The hardest part of riding a bike when you are 80+ pounds overweight and have almost zero muscular strength is not climbing the
little hills. They are easily overcome with perseverance and making “one more push…six more inches….eight more inches…one more foot” your goal.
Each day you push just one more inch and before you know it, you’ve reached your goal of making it not to the first telephone pole but to the second before you have to hop off, catch your breath, take a drink, and push your bike the rest of the way.
No, the hardest part is passing people as you huff and puff (or when you must take a break and walk your bike up what feels like Mt Everest but is really just a little knoll). The hardest part is ignoring the voices in your head, whispering 5th grade insults; you imagine them saying…“Hey tubbo, get your fat lazy butt on that bike and PUSH….” Or you imagine them snickering about you and saying to one another: “If she’d thought of exercising earlier she wouldn’t be so fat.”
These imaginary voices are so viscous. My neighbor stopped while I was resting to make sure I was all right. I smiled and assured him I was fine (though my face was so hot I felt like I had a fever). He commended me and told me to keep it up. I responded: “The hardest part is just riding past people.”
But like the little knolls, the small hills, the big hills: I will overcome.
I must. I’m only 43 (well OK almost 44). I’m too young to be so at risk for a heart attack or diabetes or any of the other health problems that being obese can cause. I want to enjoy my Labrador, I want to be here and have a good life with my kids and husband…
…and I hope that with each hill I climb successfully, one more ugly viscous voice will be silenced.