So the ride starts. I am already having problems with this advanced equipment. It has separate gears for front and back tires. I have no clue what 3rd gear in front will do in combination with 12th gear in back. At times it looks like they want to do their own thing. I have gone as high or as low as possible. In the lower gears, it is very easy but you are going at a speed where guys in wheelchair are beating you. If you do high gears, it goes faster but then I changed something and it started making a very weird noise. Frankly I don’t even know what gear I am in.
I have already managed to almost knock down 2 of my group riders. They are trying very hard to stay away from me now. The head honcho is shouting encouragements like “come on boys” to others and “stay on the bike” to me. Either the word has gone around that I am dangerous or they have a lot of respect for me. They are giving me a lot of space.
I am also finding out that these bikes do not have any kind of cushioning or shock absorbers. So if you hit a pothole or pebble, shock waves go through your spinal cord to base of brain. I can’t exactly describe this sensation but it feels like a constant electrocution with low voltage. I am already sweating under the helmet. I am trying to take it off. The head honcho tells me I can’t because we are “safe riders”. I tried to tell him that right now I am more of a sweat drenched and dehydrated rider.
Now there is fairly steep hill approaching. I again try to change gears but somehow I have managed to make it even more sluggish. I am already at the bottom of hill. The bike refuses to move despite my best efforts. I try harder but nothing. My whole group is already uphill. They are shouting encouragement from up there. They are asking me to come up. I am asking them to come down so someone can show me how the heck this thing works. One of them comes down and tells me that I should do something with something and do some more of something and that way it won’t be a problem. I politely asked him if he would be willing to push me uphill while I sit on the bike. He was not very enthused about this. He said something like everybody should ride their own bikes and it is supposed to be an activity. I countered that since he was already here, he would get more exercise if he pushes me. He pretended not to even hear me and ran uphill. I had to push my own bike uphill. So much so for the group!
Now they are worried that they won’t be able to do this route in hour and 13 minutes as they planned. Nobody is saying anything but they obviously blame me for this. I am blaming the kid who sold me this bike, stupid helmet and head honcho. Head Honcho is shouting even more encouragements in that phony British accent. I still have no idea what am I doing or supposed to do.
I told them that we should all relax as it is just a stupid bicycle ride. May be we are looking like uptight arses and that’s why lot of motorists hate cyclists. Apparently I have offended them great deal by calling this passionate activity stupid. I told them I am turning back. Since I didn’t want to sound like a quitter, I told them that I am disappointed in them, their phony accents and their unwillingness to push me uphill. I think with that dramatic outburst my cycling career is over.