Because Girls Ride Bikes

Every now and then, someone will ask me if I'm still riding my bike. "Hey, you still riding your bike?" Yep, still riding.

Usually, they follow that question up with, "Oh. Even though, you're like... you know, since... you know?" And I just stare at them like they're insane.

Of course I still ride my bike. Women definitely ride bikes. And no, they're not all riding in the slow lane, taking it easy while shooting selfies. They're racing downhill at breakneck speed, charging up mountainous hills, dipping and swerving through the pack on a curvy stretch of roadway, and much more. They're riding a hell of a lot better than I can, and a hell of a lot better than most of the guys out there who don't think women ride bikes.

Besides, even if they are taking it easy and enjoying the ride instead of slogging through a sufferfest, what business is it of yours? They're riding their bikes. So, yeah, I still ride. Even though... you know...

Of course, most of the people I talk to aren't putting it that way. They're not shocked by women riders, and my being transgender isn't really the problem, either. They're just connecting with me on a level they understand. It's a bike thing; we speak bike. They're aware that I'm going through a major life change, and they want to know how I'm doing. I'm doing quite well, thank you.

Quite well, that is, until yesterday's ride. About a quarter of a mile from my apartment I slipped on some rotting leaves and got thrown to the ground.

Fortunately, I was able to roll into the fall and cushion the impact. My right wrist took most of the damage while my left leg got a nasty scrape. There's a bruise on my right knee, but both of them hurt, for some reason. Aside from my wrist, which is kinda messed up now, all of these are minor and easy to ignore. What I couldn't ignore was the searing pain shooting through my right breast.

I'm into my 5th month of hormone replacement therapy, which means breast development is definitely underway. The area just below the surface of the areola is tender to the touch on a good day, but can get achy on bad days. This was an ok day; barely noticeable. I wasn't wearing any kind of sports bra, just a compression shirt to keep some even pressure and support them on the bumps. But landing directly on my chest, putting almost my full body weight on top of it, crushing the soft, spongy tissue and the developing bud in my right breast was more pain than I could take in that moment. I looked myself over, checked for any major injuries, and then scooted myself over to the curb to cry for a few moments. It hurt that much.

I've fallen before, and it's usually not a big deal. This fall, again, was not a big deal. But I've got these new, extremely sensitive areas that I'm not used to protecting. I haven't gained the instinct to protect them, yet. And so, I paid the price. It still hurts even now, nearly 24 hours later.

I haven't been checked out by a physician, but from the conversations I've had with friends, I should be ok. Several friends assured me that they've fallen many times while developing as teenagers, and I should be able to continue developing just fine. It hurts like hell, but it's part of growing up and getting used to protecting sensitive areas.

In the meantime, it's supposed to reach the lower 70s today, and that's prime riding weather for me. I'm not going to let this stop me. Girls definitely ride bikes -- even transgender girls.
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And Makes Some Observations Regarding HRT and Athletic Performance

Lo and behold, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and it warmed up to about 70 degrees, today! Perfect for a bike ride.

I took to the usual bike path along the river, and was pleasantly surprised to see that all the snow was finally gone. Also, all of the dog shit was gone. Seriously, dog walkers, that's disgusting.

I wanted to ride the loop I did most of last year, across the Carey Ave bridge and going up Route 11 and cutting back onto the back path. The path then runs under the Market St and Pierce St bridges before terminating in a parking lot. I do a 180 and then pedal back to cross the Pierce St bridge and then onto the path on the Wilkes Barre side of the river, going under Market Street and then popping up onto River Street to head home. It's a decent run, mostly flat with a few steep inclines that aren't very long. 14.5 miles, total.

What kept from doing the full loop this time was Route 11. Last time I rode it, about 2 weeks ago, they were doing construction on one of the smaller bridges, and I'm not comfortable with cutting through that kind of traffic with sun setting and no lights. So, I cut the trip in half and called it a day. 7.8 miles in 36 minutes.

Couple of observations:

No. 1) The hormone therapy doesn't seem to have robbed any of the strength in my legs/lower body. Spironolactone is an anti-androgen -- it blocks the effects of testosterone. I can expect to lose up to 30% of my muscle mass, but most, if not all, of that is upper body. Actually, I was rapidly losing upper-body strength before I even saw any loss of mass. I don't really miss it, though. I might not be able to lift anything over 50 pounds anymore, but I can still crank the hell out of my single speed.

I'm not concerned about any of this, to be honest. I'm a casual rider, I ride to have fun and stay in shape. If I wanted to train harder and build some muscle mass on my legs, I probably could. One of my good friends is a pro rider, a cis female who makes no excuses and leaves most cis males in the dust. I figure, she's my inspiration. That and the fact that I seem to still have a decent bit of stamina, despite being out of shape. Give it a few weeks, and I'll be right back where I was last year, I'm sure.

No. 2) People still haven't figured out how to not stand in the middle of the bike/walking path like a bunch of doltish cows. They just stare at you like a dumb ass as you roll right up and over them. Idiots.

No. 3) Seeing a dad teach his son how to pitch a ball was kind of cute, until the dad started bawling the kid out. "That was TERRIBLE, what's wrong with you? You have to follow through, don't let go of the ball until..." Blah blah blah. Oh, male bonding.

That kind of stuff used to roll right off my back, though. I hated baseball, soccer, football... and I made it obvious. A coach would yell at me and I'd put up with it until it was time to go home, and then not come back. It wasn't important enough to me to be verbally abused by some jerk. Besides, I could get all the verbal abuse I wanted back home; didn't need more.

No. 4) The river is pretty high. A lot of the lower lying areas were covered. At least there aren't a lot of bugs. Also, doesn't smell all that bad, yet. Give it a chance.

No. 5) I might want to think about a sports bra, soon. I'm not quite there, yet, but there was some jiggle going on; some of those bumps were a little rough, and it was not a pleasant feeling. As my bust increases in size, though, it's gonna get worse, I'm sure. In the meantime, it's nice that "boy mode" seems to be fading away. I have to wear a hat to hide my hair loss, but I can see huge differences in my face that should get more defined in the coming months.
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