Somewhere around April I took a much needed mental health day from school. I found myself just driving around and on a whim, stopped at a bike shop. Twenty minutes later, I had a brand new bike, a Ridgeback Gazelle. I really hadn't planned on it, wasn't even thinking about it, but somehow without understanding it, I knew what I needed.
I've been a fan of biking since I taught myself how to ride one at age 12. Yes, I know that's rather late, but growing up in the South Bronx I didn't have much need for a bike for the subways traveled much faster and more importantly, we had trouble meeting rent from month to month, so money for a bike was like money for a mink stole (back in the 60's they were quite popular). The minute, after that long week of wobbling and falling repeatedly, I was able to shift my body, find my balance and convince it to stay and pedal, pedal, pedal, I knew I had fallen in love. It was the best moment of my young life. That rush of air past my face and the ability to move swiftly through my own power, more graceful than running could ever be; it was freedom, blue shiny freedom with a kicky bell.
Biking in high school kept my head clear of extra angst. Biking in college kept me moving when I ran out of gas money. Biking after college kept me in shape for serious dating. And after a twenty year hiatus, I find all those things still hold true for me. Biking still clears my head, keeps me in shape not so much for serious dating but for serious middle age, and helps stretch my gas tank in these funky changing times.
I love that I can do small errands on my bike like go to the post office, or the library. Cal and I have even gone out to dinner taking our bikes. I don't think I can go over to the Walmart and get a new car battery on my bike but maybe when I get my rear racks and baskets, ya never know. Just this past week, when celebrating the last day with children, we took our bikes to the Ritz and toasted to another year closer to retirement. When we were done, somewhere around 7:30, we got back on our bikes and rode home with the wind. Do I think this is the start of triathalon fever? Not so much and I can say that with a fair amount of certainty. It's enough, though, to have a shiny new bike and for that to still be fun.