Since we moved into our new house not a weekend’s gone by without a trip or two (. . . or three!) to a home improvement store. At first it seemed like each night we spent unpacking was just another chance to lengthen Ye Ole To-Do List but after completing this project we’ve really been enjoying the fruits of our labor. Our previous apartment was tiny and made of cinder blocks so bike storage was tricky. We kept tools on she shelves of a built-in unit, spare parts under the bed, and since we couldn’t drill into the walls, Nick built two bike racks to hold all our rides. They press against the ceiling and floor to hold in place and avoid any wall blemishes, like so: Since the ceiling here is vaulted (awesome!) we needed a new approach. A pegboard seemed like the best option for us: simple to keep organized, easy access, less furniture/shelves to buy. But of course we couldn’t stand the thought of hanging a white square with holes in it on the already white walls, so we did the cool thing and spray painted it! Cut your pegboard down to the size you need, tape off your design, and spray away! We bought a 8×12 pegboard and cut it down in 3 pieces to fit 3 different projects. After a couple coats of paint and a few beers, voila! Although most of the pegboard is covered in tools and bike gear, it’s nice to have some fun color involved. After we hung the board, we took the hooks off the old bike rack and simply drilled them into the wall. I don’t think I could be happier with how our little “dining nook” turned out. Having everything out and in one place is so convenient. And mounting the bikes upwards really takes advantage of all the wall space created by the super high ceilings. It also prevents scuffs on the walls from just leaning all our bikes in a pile. It also prevents the bike pile in the first place! It’s so wonderful to watch each space come together and see how it transforms a rental house into an actual home that’s perfect for us. If you can’t be out riding, where’s your favorite place to park your bike?
When I woke up at 4:30 am last Saturday it wasn’t my intention to end the day sweaty, tired, and in disbelief from learning that I can bike 36 miles per hour.
It all started off when Nick and I packed up our bikes and drove to Nashville for some fun with friends. I’ve always had a soft spot for Music City, but I really fell hard this time around. We spent the whole day on bikes: in Centennial Park, seeking out food, cruising the Art Crawl, and then finally attending the Saturday Night Sprints.
I’m pretty much the least competitive person I know, but after seeing my friends and peers consistently bike upwards of 30mph, I just couldn’t leave without testing my own limits. So I signed up and soon found myself perched on a bicycle trainer, waiting to pedal as fast as I could to go absolutely nowhere.
As I waited for the sprint to start, I thought about where I was this time last year: bruised up and hobbling around the house after being hit by a truck while cycling.
That was when my anxiety about biking fast had started. I was always a cautious cyclist, but after that collision, well, let’s just say I rarely biked hard enough to even break a sweat. For the last year I have cruised around town as the slowest cyclist I know— continuously alert and perpetually trying to anticipate every terrible driver’s unpredictable move.
But here I was: alive, healthy, happy, and far away from any moving cars. I was surrounded by my best friends and finally prepared to face my fears. The countdown started and 3. . . 2. . 1! I was off! I have never moved so fast in my life! My legs burned. My chest tightened. My body was covered in sweat. But I was alive. And I was biking. And that’s all that mattered during those 18 seconds.I didn’t think about how I sat on the pavement the night I was hit, screaming about the fact that I couldn’t move my leg. Or how angry I was at the driver who turned left into me. I just looked down at my legs— amazed with each rapid pedal stroke at how many miles they have carried me the last year. Amazed by how freeing it is to be able to depend on your body to get you where you’re going. I just pedaled my heart out, amazed by the fact that I was even alive.
After high-fiving all my friends and drinking about a gallon of water, I climbed on my own bike and headed towards the car. I reveled in the nearly empty city streets and let the evening air cool my face as I pedaled through Nashville as fast as I wanted.
Cycling through Music City that day revived my love for bikes. I let go of my fear of going as fast as I wanted, my automatic grudge against every driver, and my resentment towards each road that wasn’t paved with bikes in mind. It all weighed too much and it was literally slowing me down. I cycled happily through the brisk night and envisioned myself actually living in Nashville someday: learning the streets by bike and navigating on my own. I fell asleep that night with a sense of peace and woke up the next day with a mega crush on Music City and a desire to just pick up and move.