In March, prior to what I now refer to as "the bulging disc debacle of 2010", I purchased a set of clipless pedals for my bike so that I could be wicked fast (ie: not the slowest person) in triathlons. I verbalized to the sales clerk my fear of falling because of an inability to disengage my feet from the pedals.
"Oh, don't worry about that," he said "It WILL happen. Everybody falls three times when they get clipless pedals." (Something I now refer to as "The Clipless Pedal Theorem.")
I thanked the nice sales clerk for his vote of confidence and left with my purchase. As I drove home, I decided that I was going to prove him wrong. I am smarter than the average bear, after all. Plus, I have great kinesthetic awareness. (I competed in gymnastics until I was 18!) On top of that, I teach people how to walk after they have strokes. I am very well versed in how to re-train faulty motor patterns and how to develop new ones. I even watch sporting event not for entertainment, but for educational purposes. I rock!
I did not even attempt to ride my bike with the new pedals until I successfully clipped in and out with each foot over 100 times. Then I only rode on the grass. Even now, whenever I go for a ride, I periodically practice clipping in and out in a variety of situations: uphill, downhill, while speeding up, while slowing down, while going around a corner, while being chased by a dog. I have practiced my clipping an unclipping motor pattern in pretty much every situation there is.
Except for the situation I encountered on Saturday.
On Saturday I was going for a nice long ride down to Scusset beach and back. Since the weather is so nice and Memorial Day is fast approaching, there was a lot of traffic on the road. So much traffic that unexpected turns or deviations are pretty much out of the question while on a bike.
I was coming up to a red light right in line with a whole line of traffic: cars, trucks, more cars, and a whole bunch of cute guys on motorcycles. Ok, maybe that's exaggerating a bit. There were like 15 motorcycles and like 4 cute guys in the bunch. And by cute, I mean "had nice triceps." (they were all wearing helmets with face shields)
Not the artificially overworked triceps that you see in abundance at the gym, either. I'm talking lean, taught, functional triceps. Like you get from lifting things like boxes. Or lobster traps. Or kayaks onto roof-racks of cars. Or maybe from training for a triathlon or two.
Anyway, right about then, it was important to look as cool as possible. You know, when there's the chance that one of the triceps guys could see me at the season opener in Hyannis in two weeks? Maybe I should wear my same "sweat happens" shirt just so he would have an easier time remembering the short girl with the ponytail on the Le Monde.
There's pretty much no chance anyone at that stop light will have a hard time remembering me.
As I coasted in, braking and frantically twist, twist, twisting my heel, I remembered another thing that helpful sales clerk told me: "You'll never fall when you're alone. You only fall in front a bunch of people" (Corollary #1 to the clipless pedal theorem)
Luckily, I was able to aim myself at a patch of grass.
Which brings me to Corollary #2: "Other cyclist will be sympathetic. Everyone else? Will point and laugh. Hard. And loudly."
I can conclude with a high degree of certainty that the tricep guys either liked to go clamming or worked for UPS.