I ride to work out my worries. With each revolution I get stronger in my body and soul. I gain balance and control. The air gets sweeter and a smile comes back to my face. I find myself again. I imagine the freedom of being a kid with nothing to do but pedal around waving and smiling and feeling free.
My daily commute is predictable yet miraculous. The route is nearly the same to and from school (I’m a middle school teacher/librarian), but for some reason I always see it through different eyes. I’m happy to zig and zag through the same neighborhoods and find the same people walking their dogs at almost the same time. We wave and sometimes I stop and say hi. A week ago I saw the two Scotties being walked behind this fenced area that I didn’t know you could walk through. There’s a tall wire fence. Upon closer inspection, I saw that on the left side you could get over the curb and enter the area. Apparently it’s owned by the city and it’s a haven for mountain biking plus there’s another area even bigger two blocks east, the lady told me. I rode over there and lo’ and behold there was this dirt path.
I was on my Kona and the path looked better suited to a mountain bike. I have gone by this area hundreds of times and this was the first time I saw it: Bike Narnia.
Today the world was shining and bright because the sun was out for the first time in days. A friend wanted to ride home with me and then I said I’d get my mountain bike and ride partway back with her and check out the trail.
Belle is the new bike. She hasn’t even been mine for a week yet but the Trek Stache 5 is amazing! This was the first time on dirt and I felt like I was in another world. I time traveled back to when I was 10 and I rode my banana seat bike way, way out of bounds and didn’t even care if I got caught. It was worth whatever punishment. But I didn’t get busted.
The Stache 5 handles like she’s leading me. Despite her 3 inch tires she’s responsive and agile. I felt like she knew more about the dirt than I did and she was just telling me to trust her. The ground was wet and muddy in spots and I climbed over some big rocks and tree limbs, but the ground was dense and spongy. The disc brakes were easy to control and if anything I felt like a skilled biker as I stood up or pivoted right or left on the trail.
The best part was seeing these two kids about 8 and 10 on their BMX bikes. I moved out of the way. They thanked me and said I had a cool bike. Which of course means … I have a cool bike because kids don’t lie about that kind of thing. I followed the trail here and there and it brought me out into a neighborhood. It took me a few seconds to recognize where I was, but it was a street I had gone down but never looked into this whole fenced area.
The thing about biking is that it can be simultaneously predictable and surprising. I like that when I’m on a bike I see things in the world with fresh eyes and I can find a renewed sense of wonder in the simplest things. I guess you can say that about running or walking or anything, but on a bike it feels like you’re flying. It’s pretty rare to see someone grimacing while riding a bike. The bike action seems to connect people with their inner youngster and you want to be friends with everyone.
Today was amazing!