual cues and my little navigation aid.
Today is the furthest we’ve ridden in a while, and I was leading as normal – but something was wrong.
I hated it.
I was constantly distracted.
I couldn’t see MrH in my mirrors. Not because I don’t have mirrors or can’t use them, but because road positioning for good riding means that MrH is directly behind me and my height and mirror position gives me a blind area. I have to choose between being able to see a small area of road directly behind me and having good view of a wider area which is useful on a motorway. I choose the wider vision, and sacrifice that narrow area. I can see into it but I have to move my head slightly and tuck my elbow in – which is quite normal when riding a motorbike.
I felt uneasy and panicky.
We left the cafe having had our breakfast and headed to a large bike shop. MrH needs new gloves and boots so we were window shopping to see if he could find some he liked, then we can save up for them.
He did find some (yey) and we had a brew while we were there.
As we went to leave I asked if he wanted to lead on the way home. He said he didn’t know the way. So I said, out of here, to the traffic lights, turn left, follow the road to the motorway, get on the motorway and follow signs for home…. and so he did lead.
And- I relaxed.
I realised, I’m not comfortable being in front. It no longer feels natural to lead, I want to follow.
After we’d got home I asked how he’d found leading. He said he’d hated it as he didn’t feel confident that he knew the way.
He asked how I’d felt following. And I said I’d felt better doing it. I almost cried, as I explained that I’d felt panicked being in front, that I couldn’t see him and I didn’t like it. That it doesn’t feel right being in front of him.
MrH said if that’s what you need then I’ll take the lead. I just need to plan the directions.
Of course I feel daft for being tearful. I’ve been shaky and still feel woozy. I almost feel like I’m in shock. Maybe it’s because of the relief that he did lead me home, or that I actually did explain how I felt, or something else entirely I don’t know! But for now, I’m drinking coffee and under a blanket feeling quite shaken up.
I guess I’m still quite shocked by how far reaching the mental changes are, and in ways that I didn’t anticipate.