People keep finding different ways to ask me, essentially, if I'm scared about my upcoming bike trip. Like the guy who asked me if I'd be packing—and he wasn't asking about how neatly I'd be folding my extra clothes in my panniers. I really don't feel afraid. But alongside the little-kid part of me that feels like May 1 will be Christmas morning, I admit to cascading tiers of worries, from little nagging concerns to bigger ones that maybe approach fear.
I won't actually be able to detox digitally (an iPhone and iPad in tow, we'll need to make housing arrangements online and navigate each day, do a day's worth of work each week, etc.).
I won't actually lose my sedentary desk-job five to 10 pounds that I've imagined will melt off by week three.
We'll have a cold snap in May and June. I hate, er, dislike riding in the cold.
We'll have an early heat wave in May and June.
Some stupid dog will chase us and I'll lose my balance and—wait for it—get scratches on my shiny new bike.
My right knee balks at its fitness plan, which is to get stronger every day for two months, not crankier.
We'll get lost towards the end of a long day of riding...and then it starts raining.
Everything will cost more than I think it should and I'll start eating only Clif bars for meals by mid-trip.
We'll have a record-setting amount of rainfall for May and June. Yuck.
My decades-long streak of being the one on a bike trip who never gets a flat will end. God, just does speaking that out loud make it so? Please no!
That we'll end up having to ride a few miles in the dark some night to get from dinner to our hosts, say. I'm all too aware these days of inattentive drivers and I hate losing visibility on both sides—my weaker eyes at night and drivers' eyes.
The dogs won't survive the rotating dog-sitting arrangement I've been working on for them at the river house. Equally frightening, that I'll lose a friend out of the arrangement ("Your damn dogs...I never want to speak to you again!").
The adventure of the trip will drive a wedge between me and Bob, powered by all the hard stuff on both sides—jealousy, guilt, envy, boredom, disconnecting.
Dee and I will grow weary of each other and our same damn stories from the last 30 years and finish the ride barely speaking to each other.
One of us will fall and break a bone somewhere mid-trip and not be able to finish, leaving the other to have to choose between going it alone (which does indeed scare me) or bailing.
Speaking of bailing: My one true, plausible fear is that I'll grow weary of riding, start to doubt myself, and want to quit before the finish. I have a three-decade track record of reaching the last tenth or two-tenths of an endurance event—the last three miles of a marathon, say, as at the Outer Banks in 2009—and definitely wanting to quit. That ugly voice in the back of my head starts chattering about how I'm weak, only a pretend athlete, all that mean-girl stuff. Here's hoping all my yoga training in silencing the ugly voice will kick in: Would you talk that way to a friend?!
Plus we'll be having so much fun every day that we won't even notice that we finished! We'll keep going to Canada!! Oh dear, which takes me back to worries about the dogs, Bob, my job... never mind about extending the trip. Next year.
p.s. See that nice strong cyclist guy with the nicely tanned arms fixing his flat tire in the photo? Think he could be on call—from my always handy iPhone—if we do get a flat?
bicycling with friends, bike trips, fears, long-term marriage, old friends, trip planning, yoga practice