There is nothing quite like your first ride on a motorcycle. Unless, of course, you get to have that first ride all over again.
I went for a ride last weekend. A real ride, not just running errands. Mr. Man and I woke up on Saturday and realized we had no plans. So we promptly made some that involved getting on our bikes and riding together.
We went down an old familiar route that took us to a great lunch spot. It was a curvy back road that we had been down many, many times in the past but for me this time was special. This time, was the first time. This was the first time I had taken Nightingale down this road and she ate up the miles and curves and wanted more. It was the first time I really kept up with Mr. Man in the curves and didn’t think twice about it, it wasn’t even exciting. I just did it and realized when we stopped that he didn’t leave me behind once. I realized once again that despite my heavier weight and the sidecar, our bikes are really well paired for touring. If he really gets stupid with the speed and peg grinding cornering then yeah, he’ll lose me but riding about the speed limit and taking the curves at the speed limit instead the posted speed for the curves? I can keep up with that pretty well. This was also the first time I’ve done a lot of riding since I lost a lot of fluid out of my legs and it was like learning to ride all over again. I felt much lighter on the pegs. Mounting and dismounting the rig was much less difficult (sadly for Mr. Man it was much less humorous as well) and shifting my weight from side to side in a curve was super easy-peasy. Mr. Man said I was getting more of my body over the curve than before and it certainly benefited my riding. I had the usual amount of pain in my legs after being on the bike for about 70 miles but now I know that’s the lymphedema talking, not me just being out of shape and I should just work out harder to make the pain go away (hint: the pain may never go away and that’s going to be OK). If I get off the bike and get my legs up then they feel better and I can ride some more. I did about 140 miles all in all and I felt about the same physically as I did before the diagnosis, maybe even a little better. For the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful that things will be ok. That riding won’t really be that different, I’ll just be aware of things in a different way. Nothing has really changed except that I feel better and have the tools to manage my swelling. Maybe I’ll even see that 500 mile day that I thought I would have to give up on. Maybe not. And that is actually ok. For the first time, I’m not comparing myself to anyone else and coming up short. I was riding for myself and taking the time to do the self-care I needed so I could ride some more. Thoughts of being able to keep up with anyone or being good enough to ride with other people didn’t enter my head at all. Because now, with the lymphedema, I don’t have time for that nonsense. I don’t have time for made up worries or insecurities. I have real worries and real insecurities now that have nothing to do with anyone outside of myself. Now, if it doesn’t serve me or my well-being, I have no time for it in my life. And that is one of the most freeing things that has come out of my journey this year. I suddenly don’t feel that I have to prove myself to anyone and I don’t feel guilty about it. And the icing on the yummy yummy cake that was my ride on Saturday? I got to have my first ride all over again and it was every bit as life changing as I remember.