anxiety & bikes


so. it’s official. after nine years of rabid urban bicycling i’m too scared to ride my bike.
i don’t know what brought this on. nothing brought it on. everything brought it on. i haven’t ridden for nearly a week, but today i had to, because i’m working in oakland, at my stupid job that i hate that i got a year ago today & was so so happy about. there’s no reliable, convenient public transit from where i live to where i work. there is public transit but it would take roughly an hour to go about three miles. so i said fuck it. because i believe in facing my fears. in not letting fear win. i made it about 6 blocks, to 47th & butler, before a school bus came up from behind me, roaring, tons & tons & tons of indifferent metal. nothing that hasn’t happened thousands of times before.
but this time i wasn’t brave enough. so i pulled over to the side of the road. i knew i wasn’t just going to let it pass and keep on going. i pulled onto the sidewalk & stepped off, shaking. i’m not brave enough anymore.
so i walked here, to the library. up & up the hill, looking to all the pedestrians like some stupid weak girl who couldn’t make it up the hill on a bike, like i have to push it. i know i can do it, physically, but i can’t, mentally. it took every ounce of strength & composure i may have left to not just throw my fucking bike to the floor and weep, right there.
so is this it? do i give myself up to the cruel mistress of public transit? do i give up on the idea that i can get places when i want to go to them, on my schedule. do i ignore the voice inside of me saying “don’t do it, you’ll get killed” and then get killed because i want to do what i want when i want to? is that worth dying for? once i would have said, inarguably, yes. yes it is. now i’m not so certain.
& the worst part is, i don’t know when i’m being intuitive & when i’m just being crazy. when i’m saving my life vs. when i’m ruining it. they look & feel & sound the same.

One response »

  1. It’s completely not worth dying for. You should talk with Five he stopped riding altogether when we moved to pittsburgh. I have never been in anything near an accident in this city so I feel relatively safe. But I can understand how one would be scared of all the shitty driving going down and terrible street quality.

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